Leviticus 10

1 And the two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abiud, took each his censer, and put fire therein, and threw incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which the Lord did not command them,
2 and fire came forth from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
3 And Moses said to Aaron, This is the thing which the Lord spoke, saying, I will be sanctified among them that draw night to me, and I will be glorified in the whole congregation; and Aaron was pricked .
4 And Moses called Misadae, and Elisaphan, sons of Oziel, sons of the brother of Aaron's father, and said to them, Draw near and take your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
5 And they came near and took them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses said.
6 And Moses said to Aaron, and Eleazar and Ithamar his sons that were left, Ye shall not make bare your heads, and ye shall not tear your garments; that ye die not, and there should be wrath on all the congregation: but your brethren, all the house of Israel, shall lament for the burning, with which they were burnt by the Lord.
7 And ye shall not go forth from the door of the tabernacle of witness, that ye die not; for the Lord's anointing oil upon you: and they did according to the word of Moses.
8 And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying,
9 Ye shall not drink wine nor strong drink, thou and thy sons with thee, whensoever ye enter into the tabernacle of witness, or when ye approach the altar, so shall ye not die; a perpetual statute for your generations,
10 to distinguish between sacred and profane, and between clean and unclean,
11 and to teach the children of Israel all the statutes, which the Lord spoke to them by Moses.
12 And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who survived, Take the sacrifice that is left of the burnt-offerings of the Lord, and ye shall eat unleavened bread by the altar: it is most holy.
13 And ye shall eat it in the holy place; for this is a statute for thee and a statute for thy sons, of the burnt-offerings to the Lord; for so it has been commanded me.
14 And ye shall eat the breast of separation, and the shoulder of the choice-offering in the holy place, thou and thy sons and thy house with thee; for it has been given as an ordinance for thee and an ordinance for thy sons, of the sacrifices of peace-offering of the children of Israel.
15 They shall bring the shoulder of the choice-offering, and the breast of the separation upon the burnt-offerings of the fat, to separate for a separation before the Lord; and it shall be a perpetual ordinance for thee and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, as the Lord commanded Moses.
16 And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin-offering, but it had been consumed by fire; and Moses was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar the sons of Aaron that were left, saying,
17 Why did ye not eat the sin-offering in the holy place? for because it is most holy he has given you this to eat, that ye might take away the sin of the congregation, and make atonement for them before the Lord.
18 For the blood of it was not brought into the holy place: ye shall eat it within, before , as the Lord commanded me.
19 And Aaron spoke to Moses, saying, If they have brought nigh to-day their sin-offerings, and their whole-burnt-offerings before the Lord, and these events have happened to me, and I should eat to-day of the sin-offerings, would it be pleasing to the Lord?
20 And Moses heard , and it pleased him.

Leviticus 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

The sin and death of Nadab and Abihu. (1,2) Aaron and his sons forbidden to mourn for Nadab and Abihu. (3-7) Wine forbidden to the priests when in the service of the tabernacle. (8-11) Of eating the holy things. (12-20)

Verses 1-2 Next to Moses and Aaron, none were more likely to be honourable in Israel than Nadab and Abihu. There is reason to think that they were puffed up with pride, and that they were heated with wine. While the people were prostrate before the Lord, adoring his presence and glory, they rushed into the tabernacle to burn incense, though not at the appointed time; both together, instead of one alone, and with fire not taken from the altar. If it had been done through ignorance, they had been allowed to bring a sin-offering. But the soul that doeth presumptuously, and in contempt of God's majesty and justice, that soul shall be cut off. The wages of sin is death. They died in the very act of their sin. The sin and punishment of these priests showed the imperfection of that priesthood from the very beginning, and that it could not shelter any from the fire of God's wrath, otherwise than as it was typical of Christ's priesthood.

Verses 3-7 The most quieting considerations under affliction are fetched from the word of God. What was it that God spake? Though Aaron's heart must have been filled with anguish and dismay, yet with silent submission he revered the justice of the stroke. When God corrects us or ours for sin, it is our duty to accept the punishment, and say, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. Whenever we worship God, we come nigh unto him, as spiritual priests. This ought to make us very serious in all acts of devotion. It concerns us all, when we come nigh to God, to do every religious exercise, as those who believe that the God with whom we have to do, is a holy God. He will take vengeance on those that profane his sacred name by trifling with him.

Verses 8-11 Do not drink wine or strong drink. During the time they ministered, the priests were forbidden it. It is required of ( 1 Timothy. 3:3 ) is, Lest ye die; die when ye are in drink. The danger of death, to which we are continually exposed, should engage all to be sober.

Verses 12-20 Afflictions should rather quicken us to our duty, than take us from it. But our unfitness for duty, when it is natural and not sinful, will have great allowances made for it; God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Let us profit by the solemn warning this history conveys. When professing worshippers come with zeal without knowledge, carnal affections, earthly, light, vain, trifling thoughts, the devices of will-worship, instead of the offering of soul and spirit; then the incense is kindled by a flame which never came down from heaven, which the Spirit of a holy God never sent within their hearts.

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with the sin and punishment of two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Le 10:1-5 for whose death Aaron and his sons are commanded not to mourn, nor to depart from the tabernacle, Le 10:6,7 and an order is given, prohibiting the priests from drinking wine when they went into it, Le 10:8-11 the law of eating holy things, both those that were more, and those that were less holy, is enjoined, Le 10:12-15 and the flesh of the sin offering not being eaten, but burnt, Aaron's sons are blamed for it, for which he makes an apology to the satisfaction of Moses, Le 10:16-20.

Leviticus 10 Commentaries

The Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.