God Destroys Nadab and Abihu
1 Then Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu made a mistake. They took their incense dishes and put some fire and incense in them. But they did not use the fire that was on the altar—they took fire from some other place and brought it to the LORD. This was not what he had commanded. 2 So fire came from the LORD and destroyed Nadab and Abihu, and they died there in front of the LORD.
3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “The LORD says, ‘The priests who come near me must respect me. I must be holy to them and to all the people.’ ” So Aaron did not say anything about his sons dying.
4 Aaron’s uncle Uzziel had two sons. They were Mishael and Elzaphan. Moses said to these sons, “Come here and get your cousins’ bodies and carry them away from this holy place and take them outside the camp.”
5 So Mishael and Elzaphan obeyed Moses. They carried the bodies of Nadab and Abihu outside the camp. Nadab and Abihu were still wearing their special woven shirts.
6 Then Moses spoke to Aaron and his other sons Eleazar and Ithamar. He said, “Don’t show any sadness! Don’t tear your clothes or mess up your hair!* tear … hair Torn clothes and messed up hair showed that a person was mourning (see “mourn” in the Word List) for a dead person. If you do anything to show your sadness, you will be killed, and the Lord will show his anger against everyone. But let all the other people of Israel, your relatives, cry for those the LORD destroyed with fire. 7 But you must not even leave the entrance of the Meeting Tent. If you leave, you will die because the LORD’S anointing oil is on you.” So Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar obeyed Moses.
8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons must not drink wine or beer when you come into the Meeting Tent. If you do, you will die. This law continues forever through your generations. 10 You must be able to clearly tell the difference between what is holy and what is not holy, between what is clean and what is unclean. 11 And you must teach the people about all the laws that the LORD gave them through Moses.”
12 Aaron had two sons who were still alive, Eleazar and Ithamar. Moses said to Aaron and his two sons, “When people give sacrifices as a gift to the LORD, some of the grain offering is not burned. Use that grain to make bread without yeast. You priests must eat that bread near the altar because that grain is very holy. 13 The portion of food for you and your sons will come from the special gifts to the LORD, so you must eat that food in a holy place.
14 “You, your sons, and your daughters may all eat the breast and thigh that were lifted up before the Lord as an offering. But you must eat these in a place that is clean because they come from the fellowship offerings. They are your share of those offerings that the Israelites give to God. 15 The people must bring the gifts of fat from their animals as part of the sacrifice. They must also bring the thigh of the fellowship offering and the breast that is lifted up to show it is offered in front of the LORD. Then it will be your share of the offering. It will belong to you and your children. That part of the sacrifices will be your share forever, just as the LORD said.”
16 Moses looked for the goat of the sin offering, but it was already burned up. Moses became very angry with Aaron’s other sons Eleazar and Ithamar. Moses said, 17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the holy area! That meat is very holy! God gave it to you to carry away the guilt of the people—to make the people pure before the LORD. 18 That goat’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place. So you should have eaten the meat in the holy area, just as I commanded!”
19 But Aaron said to Moses, “Look, today they brought their sin offering and burnt offering before the LORD. But you know what happened to me today! Do you think the LORD would be happy if I ate the sin offering today?”
20 When Moses heard this, he agreed.
*10:6 tear … hair Torn clothes and messed up hair showed that a person was mourning (see “mourn” in the Word List) for a dead person.