Leviticus 10

The Sin of Nadab and Abihu

1 Now 1Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective 2firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.
2 3And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who 4come near Me I 5will be treated as holy, And before * all the people I will 6be honored.' " So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
4 Moses called also to 7Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron's uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside * of the camp."
5 So they came forward and carried them still in their 8tunics to the outside * of the camp, as Moses had said.
6 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, "9Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not 10become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about.
7 "You shall not even go out from the doorway of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for 11the LORD'S anointing oil is upon you." So they did according to the word of Moses.
8 The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying,
9 "12Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die -it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations -
10 and 13so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean,
11 and 14so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses."
12 Then Moses spoke to Aaron, and to his surviving sons, 15Eleazar and Ithamar, "16Take the grain offering that is left over from the LORD'S offerings by fire and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy.
13 "You shall eat it, moreover, in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons' due out of the LORD'S offerings by fire; for thus I have been commanded.
14 "17The breast of the wave offering, however, and the thigh of the offering you may eat in a clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you; for they have been given as your due and your sons' due out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the sons of Israel.
15 "18The thigh offered by lifting up and the breast offered by waving they shall bring along with the offerings by fire of the portions of fat, to present as a wave offering before the LORD; so it shall be a thing perpetually due you and your sons with you, just as the LORD has commanded."
16 But Moses searched carefully for the 19goat of the sin offering, and behold, it had been burned up! So he was angry with Aaron's surviving sons Eleazar and Ithamar, saying,
17 "Why 20did you not eat the sin offering at the holy place? For it is most holy, and He gave it to you to bear away 21the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD.
18 "Behold, 22since its blood had not been brought inside, into the sanctuary, you should certainly have 23eaten it in the sanctuary, just as I commanded."
19 But Aaron spoke to Moses, "Behold, this very day they 24presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD. When things like these happened to me, if I had eaten a sin offering today, would it have been good in the sight of the LORD?"
20 When Moses heard that, it seemed good in his sight.

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.

Cross References 24

  • 1. Exodus 24:1, 9; Numbers 3:2; Numbers 26:61
  • 2. Leviticus 16:12
  • 3. Numbers 3:4; Numbers 16:35; Numbers 26:61
  • 4. Exodus 19:22; Leviticus 21:6
  • 5. Exodus 30:30; Ezekiel 38:16
  • 6. Exodus 14:4, 17; Isaiah 49:3; Ezekiel 28:22
  • 7. Exodus 6:22
  • 8. Exodus 29:5; Leviticus 8:13
  • 9. Lev 21:1-5, 10-12
  • 10. Numbers 1:53; Numbers 16:22, 46; Numbers 18:5; Joshua 7:1; Joshua 22:18, 20; 2 Samuel 24:1
  • 11. Exodus 28:41; Leviticus 21:12
  • 12. Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 31:5; Isaiah 28:7; Ezekiel 44:21; Hosea 4:11; Luke 1:15; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7
  • 13. Leviticus 11:47; Leviticus 20:25; Ezekiel 22:26
  • 14. Deuteronomy 17:10, 11; Deuteronomy 33:10
  • 15. Exodus 6:23; Numbers 3:2
  • 16. Leviticus 6:14-18
  • 17. Leviticus 7:30-34; Numbers 18:11
  • 18. Leviticus 7:34
  • 19. Leviticus 9:3, 15
  • 20. Leviticus 6:24-30
  • 21. Exodus 28:38; Leviticus 22:16; Numbers 18:1
  • 22. Leviticus 6:30
  • 23. Leviticus 6:26
  • 24. Leviticus 9:8, 12

Footnotes 6

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

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