Aaron ― Brother and Spokesman for Moses

On July 1, the Church honors Aaron, the brother of Moses

John Everett Millais, “Victory O Lord,” 1871
John Everett Millais, “Victory O Lord,” 1871 (photo: Public Domain)

Then the LORD became angry with Moses and said: I know there is your brother, Aaron the Levite, who is a good speaker; even now he is on his way to meet you. He will speak to the people for you: he will be your spokesman, and you will be as God to him. ―Exodus 4:14a, 16


Aaron, the brother of Moses, served a profound role in the history of Israel. When Moses received his calling from God to bring his nation out of bondage from Egypt, he had a certain lack of confidence. He doubted his abilities to persuade both Pharaoh and the Hebrew nation. God promised help by way of his brother Aaron, who was evidently an articulate speaker.

The elderly Aaron went to find his brother in the wilderness and at the age of 83 began to give his younger brother committed support during confrontations with Pharaoh―throughout the 10 plagues and in dealing with the often irascible Hebrews during the long trek to the Promised Land.

Although very helpful, Aaron had times of fault too. For example, once he let himself be convinced to help the Israelites craft a golden calf to serve as a blasphemous idol while Moses was upon Mount Sinai. Another sin actually prevented Aaron from ever reaching the Promised Land. While the journeying group was temporarily settled at a place called Kadesh, the Israelites fiercely complained over a lack of water. Moses, with Aaron at his side, heeded the guidance of God yet with little patience, angrily striking a rock twice with the staff, miraculously causing a gush of water to spring forth. Their behavior during this miracle provoked God to refuse the brothers entry into the Promised Land.

Overall, however, Aaron’s devotion to God, his brother and the Israelites was positive, strong and impactive. According to the Lord’s desires, Aaron was consecrated as a priest and served the Hebrew people as a religious leader.

The Book of Numbers reports that when the Israelite community reached a location called Mount Hor, God warned of Aaron’s impending death. Moses took his brother’s priestly garments and gave them to Aaron’s son Eleazar. Aaron soon died at the top of Mount Hor, and the Israelites mourned him for 30 days.


A Biblical Novena to St. Aaron

The Church honors St. Aaron July 1. Because of the way God had him assist his brother Moses with speaking, some might turn to St. Aaron for problems with brothers, or for help with speaking. Consider spending nine days pondering the life of St. Aaron—read one passage a day for nine days, and ask this Old Testament saint to pray for any special intention you may have—speaking-related or not!

  • Day 1) Exodus 4:10–17
  • Day 2) Exodus 7:1–13
  • Day 3) Exodus 8:1–11
  • Day 4) Exodus 32:1–35
  • Day 5) Numbers 3:9–10
  • Day 6) Numbers 6:22–27
  • Day 7) Numbers 17:16–26
  • Day 8) Numbers 20:2–13
  • Day 9) Numbers 20:22–29
a young parishioner prays inside St. Thomas Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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