Leviticus Chapter 10

Leviticus Chapter 10 discusses the sins and deaths of Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons. It goes on to tell how Aaron was forbidden to mourn for the death of his sons.

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The Deaths of Nadab and Abihu

Chapter 10 of Leviticus begins with the deaths of Nadab and Abihu. These were two of Aaron’s sons who were in the priesthood and the chapter begins by saying they made a mistake. Instead of using fire from the altar to burn their incense, they got fire elsewhere and brought it to the altar. This was contrary to the direct command of God so He sent fire from Heaven and destroyed them on the spot.

Taking the Bodies Away

After the two sons died, Moses told Aaron that the priests must respect God and follow His commands. He then told Aaron’s other two sons to carry the bodies away from the camp. God also told Aaron and his sons to refrain from mourning the deaths or they will suffer the same fate as well. Aaron and his sons obeyed.

The Issue of Wine and Drink

Next, the Lord commanded the priests to refrain from drinking wine or beer while they were in the Meeting Tent. He said that if they disobeyed this command, they would die. God said that they had to be able to distinguish between what was clean and unclean. They had to be sober in order to do that and to teach the people about the laws that God gave them through Moses.

The Need for Cleansing the Temple

The conclusion of Leviticus Chapter 10 finds an argument occurring between Aaron and Moses. Aaron’s remaining sons had refused to eat from a sin offering as a part of atonement following their brothers’ deaths. This turned out in Aaron’s favor, however, as he made the case that the tabernacle had been left polluted by the demise of his sons near the altar. He explained that a thorough cleaning would be required to return it to its sanctity. Moses agreed.

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Leviticus 10 (King James Version)

1 And 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.

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

3 Then 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.

4 And 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.

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

6 And 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.

7 And 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.

8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying,

9 Do 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:

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

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

12 And 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:

13 And 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.

14 And 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.

15 The 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.

16 And 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,

17 Wherefore 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?

18 Behold, 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.

19 And 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?

20 And when Moses heard that, he was content.

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