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Nadab and Abihu


Now Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his censer, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered unholy fire before the L ord, such as he had not commanded them. 2And fire came out from the presence of the L ord and consumed them, and they died before the L ord. 3Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the L ord meant when he said,

‘Through those who are near me

I will show myself holy,

and before all the people

I will be glorified.’ ”

And Aaron was silent.

4 Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come forward, and carry your kinsmen away from the front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” 5They came forward and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had ordered. 6And Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not dishevel your hair, and do not tear your vestments, or you will die and wrath will strike all the congregation; but your kindred, the whole house of Israel, may mourn the burning that the L ord has sent. 7You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the anointing oil of the L ord is on you.” And they did as Moses had ordered.

8 And the L ord spoke to Aaron: 9Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a statute forever throughout your generations. 10You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; 11and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the L ord has spoken to them through Moses.

12 Moses spoke to Aaron and to his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar: Take the grain offering that is left from the L ord’s offerings by fire, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy; 13you shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, from the offerings by fire to the L ord; for so I am commanded. 14But the breast that is elevated and the thigh that is raised, you and your sons and daughters as well may eat in any clean place; for they have been assigned to you and your children from the sacrifices of the offerings of well-being of the people of Israel. 15The thigh that is raised and the breast that is elevated they shall bring, together with the offerings by fire of the fat, to raise for an elevation offering before the L ord; they are to be your due and that of your children forever, as the L ord has commanded.

16 Then Moses made inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and—it had already been burned! He was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and said, 17“Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sacred area? For it is most holy, and God has given it to you that you may remove the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement on their behalf before the L ord. 18Its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary. You should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.” 19And Aaron spoke to Moses, “See, today they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the L ord; and yet such things as these have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been agreeable to the L ord?” 20And when Moses heard that, he agreed.

4. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan Lest Eleazar and Ithamar should carry 417417     “Se polluassent en portant les corps morts de leurs freres;” should pollute themselves by carrying the dead bodies of their brothers. — Fr. Blunt has a very ingenious conjecture that Mishael and Elzaphan were the very persons “defiled by the dead body of a man,” mentioned in Numbers 9:6, 7, and who therefore could not keep the Passover. “The Veracity of the Five Books of Moses.” Art. 14. But surely, out of such a large body of persons, there must have been many deaths daily, and consequently others would have been defiled besides Mishael and Elzaphan. forth the corpses, Moses commanded these others to anticipate them. It may also have been the case that all were stupified by terror. He forbids the father and brothers to mourn their death, not so much in accordance with the law, whereby all except the high priest were permitted to mourn for their own brother, as to prevent this memorable lesson from being obscured by their grief, since thus was the sanctity of their religion magnificently asserted. Nevertheless, God allowed the dead men to be bewailed by the people, lest the recollection of their punishment should too soon be lost.

When he forbids (Aaron 418418     Added from Fr. and his sons) to go out from the door of the tabernacle, he does not mean so to fix them to that place as to banish them from their own private tents, but he withholds them from all pollution which might have compelled them to desert or interrupt their duty.

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