H³ g 1-7. Disobedience (positive sin). h 8-11. Command (as to holy and unclean). h 12-15. Command (as to meal offering). g 16-20. Disobedience (negative failure).
1: And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and brought near strange fire before the Lord (i.e. fire other than that Yahaveh had commanded, required, and given from heaven 1:7; 6:12; 9:24; 16:12. Cp. Ex. 30:9. It was of their own kindling: so is all that is offered to God in worship today. Do not ever try to make your love and worship to our Father a thing of convenience. If so, according to John 4:23,24, it is "strange fire", and deserves the same judgment! All worship that is not kindled by the Holy Spirit is "strange" and is of the flesh. Cp. John 3:6 and 6:63. It "profits nothing", and "God has no respect to it" Gen. 4:4,5. Heb. 11:4. The incense of prayer and worship on the golden altar in the holy place was kindled by fire taken from the bronze altar in the outer court, on which atonement was made. See Lev. 16:12,13 and Rev. 8:5: only those, therefore, whose sin is atoned for can worship. Compare the "strange incense", Ex. 30:9), which He commanded them not. (Negative. The introduction of anything "strange", where all is ordered by God, is an abomination in His sight; and calls for, and calls own His judgment. Thus the first recorded individual use of incense began in disobedience, here, and the last ended in unbelief - Luke 1:10,18,20. Here Nadab and Abihu were supposed to set an example. Lesson: never look to man for perfection.)
28th March, 1490 B.C.
2: And there went out fire from before the Lord, and slew them (for they were not consumed, as shown in vv.4 & 5), and they died before the Lord. (i.e. in the court of the sanctuary, where their sin had been committed.)
3: Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is it that the Lord spoke (in contrast with v.1. The positive apposed to the negative. Note the emphasis on "This" = this and nothing else: this very thing. Disobedience here is vital; this is why "judgment must begin at the house of God": 1 Pet. 4:17, yes "the time is come"), saying, 'I will be sanctified in them that come near Me (note this double "I will": and compare it with the "must" of John 4:24. Cp. John 3:7,14. All worship which has not Christ for its object, the glory of Yahaveh for its end, and the Holy Spirit for its power, will be rejected and judged), and before all the people I will be glorified.' " And Aaron held his peace. (in solemn submission to God's judgment on his two sons, just struck so soon after their anointing, installation, and investiture. Cp. 8:13.)
4: And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron (Izhar and Hebron, the older uncles, were passed over because of their probable sympathy with their nephews Nadab and Abihu, Num. 16:5,78), and said to them, "Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary outside of the camp." (Burials took place in the open fields. Cp. Gen. 23:9,17. Matt. 27:52,53. Luke 7:12.)
5: So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; according as Moses had said.
6: And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons, "Uncover not your heads, neither tear your clothes; and so you all will not die, and wrath will not come upon all the assembly: but your brethren, the whole house of Israel (see Ex. 16:31), bewail the burning (down) which the Lord has kindled.
7: And you all shall not go out from the entrance of the tent of the assembly, lest you all 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 (the only time to Aaron alone, see 5:14), saying,
9: "Do not drink wine (Heb. yayin from the root yayan, to ferment, used of every sort of wine, and included fermented wine of all kids. It was intoxicating. Also used for sacred purposes and for blessing) nor strong drink (Heb. shêkâr from shâkar, to get drunk, a very intoxicating drink made from barely, honey and dates. Does this law follow here, because it was intoxication which led to the sin of Nadab and Abihu?), you, nor your sons with you, when you all go into the tent of the assembly, lest you all die (Cp. Ezek. 44:21. The exception implies the rule. Nothing may be done to excite or stimulate the flesh in the sanctuary: neither drink within, nor music without; nor sensuous surroundings. The old nature must not be stimulated by moving scenes or mere human eloquence. All "must" be of the Spirit. John 4:24): it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
10: And that you all may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; (See Ex. 3:5)
11: And that you all may teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses." (This was a special part of the priest's work. See Deut. 33:10)
12: And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons that were left, "Take the meal offering that remains of the admittance offerings by fire to the Lord, and eat it without leaven (see Ex. 12:15) beside the altar (in the outer court, cp. v.2 and 6:20): for it is most holy:
13: And you all shall eat it in the holy place, because it is your due (= your statute, not withstanding the failure in vv.1-7), and your sons' statute, of the slain sacrifices made by fire to the Lord: for so I am commanded.
14: And the wave breast and heave shoulder (see Ex. 29:27) shall you all eat in a clean place; you, and your sons, and your daughters with you (note this: as well as sons. We must distinguish the privileges confined to males; others are common to all alike. The daughters could not eat of the "sin offering" v.17, but could eat of the "meal offering" here): for they are your statute, and your sons' statute, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the sons 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 yours, and your sons' with you, by a statute for ever; according as the Lord has commanded.'
16: And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin
offering, and, behold, it was burnt (down): and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying,
17: "Why have you all not eaten the sin offering in the holy place (calling attention to 6:26), seeing it is most holy, and God has given it you to bear the perverseness of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? (See Ex. 29:33)
18: Behold (to emphasize the distinction laid down in 6:26,30; 10:17. Cp. 4:5,16; 6:23,30), the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: you all should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded."
19: And Aaron said to 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.