The Sin of Nadab and Abihu
1 Now Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense, and offered unauthorized a fire before the LORD, contrary to His command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died in the presence of the LORD.
3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD meant when He said:
‘To those who come near Me
I will show My holiness,
and in the sight of all the people
I will reveal My glory.’ ”
4 Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, b sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry the bodies of your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary.” 5 So they came forward and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses had directed.
6 Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become disheveled c and do not tear your garments, or else you will die, and the LORD will be angry with the whole congregation. But your brothers, the whole house of Israel, may mourn on account of the fire that the LORD has ignited. 7 You shall not go outside the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, or you will die, for the LORD’s anointing oil is on you.”
So they did as Moses instructed.
Restrictions for Priests
8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or strong drink when you enter the Tent of Meeting, or else you will die; this is a permanent statute for the generations to come. 10 You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the clean and the unclean, 11 so that you may teach the Israelites all the statutes that the LORD has given them through Moses.”
12 And Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering that remains from the offerings made by fire to the LORD and eat it without leaven beside the altar, because it is most holy. 13 You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the offerings made by fire to the LORD; for this is what I have been commanded.
14 And you and your sons and daughters may eat the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution in a ceremonially clean place, because these portions have been assigned to you and your children from the peace offerings of the sons of Israel. 15 They are to bring the thigh of the contribution and the breast of the wave offering, together with the fat portions of the offerings made by fire, to wave as a wave offering before the LORD. It will belong permanently to you and your children, as the LORD has commanded.”
16 Later, Moses searched carefully for the goat of the sin offering, and behold, it had been burned up. He was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the holy place? For it is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the congregation by making atonement for them before the LORD. 18 Since its blood was not brought inside the holy place, you should have eaten it in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”
19 But Aaron replied to Moses, “Behold, this very day they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD. Since these things have happened to me, if I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been acceptable in the sight of the LORD?”
20 And when Moses heard this explanation, he was satisfied.