Leviticus 10

1 Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. 2 Fire came out from before the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of, saying, ‘I will show myself holy to those who come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” Aaron held his peace. 4 Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Draw near, carry your brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp.” 5 So they came near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said. 6 Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons, “Don’t let the hair of your heads go loose, and don’t tear your clothes; so that you don’t die, and so that he not be angry with all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD has kindled. 7 You shall not go out from the door of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; for the anointing oil of the LORD is on you.” They did according to the word of Moses. 8 Then The LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or strong drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to make a distinction between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean. 11 You are to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.” 12 Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons who were left, “Take the meal offering that remains of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without yeast beside the altar; for it is most holy; 13 and you shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your portion, and your sons’ portion, of the offerings of the LORD made by fire: for so I am commanded. 14 The waved breast and the heaved thigh you shall eat in a clean place, you, and your sons, and your daughters with you: for they are given as your portion, and your sons’ portion, out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the children of Israel. 15 The heaved thigh and the waved breast they shall bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be yours, and your sons’ with you, as a portion forever; as the LORD has commanded.” 16 Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and with Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying, 17 “Why haven’t you eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is most holy, and he has given it you to 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 should have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.” 19 Aaron spoke to Moses, “Behold, today they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things as these have happened to me. If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been pleasing in the LORD’s sight?” 20 When Moses heard that, it was pleasing in his sight.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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 gospel ministers, that they be not given to wine, 1Ti 3:3. It 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.

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