Strange Fire Before God; Things Clean and Unclean; Motherhood

Leviticus 10-12

These chapters of Leviticus contain the event of the sins of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, and God’s response in chapter 10; laws concerning clean and unclean things in chapter 11; and laws concerning things related to being a woman in chapter 12.

Chapter 10

This chapter opens with Nadab and Abihu offering “strange” fire.  Here is a listing of all the things they did wrong in this offering as compiled by Wiersbe.

  1. Wrong people: the high priest was to do this
  2. Wrong instruments: high priests censer not their own
  3. Wrong time: only on the Day of Atonement
  4. Wrong authority: did it on their own
  5. Wrong fire: were to be on coals from the bronze altar
  6. Wrong motive: they weren’t seeking to glorify God
  7. Wrong energy: verses 9-10 implies that they were drunk

These men were of the family of the high priest, their father Aaron, and had been commissioned as priests, but they were in serious violation of the laws as handed down by God through Moses.  The result was that they were struck down by the fire from the presence of God on the spot.

Moses then gives directions to two of Aaron’s cousins on handling the dead bodies and gives instructions to Aaron and his other sons on how to proceed, who were in a period of mourning.  They needed to understand the necessity of knowing the difference between the holy and profane, the clean and unclean.

Moses then instructs Aaron’s other sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, to make preparation for and to offer the grain offering and the wave offering.  However, they did not fulfill the requirements for the sin offering, namely, consuming it by the holy place rather that it being burned up.  Moses was upset but Aaron explained the reason in light of the circumstances of the day, the death of his two other sons.

The chapter closes with, “When Moses heard that, it seemed good in his sight.”

Chapters 11-12

These chapters are pretty straight forward, so I won’t comment on them.  Wiersbe summarizes it well.

The Jews would readily identify with the saying: in the camp of Israel, the concepts of cleanliness and godliness were so intertwined that they were almost synonymous.  The Jews feared lest they become ceremoniously unclean because of something they had touched or eaten.  From birth to burial, the Jews had to submit to every aspect of their daily lives to the authority of God’s law.  Whether it was selecting their food, preparing their food, caring for a mother and a new baby, diagnosing a disease, or disposing of waste, nothing was left to chance in the camp of Israel lest someone be defiled.  In order to maintain ceremonial purity, each Jew had to obey God’s law in several areas of life.

If you want to learn more about the laws in the Torah, here are some websites which can help in understanding the 613 Torah laws. – brief explanations about the three larger categories of Old Testament laws.

Hebrew 4 Christians: – this site not only list the laws but also gives references in the New Testament that are associated with them.

Judaism 101: – lists the laws by various categories.

By offering these links I am not suggesting a return to Old Testament law but simply offering some pages which help explain the laws given to the Jews by God through Moses.

Galatians 3:21-25 NASB Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

An outline for Leviticus is available on the Downloads page under the Outlines folder.


Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary: The Pentateuch – Genesis—Deuteronomy. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books; SP Publications, Inc., 2001. Print. 6 vols.