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Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
Ver. 1. And Nadab and Abihu. ] These jolly young priests, overjoyed haply of their new employment and overwarmed with wine, as some gather out of Leviticus 10:9 , over did themselves the very day of their service, Lev 10:19 and are suddenly surprised by a doleful death. So was that inconsiderate priest of Naples, Anno Dom. 1457, of whom Wolphius a reports, that when the hill Vesuvius had sent huge flames, and done great spoil, he, to make proof of his piety, read a mass, and would needs go up the hill to find out the cause of such a calamity. But for a reward of his foolhardiness, he perished in the flames, and was never heard of any more.
a Wolph., Memorab. Lect., cent. 15.
Lev 10:2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Ver. 2. And there went out fire. ] By fire they sinned, and by fire they perished.
“ Per quod quis peccat, per idem punitur et ipse:
Nestorii lingua vermibus exesa est. ” - Evag., lib. i.
So Archbishop Arundel’s tongue rotted in his head. The Archbishop of Tours in France made suit for the erection of a court called Chambre Ardent, wherein to condemn the Protestants to the fire. He was afterwards stricken with a disease called the fire of God, which began at his feet and so ascended upward, that he caused one member after another to be cut off, and so he died miserably. a
a Act. and Mon., fol. 1911.
Lev 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This [is it] that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
Ver. 3. This is it that the Lord spake. ] Where? and when? Lev 8:35 Exodus 19:22 . Or perhaps nowhere written, but at some other time spoken by God. Moses might but set down the short notes of his discourses, as the prophets used to do.
I will be sanctified. ] Either actively or passively, Aut a nobis, aut in nos, either in us, or upon us; sure it is, that he will be no loser by us. Sanctified he will be, either in the sincerity of men’s conversation, or else in the severity of their condemnation. Singular things are expected of all that draw nigh to God in any duty, but especially in the office of the ministry. Those that stand in the presence of princes must be exact in their carriages. God appointed both the weights and measures of the sanctuary to be twice as large as those of the commonwealth; to show, that he expects much more of those that serve him there, than he doth of others. The souls of priests must be purer than the sunbeams, saith Chrysostom.
And Aaron held his peace. ] He bridled his passions, and submitted to the divine justice. The like did David, Psa 39:9 which words were taken up by Duplessis in the loss of his only son. a
a Dr Hakw., on Psalm ci
Lev 10:4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
Ver. 4. And Moses called Mishael, &c. ] Aaron’s first cousins were called, to carry these two unhappy brethren out for burial: their brethren the priests might not leave their ministry to do it. Accordingly we read of one Pulvillus, a heathen, that he was about to consecrate a temple to Jupiter, and when news was brought him of the death of his son, he would not desist from his enterprise; but with much composure of mind gave order for decent burial.
Lev 10:5 So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.
Ver. 5. In their coats. ] These were not burnt, as neither were their bodies: the fire, being of a celestial and subtile nature, might pierce their inward parts, not touching their outward; as lightning kills by piercing, not by burning. a
Lev 10:6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
Ver. 6. And Moses said unto Aaron. ] Philo reporteth that the high priest of the Jews, to keep always his soul pure, never saw any mournful object. Tiberius, counterfeiting grief at the funeral of Drusus, had a vail laid betwixt the dead and him, that he might not see the body, because he was, as the rest of the emperors also were, pontifex maximus, or the high priest; and therefore a sacred person. Mourning in Aaron might have seemed murmuring; he is therefore forbidden it, and accordingly he forbears. So did Luther when he buried his daughter; he was not seen to shed a tear. a No more did Rev. William Whately, late pastor of Banbury, when, after he had preached his own child’s funeral upon this text, "The will of the Lord be done," he and his wife laid the child in the grave with their own hands.
Bewail the burning. ] It is fit enough, ordinarily, that the body, when sown in corruption, be watered by the tears of those that plant it in the earth.
a Manlii, loc. com., p. 215.
