Joshua 24:33: The Death and Burial of Eleazar

[circa 1420 BC] Verse 33:[1] And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to (Ex. 6:25; Judg. 20:28) Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

[Eleazar also] At almost the same time, as it is likely, since in all of life they had been most intimately connected. God governs human affairs in such a way that in one age there is a great crop of men most illustrious for virtue, in another, on the other hand, an astonishing scarcity. For when mortals neglect goodness of this sort, when it is present, and abuse it unto torpor, He thereupon closes His bountiful hand, etc. (Masius).

[They buried him in Gabaath-Phinehas his son, which was given to him in mount Ephraim[2]] It was given to him; to whom? Eleazar (Masius, Tostatus in Lapide). For he was the High Priest while Joshua was living (Bonfrerius). Or, Phinehas (Vatablus and Jerome in Lapide). This is supported by the fact that the place received its name from him (Bonfrerius). But we have already often said that the writers of the Sacred history generally name places with the names of their own age. Therefore, since Phinehas both lived for a very long time, and dwelt there, it is not strange the place took its enduring name from him, not from Eleazar, who had inhabited it for only a few years (Masius). Question: How was it given to Phinehas? Response 1: Through his wife: for Levites were not having private fields in their name. See a similar thing in 1 Chronicles 2:21-23 (Grotius, Hebrews in Masius). But that hill is mentioned as given, not as appointed for a dowry; and it was unlawful for women endowed with ancestral lands to marry outside of their own tribe (Masius). Response 2: It is rightly remembered as given to him, namely, beyond his lot (for all the priestly cities were either in Judah, or Simeon, or Benjamin, as it is evident out of Joshua 21 [Masius, Bonfrerius]), so that the habitation of the High Priest might not be far from the Tabernacle (which at that time was in Shiloh), nor from Joshua, who ought to administer public business according to the counsel of the High Priest (Bonfrerius out of Masius). Here I make an end of commenting, on my birthday, Saint Andrew’s Day,[3] in the year of Christ 1563, says the Most Illustrious Masius [would that he were wrong, and had not made an end of commenting here, but had proceeded to the following books, which he indicates that he had in his heart].

Which was given him in mount Ephraim: 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.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּֽן־אַהֲרֹ֖ן מֵ֑ת וַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֹת֗וֹ בְּגִבְעַת֙ פִּֽינְחָ֣ס בְּנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִתַּן־ל֖וֹ בְּהַ֥ר אֶפְרָֽיִם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֹת֗וֹ בְּגִבְעַת֙ פִּֽינְחָ֣ס בְּנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִתַּן־ל֖וֹ בְּהַ֥ר אֶפְרָֽיִם׃.

[3] Saint Andrew’s Day is a feast of Saint Andrew, the disciple that introduced his brother, Peter, to Jesus.  Saint Andrew’s Day begins the Advent season.

1 thought on “Joshua 24:33: The Death and Burial of Eleazar

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘The death and burial of Eleazar the chief priest, who, it is probable, died about the same time that Joshua did, as Aaron in the same year with Moses, Joshua 24:33. The Jews say that Eleazar, a little before he died, called the elders together, and gave them a charge as Joshua had done. He was buried in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which came to him, not by descent, for then it would have pertained to his father first, nor had the priests any cities in Mount Ephraim, but either it fell to him by marriage, as the Jews conjecture, or it was freely bestowed upon him, to build a country seat on, by some pious Israelite that was well-affected to the priesthood, for it is here said to have been given him; and there he buried his dear father.’

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