Joshua 24:33
And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
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(33) And Eleazar the son of Aaron died.—“Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun,” were the Moses and Aaron of this period. It is fitting that the Book of Joshua should close with the death of Eleazar, who was Joshua’s appointed counsellor; for when Joshua was given as a shepherd to Israel, in answer to the prayer of Moses, Eleazar was also given to Joshua for a counsellor (Numbers 27:21). At Eleazar’s word he was to go out and come in, “both he and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” It is rather singular that nothing but this has been recorded of Eleazar’s personal history. Everything stated about him in his lifetime is official. Not a word that he uttered has been preserved.

A hill. . . . given him in mount Ephraim.—The inheritance of Phinehas as a priest would lie within the tribe of Judah (Joshua 21:13, &c.) or Benjamin. This gift to Phinehas in Mount Ephraim, near the seat of government, seems to have been a special grant to him over and above his inheritance. But inasmuch as the tabernacle itself was at Shiloh, in Mount Ephraim, it was altogether suitable and natural that some place of abode should be assigned to the priests in that neighbourhood, where they were compelled to reside.

Although Phinehas himself was “zealous for his God,” he lived to see the tribe of Benjamin nearly exterminated from Israel for repeating the sin of the Canaanites. (See Judges 20:28.) We can hardly say that the people served Jehovah all the days of Phinehas. With Eleazar and Joshua the spirit of strict obedience to the law seems to have, in a great measure, passed away.

Joshua 24:33. They buried him in a hill which was given him — By special favour, and for his better conveniency in attending upon the ark, which then was, and for a long time was to be, in Shiloh, near this place: whereas the cities which were given to the priests were in Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon, which were remote from Shiloh, though near the place where the ark was to have its settled abode; namely, at Jerusalem. It is probable Eleazar died about the same time with Joshua, as Aaron did in the same year with Moses. While Joshua lived, religion was kept up, under his care and influence; but after he and his cotemporaries were gone, it swiftly went to decay. How well is it for the gospel church that Christ, our Joshua, is still with it by his Spirit, and will be always, even to the end of the world!

24:29-33 Joseph died in Egypt, but gave commandment concerning his bones, that they should not rest in their grave till Israel had rest in the land of promise. Notice also the death and burial of Joshua, and of Eleazar the chief priest. The most useful men, having served their generation, according to the will of God, one after another, fall asleep and see corruption. But Jesus, having spent and ended his life on earth more effectually than either Joshua or Joseph, rose from the dead, and saw no corruption. And the redeemed of the Lord shall inherit the kingdom he prepared for them from the foundation of the world. They will say in admiration of the grace of Jesus, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.(Eleazar's burial-place is placed by Conder not at Tibneh but in the village of 'Awertah.)33. Eleazar the son of Aaron died, and they buried him in … mount Ephraim—The sepulchre is at the modern village Awertah, which, according to Jewish travellers, contains the graves also of Ithamar, the brother of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar [Van De Velde]. By special favour, and for his better conveniency in attending upon the ark, which then was, and for a long time was to be, in Shiloh, which was near to this place; whereas the cities which were given to the priests were in Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon, which were remote from Shiloh, though near to the place where the ark was to have its settled abode, to wit, to Jerusalem.

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died,.... Very probably in a short time after Joshua; and, according to the Samaritan Chronicle (i), he died as Joshua did, gathered the chief men of the children of Israel a little before his death, and enjoined them strict obedience to the commands of God, and took his leave of them, and then stripped himself of his holy garments, and clothed Phinehas his son with them; what his age was is not said:

and they buried him in a hill that pertaineth to Phinehas his son; or in the hill of Phinehas; which was so called from him, and might have the name given it by his father, who might possess it before him, and what adjoined to it. The Jews in the above treatise say (k), that at Avarta was a school of Phinehas in a temple of the Gentiles; that Eleazar was buried upon the hill, and Joshua below the village among the olives, and on this hill is said (l) to be a school or village of Phinehas:

which was given him in Mount Ephraim; either to Eleazar, that he might be near to Shiloh, where the tabernacle then was, as the cities given to the priests and Levites were chiefly in those tribes that lay nearest to Jerusalem; though the Jews say, as Jarchi and Kimchi relate, that Phinehas might come into the possession of that place through his wife, or it might fall to him as being a devoted field; but it is most likely it was given to his father by the children of Ephraim, for the reason before observed. The Talmudists say, that Joshua wrote his own book, which is very probable; yet the last five verses, Joshua 24:29, must be written by another hand, even as the last eight verses in Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy 34:5, were written by him, as they also say; and therefore this is no more an objection to his being the writer of this book, than the addition of eight verses by him to Deuteronomy is to Moses being the writer of that; and the same Talmudists (m) also observe, that Joshua 24:29, "Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died", &c. were written by Eleazar, and Joshua 24:33, "and Eleazar, the son of Aaron, died", &c. by Phinehas, which is not improbable.

(i) Apud Hottinger. p. 524. (k) Cippi Hebraici, ut supra. (p. 32.) (l) See Weemse's Christ. Synagog, l. 1. c. 6. sect. 5. p. 157. (m) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. & 15. 1.

And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
33. Eleazar the son of Aaron] It seems probable that Eleazar had died during the lifetime of Joshua. He was the third son of Aaron, by Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab. After the death of Nadab and Abihu without children (Leviticus 10:1-2; Numbers 3:4), Eleazar was appointed chief over the principal Levites. He comes before us

(a)  Ministering with his brother Ithamar during their father’s lifetime.

(b)  Invested on Mount Hor, as the successor of Aaron, with the sacred garments (Numbers 20:28).

(c)  Superintending the census of the people (Numbers 26:3-4).

