I have begun reading through Leviticus to get a better understanding and appreciation of the temple/tabernacle worship. One of the striking things is the sudden death of Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus 10. In your teaching archives, you discuss a strong reason: this may be tied to these priests being drunk. I think it may be more than this. Chapter 16 begins its discussion of entering the Most Holy place by equating its timing as following the death of Aaron's sons (which I presume refers to Nadab and Abihu). If this is the case, it is just as likely or coincidentally that these two men entered the Most Holy Place. All this without proper respect or recognition of God. Any thoughts or comments? -- Jeffrey Krueger

I had never noticed this. For those who may have missed the earlier part of the discussion, Leviticus 16 begins, "Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died. And the LORD said to Moses, 'Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the 1mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.'"

But this can be taken two ways:

(1) Nadab and Abihu not only offered "unauthorized strange fire" (Leviticus 10:1), but even entered the Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest (Aaron) was allowed to do.

(2) Considering the presumption and arrogance of Aaron's first two sons, God gives a reminder warning: even the priests need to respect God's boundaries. No one is allowed into the Most Holy Place, except for one person: and even then, only once a year.

So I would say that I find your suggestion persuasive, but not conclusive. As for drunkenness, since the warning is placed immediately after the narrative of the death of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:8ff), it seems likely that alcohol may have impaired their judgment. As a result they were reckless and violated the revealed will of God.

All of us are forced to some amount of reconstructing and guesswork as we read these ancient texts. I appreciate your interest in the text, care lest it be misinterpreted, and desire to apply it personally (as you indicated in the part of your email -- I elected not to reproduce here.)

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