Lev 10:7 And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD [is] upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
Ver. 7. For the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. ] This is every true Christian’s case, who should therefore carry himself accordingly. There is a το πρεπον , a seemly carriage, belongs to every calling. "You have an unction," &c. 1Jn 2:20
Lev 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: [it shall be] a statute for ever throughout your generations:
Ver. 9. Do not drink wine, nor strong drink. ] As some are of opinion Nadab and Abihu had done; which miscarriage of theirs occasioned this precept. a The perpetual equity whereof is, that ministers be no wine bibbers or tipplers or drunken sots . 1Ti 3:3 Why should it be said as of old, "They have erred because of wine, and have gone out of the way because of strong drink, even the priest and the prophet?" Isa 28:7 Drunkenness is a crime in all, but it is a kind of sacrilege in ministers. And if other drunkards deserve double punishments for their misdemeanours, as Aristotle b judgeth, first for their drunkenness, and then for the sin committed in and by their drunkenness what do drunken priests? Isa 56:12
a Ex malis moribus bonae leges.
b διπλα τα επιτιμια . - Arist., Ethic., lib. iii. cap. 5.
Lev 10:10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
Ver. 10. And that ye may put difference. ] Drunkenness takes away the heart, Hos 4:11 besots and infatuates; robs a man of himself, and lays a beast in his place.
Lev 10:11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Ver. 11. And that ye may teach. ] The priest’s lips should both preserve knowledge and present it to the people; even all the counsel of God. Mal 2:7 Act 20:27 "To give the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins." Luk 1:77
Lev 10:12 And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it [is] most holy:
Ver. 12. Take the meat offerlng, ] q.d., Think not that God hath cashiered you because he hath corrected you; neither refuse your meat out of a sullen sourness; but fall to your meat offering, and take better heed another time. Only "eat before the Lord." Deu 12:18
Lev 10:13 And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it [is] thy due, and thy sons’ due, of the sacrifices of the LORD made by fire: for so I am commanded.
Ver. 13. See Leviticus 6:26 .
Lev 10:14 And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for [they be] thy due, and thy sons’ due, [which] are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.
Ver. 14. And the wave breast, and heave shoulder. ] These were the priests’ due: teaching them to set breast and shoulder to God’s work: and minding them, that a minister should be both a breast to love, and a shoulder to support the people in their troubles and burdens.
Lev 10:15 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 thine, and thy sons’ with thee, by a statute for ever; as the LORD hath commanded.
Ver. 15. The heave shoulder. ] See on Exodus 29:24 .
Lev 10:16 And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron [which were] left [alive], saying,
Ver. 16. And, behold, it was burnt. ] Passion for their dead friends had so transported the priests, that they knew not well what they did. We use to say, Res est ingeniosa dolor: but then it must not be excessive as here, and as 2 Samuel 18:33 .
Lev 10:17 Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it [is] most holy, and [God] hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?
Ver. 17. To bear the iniquity. ] This the sinner doth subjectively, the priest typically, the Lord Christ really.
Lev 10:18 Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy [place]: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy [place], as I commanded.
Ver. 18. Ye should indeed have eaten it. ] Thus, by misreckoning a point, ye have missed the haven, and hazarded yourselves to the rocks of the divine displeasure, against which your brethren so lately split. God is usually most angry when he is about a reformation; as here against Nadab and Abihu: so afterwards against Uzzah, Ananias and Sapphira, &c.
Lev 10:19 And Aaron said unto 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?
Ver. 19. Should it have been accepted. ] God loves a cheerful server. Deuteronomy 12:7 ; Deu 26:14 Mourners’ bread is polluted bread, Hos 9:4 and those unkind husbands are blamed for causing their wives, when they should have been cheerful in God’s service, to cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and with crying out, so that he regarded not the offering any more. Mal 2:13 This Aaron knew, and allegeth for himself.
Lev 10:20 And when Moses heard [that], he was content.
Ver. 20. He was content. ] For that time at least. It is not good sowing in a high wind. To choose a fit time to admonish an offender, is a singular skill, and a very great advantage. The mildest medicine is troublesome to an eye that is inflamed.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11