(d)  Taking part in the distribution of the Land after the conquest (Joshua 14:1).

and they buried him in a hill] “Et sepelierunt eum in Gabaath-Phinees filii ejus,” Vulgate, which Wyclif curiously mistranslates “and Phynees and his sones birieden him in Gabaa.”

in a hill] The word here employed for “hill” is “Gibeah,” which gives its name to several towns and places in Palestine, which would doubtless be generally on or near a hill. This place was Gibeah-Phinehas, the city of his son, which had been given to the latter on Mount Ephraim. Robinson identifies it with the Gaba of Eusebius and Jerome, and the modern Chirbet Jibia, 5 miles north of Guphna, towards Nablûs or Shechem. “His tomb is still shewn in a little close overshadowed by venerable terebinths, at Awertah, a few miles S. E. of Nablûs.” Stanley’s Lectures, i. 281, n.

Verse 33. ? A hill that pertained to Phinehas his son. The LXX., Syriac, and Vulgate translate this as a proper name, Gibeath or Gabaath Phineas. But it may also mean Phinehas' hill. A city may or may not have been built there. Keil and Delitzsch believe it to be the Levitical town, Geba of Benjamin; but of this we cannot be sure. The tomb of Eleazar is still shown near Shechem, "overshadowed by venerable terebinths," as Dean Stanley tells us. And so the history ends with the death and burial of the conqueror of Palestine, the lieutenant of Moses, the faithful and humble servant of God, and of the successor of Aaron, who had been solemnly invested with the garments of his father before that father's death. A fitting termination to so strange and marvellous a history. With the death of two such men a new era had begun for the chosen people; a darker page had now to be opened. The LXX. adds to this passage, "In that day the children of Israel took the ark and carried it about among them, and Phinehas acted as priest, instead of Eleazar his father, until he died, and was buried in his own property at Gabaath. And the children of Israel went each one to his place and to his own city. And the children of Israel worshipped Astarte and Ashtaroth, the gods of the nations around them. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Eglon king of the Moabites, and he had dominion over them eighteen years." The passage is an obvious compilation from the Book of Judges. It has no counterpart in the Hebrew, and the mention of Astarte and Ashtaroth as different deities is sufficient to discredit it.

Joshua 24:33Joshua's labours had not remained without effect. During his own lifetime, and that of the elders who outlived him, and who had seen all that the Lord did for Israel, all Israel served the Lord. "The elders" are the rulers and leaders of the nation. The account of the burial of Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought with them from Egypt to Canaan (Exodus 13:19), is placed after the account of Joshua's death, because it could not have been introduced before without interrupting the connected account of the labours of Joshua; and it would not do to pass it over without notice altogether, not only because the fact of their bringing the bones with them had been mentioned in the book of Exodus, but also because the Israelites thereby fulfilled the promise given by their fathers to Joseph when he died. The burial of Joseph in the piece of field which Jacob had purchased at Shechem (vid., Genesis 33:19) had no doubt taken place immediately after the division of the land, when Joseph's descendants received Shechem and the field there for an inheritance. This piece of field, however, they chose for a burial-place for Joseph's bones, not only because Jacob had purchased it, but in all probability chiefly because Jacob had sanctified it for his descendants by building an altar there (Genesis 33:20). The death and burial of Eleazar, who stood by Joshua's side in the guidance of the nation, are mentioned last of all (Joshua 24:33). When Eleazar died, whether shortly before or shortly after Joshua, cannot be determined. He was buried at Gibeah of Phinehas, the place which was given to him upon the mountains of Ephraim, i.e., as his inheritance. Gibeath Phinehas, i.e., hill of Phinehas, is apparently a proper name, like Gibeah of Saul (1 Samuel 15:34, etc.). The situation, however, is uncertain. According to Eusebius (Onom. s. v. Γαβαάς), it was upon the mountains of Ephraim, in the tribe of Benjamin, and was at that time a place named Gabatha, the name also given to it by Josephus (Ant. v. 1, 29), about twelve Roman miles from Eleutheropolis. This statement is certainly founded upon an error, at least so far as the number twelve is concerned. It is a much more probable supposition, that it is the Levitical town Geba of Benjamin, on the north-east of Ramah (Joshua 18:24), and the name Gibeah of Phinehas might be explained on the ground that this place had become the hereditary property of Phinehas, which would be perfectly reconcilable with its selection as one of the priests' cities. As the priests, for example, were not the sole possessors of the towns ceded to them in the possessions of the different tribes, the Israelites might have presented Phinehas with that portion of the city which was not occupied by the priests, and also with the field, as a reward for the services he had rendered to the congregation (Numbers 25:7.), just as Caleb and Joshua had been specially considered; in which case Phinehas might dwell in his own hereditary possessions in a priests' city. The situation, "upon the mountains of Ephraim," is not at variance with this view, as these mountains extended, according to Judges 4:5, etc., far into the territory of Benjamin (see at Joshua 11:21). The majority of commentators, down to Knobel, have thought the place intended to be a Gibeah in the tribe of Ephraim, namely the present Jeeb or Jibia, by the Wady Jib, on the north of Guphna, towards Neapolis (Sichem: see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 80), though there is nothing whatever to favour this except the name.

With the death of Eleazar the high priest, the contemporary of Joshua, the times of Joshua came to a close, so that the account of Eleazar's death formed a very fitting termination to the book. In some MSS and editions of the Septuagint, there is an additional clause relating to the high priest Phinehas and the apostasy of the Israelites after Joshua's death; but this is merely taken from Judges 2:6, Judges 2:11. and Joshua 3:7, Joshua 3:12., and arbitrarily appended to the book of Joshua.

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