Numbers 20:22–29: Aaron dies
We read earlier that Aaron and Moses had disobeyed the LORD, and, as punishment, would be denied entry to the Promised Land. In this chapter, we see part of the consequences of this.
The LORD instructs Moses to bring Aaron and his son Eleazar up onto Mount Hor, where Moses is to remove Aaron’s garments—that is, the garments of the High Priest—and put them on Eleazar. Aaron will then die there, and be “gathered to his people” (verse 26).
So, “in the sight of the whole community” (verse 27), the three of them ascend the mountain, and they transfer the garments of the High Priest from Aaron to Eleazar. Aaron then dies, and Moses and Eleazar come back down.
When the Israelite community learns that Aaron is dead, they spend thirty days mourning for him.
The transferring of Aaron’s garments to Eleazar is obviously the passing on of the office of High Priest from father to son.
The Israelites may not have always liked the leadership of Aaron and Moses, but they did properly mourn Aaron’s death. I wonder if they felt partially guilty, for his death, since they had indirectly caused the sin that he and Moses committed? Of course, Moses and Aaron were responsible for their own sin, there’s no doubt about that, but, given the circumstances, if I’d been one of the Israelites, I would have probably felt guilty, when Aaron died.