Leviticus 10:1-20 … THE PRIESTHOOD LEARNS TO FOLLOW GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS.
Q.1. Why did God slay the firstborn sons of Aaron? What did God want the leaders to learn? – (Lev.10:1-3, 8-11) =
Q.2. Why was the disposal of the bodies and grieving for the sons of Aaron to be done differently? – (Lev.10:4-7) =
Q.3. Why was Moses so careful to ensure that the sacrifices were made as God commanded? – (Lev.10:16-20) =
The Death of Nadab and Abihu
10 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized[a] fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, 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 away from the front of the sanctuary and out of the camp.” 5 So they came 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 Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. 7 And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, 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 “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.”
12 Moses spoke to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his surviving sons: “Take the grain offering that is left of the Lord‘s food offerings, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, from the Lord‘s food offerings, for so I am commanded. 14 But the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed you shall eat in a clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you, for they are given as your due and your sons’ due from the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the people of Israel. 15 The thigh that is contributed and the breast that is waved they shall bring with the food offerings of the fat pieces to wave for a wave offering before the Lord, and it shall be yours and your sons’ with you as a due forever, as the Lord has commanded.”
16 Now Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering, and behold, it was burned up! And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the surviving sons of Aaron, saying, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is a thing most holy and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? 18 Behold, its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary. You certainly ought to have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.” 19 And Aaron said to Moses, “Behold, today they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and yet such things as these have happened to me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would the Lord have approved?” 20 And when Moses heard that, he approved.
Q.1. Why did God slay the firstborn sons of Aaron? What did God want the leaders to learn? – (Lev.10:1-3, 8-11) = God made an example of the firstborn sons of Aaron, to impress on the people the importance of doing everything exactly as He had commanded. There has been much conjecture about what the ‘strange fire’ might have been (Lev.10:1-2). However, the reason for the execution of Nadab and Abihu is clear – Do 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 (as had occurred with Nadab and Abihu) –it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations – and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, and so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them through Moses – (Lev.10:9-11). Just as it is illegal to drive a car under the influence of alcohol, so it grieves the Lord, for a person representing Him, to be drunk (c.f. Eph.5:18). It is likely that Nadab & Abihu offered inappropriate fire and incense, as they stumbled drunkenly into the holy presence of God. (c.f. Lev.16:12-13).
Q.2. Why was the disposal of the bodies, and the grieving for the sons of Aaron to be done differently? – (Lev.10:4-7) = Nadab and Abihu had insulted God by failing to give the honour due to His name – By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honoured (Lev.10:3). Their deaths were not normal bereavements, so had to be dealt with differently. Therefore, Moses commanded the sons of Aaron’s uncle to remove the incinerated bodies from the holy place (Lev.10:4-5). Aaron and his other sons were warned not to grieve in the cultural way. This would signify that they understood God’s displeasure of what these men had done, and would prevent any further judgment. God also explained, that since the anointing oil was still on Aaron and his remaining sons, for them to leave the tent at that time, would bring further retribution against them (Lev.10:6-7 c.f. Lev.8:33-35).
Q.3. Why was Moses so careful to ensure that the sacrifices were made as God commanded? – (Lev.10:16-20) = Moses had been in the presence of God, and knew Him face to face. He had a very clear understanding of the glory and holiness of God. God had made generous provision for the priesthood. However, in return, they all needed to be intricately aware of their duties and responsibilities (Lev.10:12-15). When Moses discovered that the scapegoat had been burned up by mistake, he was horrified – Why did you not eat the sin offering in the holy place? For it is most holy, and He gave it to you to bear away the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord (Lev.10:17). Aaron then explained the complexity of the law, in relation to the offerings (Lev.10:19-20). Later on, God gave further instruction to Aaron and his sons, in order to avoid further disaster and – the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the Lord and died (Lev.16:1).
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