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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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ith´a - mar ( איתמר , 'ı̄thāmār , "land" or "island of palms": Gesenius; or "father of Tamar," אי , 'ı̄ , being perhaps for אבי , 'ăbhı̄ ̌ : Cook in Encyclopedia Biblica - though both derivations are uncertain): The 4th son of Aaron ( Exodus 6:23 ; Exodus 28:1 ; 1 Chronicles 6:3 ), Eleazar being the 3rd son, Nadab and Abihu the 1st and 2nd sons. While Nadab and Abihu were prematurely cut off for offering strange fire before the Lord (Leviticus 10:1 , Leviticus 10:2 ; Numbers 3:4 ; Numbers 26:61 ), and Eleazar was appointed chief of the tribe of Levi (Exodus 6:23 , Exodus 6:25 ) and ultimately succeeded Aaron (Exodus 28:1 ), Ithamar was made the treasurer of the offerings for the Tabernacle (Exodus 38:21 ), and superintendent of the Gershonites and Merarites in the service of the Tabernacle (Numbers 4:28 , Numbers 4:33 ). In the time of Eli the high-priesthood had come to be in his family, but how, and whether before Eli's day or first in Eli's person, is not told and need not be conjectured. W. R. Smith in Encyclopedia Biblica (art. "Eli"), on the strength of 1 Samuel 2:27 , 1 Samuel 2:28 , holds that the priesthood was originally in Eli's line; but the words "the house of thy father" do not necessarily mean only the house of Ithamar, but may, and most probably do, refer to Aaron and his descendants, of whom Ithamar was one. Nor does the cutting off of Eli's family from the priesthood and the setting in their place of "a faithful priest," who should do everything according to Yahweh's will and walk before Yahweh's anointed forever, find its complete fulfillment in the deposition of Abiathar or Ahimelech, his son, and the installation of Zadok in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 2:35 ; 1 Chronicles 29:22 ; see ZADOK ). A descendant of Ithamar, Daniel by name, is mentioned among the exiles who returned from Babylon (Ezra 8:2 ).

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Ithamar'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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