I’m about halfway through my reading of Leviticus. I’ve always found Leviticus to be one of the “tougher” books in the Bible for me. There are a lot of regulations and instructions given for sacrifices that I find difficult to relate to. I’m going to go over the incident with the unauthorized fire that brought about the deaths of Aaron’s sons Nadab, and Abihu. I will also explain some other verses that might need some explanation.

Nadab and Abihu

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command.

Leviticus 10:1 (NIV)

The Lord had given specific instructions about the type of incense to use in his offerings. He had also given instructions on how the priests were to approach Him. Everything had to be done in a precise manner. However, Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, didn’t follow the instructions, so they died. While we don’t know exactly what they did or didn’t do correctly, we have a good idea as to why they didn’t follow them correctly. 

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”

Leviticus 10:8-11 (NIV)

Nadab and Abihu were likely intoxicated when they went to serve the Lord, and because of their drunkenness, they were unable to distinguish between what was clean and unclean. This is why they were struck down.

When we go to Lord, we need to do so in reverence for who he is. We shouldn’t approach God casually as if he were anyone else. We need to be respectful of Him and His personage. Nadab and Abihu treated their office and their service to God as nothing special, and that’s why they died. 

After they died Moses tells Aaron and his two remaining sons something that might seem cold and out of place.

Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire.”

Leviticus 10:6 (NIV)

It was no secret that the Lord struck down Nadab and Abihu. It’s also probable that some people had been aware of their drunken state while serving the Lord. If Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar took up a posture of mourning it could have been misconstrued that they didn’t agree with the justice of the Lord. We are all called to love the Lord above everyone and everything else. Another reason for not going about in mourning is the need to present themselves before the Lord in a clean-cut manner. 

Birthing Regulations

If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

Leviticus 12:5 (NIV)

When a woman gave birth to a male, she was unclean for a week after the birth, and then she had to wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. However, as we read here, a woman who gave birth to a female, was unclean for two weeks and had to wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. Why was there a difference between the male and female? In my studies, I uncovered two possible reasons.

1. It was thought that the birthing of a female was a more difficult and strenuous event for the mother than a male birth. This resulted in more damage and more bleeding. Hence, the extended time. 

2. Males were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth. This process of circumcision made them clean. Because the male child is clean, the period for waiting is cut in half. 

Although I find Leviticus and Numbers (coming up in my reading) challenging, I believe what Scripture says about itself.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.