Leviticus 10:2
(2) And there went out fire from the Lord.--By fire they sinned, and by fire they died. The Divine fire which issued forth to consume the sacrifices as a token of acceptance, now descended as the avenger of sin to consume the sacrificers, just as the same gospel is to one a savour of life unto life, and to another a savour of death unto death. (2Corinthians 2:16.)

And devoured them.--That is, slay them, since we are told in Leviticus 10:5 that not only were their bodies in a perfect state of preservation, but even their garments were not burnt. The word consume, however, is used here to keep up the connection between this verse and chap 9:24.

They died before the Lord.--That is, in the court of the sanctuary (see Leviticus 10:1), on the very spot where the sin was committed.

Verse 2. - And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured. These are the exact words used in Leviticus 9:24 of the fire that consumed the sacrifices. The fire was the same; its source was the same; its effect was the same, and yet how different! They died before the Lord; that is, they were struck dead at the door of the tabernacle.

10:1,2 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.And there went out fire from the Lord,.... They sinned by fire, and they were punished by fire, either from heaven, or from the most holy place, where the Lord dwelt between the cherubim; this was of the nature of lightning, as appears by what follows:

and devoured them; not reduced them to ashes, for neither their bodies nor their clothes were burnt with this fire, as is clear from Leviticus 10:4 but their lives were destroyed, they were lifeless, their souls were separated from their bodies by it, and they died; which is often the case by the lightning, that the clothes of those who are killed with it are untouched, and scarce any marks of violence on their bodies; and so the Targum of Jonathan says of these, their bodies were not burnt:

and they died before the Lord; upon the spot where they were offering incense, in the holy place, over against the most holy place. This was very awful, like the case of Ananias and Sapphira, and may seem severe: it was for the terror of others in the priesthood, or who should come after, to take care that they performed their office according to the divine precepts, and brought in no innovation into their service. And when it is considered that these were the sons of the high priest, newly invested with an high and honourable office, and just had the laws of the priesthood delivered unto them, and yet deviated from them as soon as in their office, and very probably, from what follows, went drunk into their service, their sin will appear aggravated, and the punishment less severe. This shows there is nothing in carnal descent, these were the sons of Aaron the high priest, that acted this part, and came to this end; the proneness of men to transgress the laws of God as soon as given them; thus the people of Israel fell into idolatry as soon as the moral law was given; and here the priests, as soon as the ceremonial laws, relating to the priesthood, were delivered to them; and also that the law made sinful men priests, and that the Levitical priesthood was imperfect; and that no order of men are free from sin, or exempt from punishment: and the whole of the divine conduct in this affair may lead us to observe how jealous God is in matters of worship; how much he dislikes hypocrites, and formal professors; how severe he will be against such who bring in strange doctrines; what will be the fate of the contemners of Gospel doctrines and ordinances; and how much he resents those who trust in themselves, and their works, and bring in anything of their own in the business of salvation, which is strange fire, sparks of their own kindling, a burning incense to their own drag, and sacrificing to their own net.

Leviticus 10:1
Top of Page
Top of Page