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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Abihu', אֲבַיהוּץ , lit. father [i.e. worshipper] of Him, sc. God; Sept. ‘Αβιούδ, Josephus ‘Αβιοῦς, Vulg. Abiu), the second of the sons of Aaron by Elisheba (Exodus 6:23; Numbers 3:2; Numbers 26:60; 1 Chronicles 6:3; 1 Chronicles 24:1), who, with his brothers Nadab, Eleazar, and Ithamar, was set apart and consecrated for the priesthood (Exodus 28:1). With his father and elder brother, he accompanied the seventy elders partly up the mount which Moses ascended to receive the divine communication (Exodus 24:1; Exodus 24:9). When, at the first establishment of the ceremonial worship, the victims offered on the great brazen altar were consumed by fire from heaven, it was directed that this fire should always be kept up, and that the daily incense should be burnt in censers filled with it from the great altar (see Leviticus 6:9 sq.). But one day Nadab and Abihu presumed to neglect this regulation, and offered incense in censers filled with "strange" or common fire, B.C. 1657. For this they were instantly struck dead by lightning, and were taken away and buried in their clothes without the camp (Leviticus 10:1-11; comp. Numbers 3:4; Numbers 26:61; 1 Chronicles 24:2). (See AARON). There can be no doubt that this severe example had the intended effect of enforcing becoming attention to the most minute observances of the ritual service. As immediately after the record of this transaction, and in apparent reference to it, comes a prohibition of wine or strong drink to the priests whose turn it might be to enter the tabernacle, it is not unfairly surmised that Nadab and Abihu were intoxicated when they committed this serious error in their ministrations. (See NADAB).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Abihu'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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