The Death of Nadab and Abihu.[a] 1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer. They put fire and incense into them and offered unholy fire before the Lord, not as he had prescribed for them. 2 But a fire came out from the presence of the Lord and it devoured them and they died before the Lord. 3 Moses therefore said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘I will show myself to be holy to those who draw near to me and I will be glorified before all of the people.’ ” Aaron therefore remained silent. 4 Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel, the uncle of Aaron, and told them, “Come here and carry away your relatives from the sanctuary. Take them outside of the camp.” 5 They drew near and carried them and their tunics away outside of the camp, as Moses had told them.
6 To Aaron, to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, Moses said, “Do not uncover the hair of your heads nor rend your garments, lest you die and lest the wrath of the Lord come upon the entire community. But let your brothers, the whole household of Israel, mourn the burning that the Lord kindled.[b] 7 Do not go out from the entrance of the meeting tent lest you die, for the oil of anointing of the Lord is upon you.” They did what Moses told them.
Prohibition against Wine. 8 The Lord said to Aaron, 9 “Do not drink wine or strong drink when you are to enter the tent of meeting, neither you nor your sons, lest you die. This will be a statute forever throughout all of your generations. 10 [c]This is so that you can distinguish between what is holy and unholy, and between what is unclean and clean, 11 so that you can teach the children of Israel all of the statutes that the Lord gave through Moses.”
12 Consuming Holy Things. Then Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar, the surviving sons of Aaron, “Take what is left over from the cereal offering after part has been offered by fire to the Lord, and eat it unleavened near the altar, for it is most holy. 13 You must eat it in a holy place, for it is the part assigned to you and to your sons from the sacrifices offered by fire in honor of the Lord, for thus I have been commanded. 14 The breast of the wave offering and the thigh that has been offered will also be eaten by you, your sons, and your daughters, in a clean place, for they have been assigned to you as your portion and your sons’ portion from the peace offerings of the children of Israel.
15 “They will take the thigh that is offered and the breast that is a wave offering together with the fat parts that are to be burned, and they will wave them as a wave offering before the Lord. This will be your portion and your sons’ portion as your right forever, just as the Lord has commanded.”
16 Now Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering and found out that it had been burned. He was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the surviving sons of Aaron. He said, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sacrifice of the sin offering in a holy place, for it a most holy thing? It was given to you to bear the iniquity of the community, to make atonement before the Lord. 18 Behold, the blood of the offering was not brought inside of the sanctuary. You should have eaten it in the sanctuary as I ordered you.” 19 Aaron said to Moses, “Behold, today they brought their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord. After these things have happened to me, should I have eaten the sacrifice of the sin offering? Would this have been pleasing to the Lord?” 20 When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.
- Leviticus 10:1 Aaron’s older sons die before the Lord because of their use of profane embers, unholy fire. This is another incidence of the Lord’s fire that he used to consume the burnt offerings in Lev 9:24.
- Leviticus 10:6 Unkempt hair and torn clothing were the signs of mourning.
- Leviticus 10:10 Between what is holy and unholy: keeping the sacred apart from the profane was strictly maintained by the priests.