Dave Burnette's Commentary

Leviticus Chapter 10

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1445-1444 BC)
Overview: A Handbook for the Priests and Levites (c 1-27)
Theme: Worshipping a Holy God (c 1-17)
Message: Aaron's Sons Destroyed by Fire (v 1-20)

Leviticus 10 Commentary

(10:1) The Strange Fire - What was the "strange fire" that Nadab and Abihu offered before the Lord? The nature of Nadab and Abihu's wrongdoing is debated, but it clearly involved the burning of incense. The "strange" fire could be translated as "foreign fire (see Psalms 44;20; 81:9), meaning "unholy" (see Exodus 30:9) or even "pagan." Apparently, Nadab and Abihu used fire from a source not approved by God (Numbers 3:4; 26:61), possibly even a pagan source. It has also been suggested that the two priests gave an offering at an unprescribed time. Whatever the explanation, the point is that Nadab and Abihu abused their office as priests in a flagrant act of disrespect to God, who had just reviewed with them precisely how they were to conduct worship. As leaders, they had a special responsibility to obey God. In their position, they could easily lead many people astray. If God has commissioned you to lead or teach others, never take that role for granted or abuse it. Stay faithful to God and follow his instructions.

(10:2) Carelessness and Judgement -  Aaron's sons were careless about following the laws for sacrifices. In response, God destroyed them with a blast of fire. Performing the sacrifices was an act of obedience. Doing them correctly showed respect for God. It is easy for us to grow careless about obeying God, to live our way instead of God's. But if one way were just as good as another, God would not have commanded us to live his way. He always has good reasons for his commands, and we always place ourselves in danger when we consciously or carelessly disobey them.

(10:8-9) No Fermented Drinks - The priests were not to drink fermented wine (alcoholic beverages) before going into the tabernacle. Their senses were dulled by alcohol and they might repeat Nadab and Abihu's sin by bringing something unholy into the worship ceremony. In addition, drinking before performing their priestly duties would disqualify them from teaching the people
God's requirements of self-discipline. Also, drunkenness in religious contexts was associated with pagan practices, and the Hebrew priests were supposed to be distinctively different.

(10:10-11) Teaching God's Laws - This passage (along with 19:1-2) shows the focus of Leviticus. The Ten Commandments, recorded in Exodus 20, were God's fundamental laws. Leviticus explained and supplemented those laws with many other guidelines and principles that helped the Israelites put them into practice. The purpose of God's laws was to teach people how to distinguish right from wrong, the holy from the unholy, the clean from the unclean. The nation who lived by God's laws would obviously be set apart, dedicated to his service.

(10:16-20) Partaking of the Offering - The priest who offered the sin offering was supposed to eat a portion of the animal and then burn the rest (6:24-30). Moses was angry because Eleazar and Ithamar burned the sin offering but did not eat any of it. Aaron explained to Moses that his two sons did not feel it appropriate to eat the sacrifice after their two brothers, Nadab and Abihu, had just been killed for sacrificing wrongly. Moses then understood that Eleazar and Ithamar were not trying to disobey God. They were simply afraid and upset over what had just happened to their brothers.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

A God of Wrath

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Leviticus with Chapter 10 and in today's text we see more of the Character of God as the sons of Aaron - Nadab and Abihu - chose to deviate from the instruction of God and sinned in the handling of the Sacrifice causing the Wrath of God to be displayed. Nadab and Abihu experienced the Wrath of God and were killed with fire by God. In making application we see that God is a Holy God and we are reminded that God is a God of Wrath. Some believe that God won't judge their sin or sentence them to Hell if they die without Christ but God is a Holy God and a Holy God must judge sin. It is not His will that any should Perish but if God was not Holy then Jesus would have not needed to be crucified. Jesus experienced the crucifixion - God is Holy - and God does judge sin. How about you? Do you understand that God does judge sin? Let us learn from today's text and be reminded that when we are tempted with sin - that God will judge my sin simply because He is Holy.


Leviticus 10

Leviticus 10

 1And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

 2And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

 3Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

 4And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.

 5So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.

 6And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.

 7And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.

 8And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying,

 9Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

 10And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

 11And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

 12And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:

 13And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons' due, of the sacrifices of the LORD made by fire: for so I am commanded.

 14And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons' due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.

 15The heave shoulder and the wave breast shall they bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before the LORD; and it shall be thine, and thy sons' with thee, by a statute for ever; as the LORD hath commanded.

 16And 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 which were left alive, saying,

 17Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?

 18Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded.

 19And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they 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 to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?

 20And when Moses heard that, he was content.