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ELEAZAR:

  • 1. High priest; third son of Aaron. After his two elder brothers, Nadab and Abihu, had suffered death for offering strange fire before the Lord, Eleazar became his father's chief assistant, with the title "prince of the princes of the Levites" (Num. iii. 32), his functions including the supervision of the oil for the seven-branched candlestick, the incense, and all that pertained to the inner sanctuary (ib. iv. 16). Shortly before Aaron's death Eleazar was clothed in his father's official garments to signify that he was Aaron's successor (ib. xx. 25-28). God's commands were now addressed to Moses and Eleazar (ib. xxvi. 1), and Eleazar is mentioned as God's second representative in Israel, beside Moses (ib. xxxii. 28), and even before Joshua (Num. xxxii. 28, xxxiv. 17; Josh. xiv. 1, xvii. 4, xix. 51, xxi. 1). He was the progenitor of most of the high priests. He was buried "in Gibeah, of Phinehas his son, which was given him in the hill country of Ephraim" (Num. xxiv. 33, R. V.).Eleazar is said to have added to the Book of Joshua the section xxiv. 29-32 (B. B. 15a, 1. 27), and his son Phinehas, verse 33.E. G. H. E. K.
  • 2. A son of Dodai, an Ahohite (II Sam. xxiii. 9, R. V.), or of Dodo the Ahohite (I Chron. xi. 12); one of the three principal captains of David's army.
  • 3. Fourth son of Mattathias and brother of Judas Maccabeus; surnamed "Avaran" (IMacc. ii. 5, Ααράν; ib. vi. 43, Σαναράν for Αὐαράν Josephus, "Ant." xii. 6, § 1, Αὐρράν). He distinguished himself by a courageous act at the battle of Bet-Zekaryah (162 B.C.), when the Jews under Judas Maccabeus were hard pressed by the large Syrian army commanded by Lysias and encouraged by the presence of the youthful king Antiochus Eupator. Eleazar, seeing among the enemy's elephants one that was armed with royal breastplates, and that was taller than the rest, concluded that it carried the king. Wishing to put an end to the misery of his people, and being desirous of gaining everlasting fame for himself, Eleazar fought his way through the ranks of the enemy, and, creeping under the elephant, speared it from beneath, the animal crushing him in its fall (I Macc. vi. 43-46; Josephus, l.c. xii. 9, § 4; idem, "B. J." i. 1, § 5). Because of this deed Eleazar is especially mentioned in a midrash (Rashi to Deut. xxxiii. 11; comp. Megillat Antiochus," ed. Gaster, verses 63, 64).II Maccabees does not mention Eleazar; and Josephus modifies the account in his "Wars," following the story of I Macc. vi. 43 only in his "Antiquities." Eleazar is included among the seventy translators of the Bible that are mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas (§ 50); and scholars have assumed that this fictitious name was taken from that of the Maccabean (Wendland, in Kautzsch, "Apokryphen," ii. 3). In the Syrian document, however, the name reads "Eliezer" (Wendland, "Aristeas," p. 143, Leipsic, 1900).Bibliography: Grätz, Gesch. ii. 363; Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 213; Willrich, Judaica, p. 149, Göttingen, 1900; Krauss, in Rev. Et. Juives, xxx. 216; for the name "Avaran" see Fritsche, Kurzgefasstes Exegetisches Handbuch to I Macc. ii. 5, and Zöckler, Kurzgefasstes Commentar, ibid.E. G. H. E. K. S. Kr.
