Biblical People

Biblical People: Aaron

Aaron is the older brother of Moses. His mother is Jochebed, and his father is Amram. 

God tells Aaron to go out into the wilderness to meet Moses, who is expecting him. The plan is for Aaron to serve as his brother’s spokesman, because Moses doesn’t think he’s eloquent enough for the job God called him to do.

Aaron and Moses work together to communicate with Pharaoh and bring about the people’s eventual escape from Egypt. When God gives Moses the Law, Aaron and his sons will play a vital role in leading the people in worship.

In doing so, Aaron becomes the first priest, and his sons—at least the two obedient ones—continue the work, as will their descendants.

Aaron does all God asks of him, supports his younger brother Moses, and serves well as God’s first priest. Despite all this exemplary behavior, however, Aaron has two blemishes in his otherwise spotless record.

Before God institutes Aaron as his priest, Aaron attempts to assume this responsibility himself. As we already learned in the chapter about Moses, it’s Aaron who constructs the golden calf idol and leads the people to worship it. This isn’t what God intended.

The other incident occurs later. 

Aaron and Miriam criticize Moses for his choice of a wife. They also attempt to elevate themselves as spokespeople for God, since the Almighty also talks to them and not just Moses. 

God hears their murmuring and isn’t pleased. He burns with anger toward them for opposing Moses and seeking to promote themselves.

The Almighty strikes Miriam with leprosy, and Aaron panics. He begs Moses for forgiveness. The fact he doesn’t go directly to God suggests he doesn’t have as close of a relationship with the Almighty as he and Miriam thought.

Aaron escapes punishment, perhaps because he so quickly sought forgiveness.

When we sin are we quick to confess it and seek forgiveness? Have we ever attempted to elevate ourselves beyond what God has called us to do?

[Read Aaron’s story in Exodus 4–12 and 16–19. Discover more in Deuteronomy 10:6 and Luke 1:5.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at