The Third Book of Moses, Called Leviticus

Chapter 10

Nadab and Abihu are burnt by fire for offering strange fire, 1-5. Aaron and his sons are forbidden to mourn for them, 6, 7. The priests are forbidden wine when they are to go into the tabernacle, 8-11. The law of eating the holy things, 12-15. Aaron's excuse for transgressing thereof, 16-20.

1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he did not command them. 2 And fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'I will be sanctified in those who come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.'" And Aaron held his peace.

4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, "Come near, carry your brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp." 5 So they went near and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said. 6 And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and to Ithamar his sons, "Do not uncover your heads, neither rend your clothes, lest you die, and lest wrath come upon all the people. But let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD has kindled. 7 And you shall not go out from the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you." And they did according to the word of Moses.

8 And the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 "Do not drink wine nor strong drink—you, nor your sons with you—when you go into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 So that you may make a difference between holy and unholy and between unclean and clean, 11 And that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses."

12 And Moses spoke to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons who were left, "Take the food-offering that remains of the offerings of the LORD made by fire and eat it without leaven beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 And you shall eat it in the holy place because it is your due and your sons' due of the sacrifices of the LORD made by fire, for so I am commanded. 14 And the wave-breast and heave-shoulder you shall eat in a clean place—you, your sons, and your daughters with you—for they are your due and your sons' due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace-offerings of the children of Israel. 15 The heave-shoulder and the wave-breast they shall bring, with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave-offering before the LORD, and it shall be yours and your sons' with you by a statute forever, as the LORD has commanded."

16 And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin-offering, and behold, it was burnt. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left alive, saying, 17 "Why have you not eaten the sin-offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation to make atonement for them before the LORD? 18 Behold, its blood was not brought within the holy place. You should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded." 19 And Aaron said to Moses, "Behold, this day they have offered their sin-offering and their burnt-offering before the LORD, and such things have befallen me. And if I had eaten the sin-offering today, would it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?" 20 And when Moses heard that, he was content.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Leviticus, Chapter 10[➚]


[v.1] - "strange fire" - That is, unauthorized fire. Nadab and Abihu were worshiping God in an inappropriate manner. Though their intentions were likely sincere, they disobeyed God's commands by using the wrong fire. For, as John Gill stated, "[the fire] was not taken off of the altar of burnt offering, as it ought to have been." See Leviticus 16:12.

[v.2] - "and devoured them" - Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).