🔼The name Aaron: Summary
- Very High
- From the verb אור ('or) meaning to be or become light.
- From the noun הר (har) meaning mountain, hill.
- From the noun ארון ('aron), meaning chest or Ark.
🔼The name Aaron in the Bible
The name Aaron is unique in the Bible, and is applied only to Aaron the Levite, brother of Moses and Miriam. Aaron was the first high priest of Israel (Exodus 28:1) and his descendants filled a sub-caste within the priestly caste of Israel (Joshua 21:4).
Aaron, spelled Ααρων, is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament; see full New Testament concordance.
🔼Etymology of the name Aaron
The name Aaron is not a regular Hebrew word and that's possibly because it originated elsewhere (probably Egypt). But since most names in the Bible mean something and foreign names often were transliterated into Hebrew in such a way that they began to mean something in Hebrew, it's interesting to see what the name Aaron may have meant to a Hebrew audience.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names derives Aaron from the Hebrew word הר (har) meaning mountain, hill (and a mountain is sometimes used as metaphor for a large group of people). From this perspective, the name Aaron is related to familiar Hebrew names such as Ararat and Haran:
The noun הר (har) is the Bible's common word for mountain or hill. Our intuition would dictate that the root-verb of the word for mountain probably has to do with being elevated, but that may not be correct. In Hebrew thought, a mountain is not something that's high, a mountain is a lot of something gathered. And so, a mountain became synonymous for a large but centralized group of people (Jeremiah 51:25), or even gods (Isaiah 14:13).
The obviously related verb הרה (hera) means to be or become pregnant. An association with the previous noun is obvious, although not because the stomach of a pregnant woman resembles a mountain. The Bible depicts nations as individual women even more than as mountains; the words אמה ('umma), meaning people and אם ('em), meaning mother are closely related. A pregnant woman is to her husband what a conceiving nation is to its deity.
Another way of looking at the name Aaron (as does NOBSE Study Bible Name List) is to follow the Hebrew root אור ('or) meaning to be or become light:
The verb אור ('or) means to be light or to give light; to shine. This verb's primary derivative is the expectable noun אור ('or), meaning light. The 'metaphor' that relates light to wisdom may not be a metaphor, or at least not to the ancient Hebrews. In our article on the verb נהר (nahar), meaning both to flow and to shine, we show that the ancients had a surprisingly solid grasp of Relativity Theory.
There may even be relations between the name Aaron and the word ארון ('aron), meaning chest or Ark:
The noun ארון ('aron) is the word that is usually translated with Ark (of the covenant, not the Ark of Noah). But this word is not reserved for the Ark. It's also used for the coffin in which Joseph's bones were carried back to Canaan (Genesis 50:26), or the chest in the temple in which money was collected (2 Kings 12:10).
It comes from a root ארן ('rn) of unclear meaning, whis is identical to a root that gave us the word ארן ('oren), which means fir or cedar. Then there is the cheerful verb רנן (ranan), which means to produce a ringing cry, either out of distress, cheer or to introduce a declaration of some sort.
And finally we note the curious similarity between the name אהרן (Aaron; spelled with the letter ה) and the adjective אחרון (aharon; spelled with the letter ח), meaning hindermost, latter or last. See any of the אחר-names (like Aharah) for more details on this word.
For a meaning of the name Aaron, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Bright. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Very High.