Nadab and Abihu

No blog yesterday due to the fact that I combined two blogs into one, since the content of the days' readings were so similar. Today we read the strange and tragic account of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu. These guys, who were second in rank only to Moses and Aaron, were destroyed by God for a seemingly benign offense just after their ordination as priests. This account lends further credence to the fact that God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance of things. Aaron's sin with the golden calf certainly seemed more serious than this offering of unauthorized fire before the Lord. And yet, Aaron wore the "HOLY TO THE LORD" turban while his sons were consumed by God's wrath. Something else must be going on.

What can be gathered from supporting texts in Leviticus, shows evidence of a lack of reverence for God and a trivialization of that which is holy. Exodus 30:9 stated that no other incense was to be offered on the altar, yet Nadab and Abihu offered some kind of "strange fire". Censers taken from the altar were holy objects and could only burn "holy" fire...that which came from the altar itself, but they put their own coals into the fire. Another clue as to the heart issue underlying the "strange fire" incident, is found later in the book. "Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the Lord and died. And the Lord said to Moses, 'Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die'" --- Leviticus 16:1-2. This seems to indicate that Nadab and Abihu had attempted to approach God in the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest had access, and even so, only once a year. The verse states that they "approached the presence of the Lord" and in the same sentence, Aaron is instructed never to attempt entrance into the holy place, lest he die. Knowing how stringent the requirements for entrance into the Holy of Holies were, if Nadab and Abihu violated God's standards in this way, it was nothing short of reckless arrogance. The Israelites were so fearful of the presence of God, (and I mean that in a holy, reverent kind of way as opposed to terror), that they tied a rope to the high priest when he went in on the Day of Atonement, so that he could be pulled out in case of death. Nobody could go in to retrieve his body! It was that big of a deal to enter the Holy of Holies.

So, we have the two of them offering the wrong kind of fire in a location that they were forbidden to enter. But there is one more possibility to add to the equation. Immediately following the account of Nadab and Abihu's deaths, the instructions for priestly conduct are given. The very first sentence of that paragraph reads "Then the Lord said to Aaron, 'You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die". The proximity of this command to the account of Nadab and Abihu's destruction, has led many scholars to assume that the brothers were guilty of drunkenness, which resulted in their poor judgement.

I felt alot better about this passage after spending some time on it. Sometimes at face value, God's actions do not seem "fair" to our human sensibilities. And we won't always be able to rationalize the sovereign will of God. But in this case, I can see how the actions of Nadab and Abihu revealed a dangerous indifference to the role that had been entrusted to them. Because they held such high office, they were doubly accountable and had to be punished for their lack of reverence for God.

The reading goes on to list clean and unclean animals. I have to comment on this because this topic has been of great interest to me recently. I changed my eating habits to a large degree 9 months ago, after reading a book about the dietary laws of the Old Testament and their relevance today. It would take way too long to expound upon, but suffice it to say, these restrictions were not arbitrary and had legitimate health benefits. In fact, their inclusion in the Bible is evidence of scientific foreknowledge, as the regulations confirm much of what we now know to be healthy and unhealthy eating practices. The distinguishing factor between the clean and unclean animals, concerns the diets of the animals themselves. All of the clean animals are herbivores while the unclean animals are carnivores or scavengers. They could not have known then but we know now, that carnivorous animals carry pathogens such as parasites, not found in animals on plant-based diets. Scavenger feeders, like pigs and shellfish, are known to accumulate toxins at dangerous levels for humans. I came across a crazy study conducted on the toilets of kosher Jews and non-Jews. The non-Jew toilets carried eggs of trichonella, schistosoma, wire worm and tape worm, all found in pork, while the toilets of jews were "clean". Ewww. Food for thought...

Tomorrow's reading: Lev. 12:1-14:32

About Melissa Gibbs:


Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches.


Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/.

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