  • 4. Son of Ananias, the high priest. Though belonging to a family which strove to maintain friendly terms with the Romans, he induced his priestly colleagues to discontinue the daily sacrifice for the emperor, and to decline presents from the pagans ("B. J." ii. 17, §§ 2-4), thereby causing a rupture with the Romans. The rebels, under the leadership of Eleazar, took possession of the lower city and the Temple, and fought for seven days with the peace party. The Sicarii under Menahem attacked the peace party, killing Ananias and his brother Hezekiah. This led to a conflict between the parties of Menahem and Eleazar, in which the former was defeated and driven from Jerusalem. Eleazar also attacked the Roman garrison that had retired to the fortified towers—Hippicus, Phasælus, and Mariamne; the Romans capitulated and surrendered their arms on condition of free retreat, but were allmassacred by the rebels (Josephus, "B. J." ii. 17, §§ 2-10). Meg. Ta'an. 11 refers to this event.The Romans retired from Judah and Jerusalem on the 17th of Elul. It seems that Eleazar had coins struck in his name, with the inscription: "The First Year of the Liberation of Jerusalem." On the organization of the rebellion Eleazar, with Jesus b. Sapphias, was appointed general of Idumea ("B. J." ii. 20, § 4, reading' A νανιον instead of υἱὸν Nέον). Grätz's opinion that Eleazar is identical with Eleazar b. Ananiah b. Hezekiah Garon is inadmissible. In Yosippon, ch. 95-97, Eleazar b. Ananiah is confounded with Eleazar ben Jair (see Albinus; Ananias).Bibliography: Grätz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 453, 471; Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 602; Schlatter, Zur Topographie und Gesch. Pakstinas, p. 368; Madden, History of Jewish Coinage, pp. 161-166; Levy, Gesch. der Jüdischen Münzen, p. 88; Agadat Shir ha-Shirim, ed. Schechter, pp. 47, 96.
  • 5. Priest and treasurer of the Temple of Jerusalem. Eleazar, anxious to save the costly curtains of the Temple from the greed of Crassus, who had seized the treasure of the Temple amounting to 2,000 talents, gave him a golden beam weighing 300 minæ the existence of which was unknown to the other priests on account of its wooden casing. He made Crassus swear to spare the rest of the Temple. Crassus, notwithstanding his oath, took all the gold of the Temple (Josephus, "Ant." xiv. 7, § 1).
  • 6. Leader of the Zealots in the war against Vespasian and Titus; son of Simon (Josephus, "B. J." ii. 20, § 3; iv. 4, § 7; for υἱὸς Γίωνος read Σίμωνος). He belonged to a noble priestly family. After the defeat of Cestius, Eleazar seized the abandoned impedimenta of the Romans and the treasure of the Temple, and employed the Zealots as armor-bearers ("B. J." ii. 20, §, 3). He found an ally in the priest Zacharias, son of Amphikalles, with whose help he supplanted the peaceable high priest Ananias and his party, and admitted the Idumeans into Jerusalem (ib. iv. 4, §, 1). When the patriot Johannes turned from Giscala to Jerusalem after the subjugation of Galilee, Eleazar would not submit to him, but retired to the court of the Temple with his friends Judah b. Ḥelika and Simon b. Ezron. During the Passover Eleazar's men opened the gates of the court of the Temple, whereupon the followers of Johannes stole in among the pilgrims, overpowered Eleazar's people, and drove them from the court (70 C.E.: ib. v. 3, § 1; Tacitus, v. 12).V05p094001.jpgBrass Coin Of Eleazar Ben Simon.Obverse: —"Eleazar the Priest." A vase; in field to right a palm-branch. Reverse: [—"The First Year of the Redemption of Israel," round a cluster of grapes.(After Madden, "History of Jewish Coinage.")Bibliography: Grätz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 509, 526; Schürer. Gesch. 3d ed., i. 623, 625; Schlatter, Zur Topographie und Gesch. Palästinas, p. 368; Reinach, Textes d'Auteurs Grecs et Romains, p. 320; Prosopographia Imperii Romani, s.v. Eleazar.
  • 7. Martyr in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. In the religious persecution under Antiochus, Eleazar, a scholar of rank, "and of a noble countenance," at that time "well stricken in years," was compelled to eat pork, his mouth being opened by force. When offered the alternatives of death or renunciation of his faith, he chose the former, in order to set a "noble example to the young." The king's followers desired to protect him, and implored him at least to pretend to obey the commands of the king. Eleazar refused, and died the death of a martyr (II Macc. vi. 18-31). In Antioch (IV Macc. v., vi.), Eleazar's edifying martyrdom, with that of the seven Maccabean brothers, was honored by the Roman Church (Origen, "Exhortatio ad Martyrium," ch. 22-27; "Comm. in Ep. ad Rom." iv. ch. 10; Chrysostom). Cardinal Rampolla's investigations have proved the historical character of the account despite the fact that while the seven martyrs are mentioned in rabbinical legend, Eleazar seems to be unknown to the Rabbis ("Martyre et Sepulture des Macchabées," Bruges, 1900). Grätz had already declared it to be substantially true ("Geschichte," 2d ed., ii. 317). Herzfeld's supposition ("Geschichte des Volkes Jisrael," ii. 75) that Eleazar is identical with Eleazar ben Ḥarsom is untenable.
G. S. Kr.
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