Nadab and Abihu

photograph of a burning fire
Photo by moein moradi on

I love studying Leviticus. I can understand why Leviticus was the first book studied by Jewish children. I grieve that Leviticus is most likely the least read book by the Church.  How can I have any understanding of Hebrews or what Jesus means when He says that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt 5:17) if I do not know the Law (and the Prophets)?

In Leviticus 9 God accepts Aaron’s offering, initiating the Priesthood. In Leviticus 10, the first day on the job, Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, “each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD” (10:1-2 ESV).

While I have spent much time studying Leviticus 9 and 10, I never considered the significance of Nadab and Abihu’s appearance in Exodus until yesterday.

“Then [God] said to Moses, ‘Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar…” Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’ And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words'” (Ex 24:1, 3-8).

Some scholars think it stands to reason that these 73 men (including Nadab and Abihu) were the people on which Moses threw the blood, as there would have been thousands of people at this Covenant confirmation.

“Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel” (v 9). Nadab and Abihu were invited by God personally to partake in one of the most significant events in the life of Israel.

When I think about Nadab and Abihu in light of their role in the Covenant confirmation and in participating in the initiation of the Priesthood where “fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Lev 9:24) makes their sin of offering strange fire even more egregious and tragic.

Nadab and Abihu were hand selected by God to participate in the Covenant confirmation. God chose them to be priests to the people of Israel. After all Nadab and Abihu had witnessed it only makes sense that “fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD” (Lev 10:2). The fire that consumed the burnt offering is the same fire that consumed Nadab and Abihu.

While the Lord does NOT play favorites, He does have intimates (NT example would be Peter, James and John). Nadab and Abihu did not adhere to God’s just decrees and as such were put to death. This is not harsh, extreme or severe. Sin has consequences. God uses this sin as an object lesson of what happens when one does not worship Holy God in a manner that He requires. Following and obeying Him pleases Him.

For those who are in a position of leadership, it is paramount to lead and teach people in a manner that is Biblically sound, glorifying the Lord. Familiarity can breed contempt, even with God. We cannot approach God any way we choose. God is Holy. May our worship, leading, teaching etc. be a pleasing aroma to our Holy God.

Father God, thank You that You are both Holy and Just. Lord God, help us to not take You for granted. Help us to not fear You but to revere You. Lord God make us sensitive to how to approach You in this season in life. For the one who is hurting, may they be honest with You about their feelings and experiences. For those who are joyful, may the bring their praises before You. For the one who is doubting, may they allow You to speak to their doubts. Lord God, thank You that life in Christ is NOT cookie-cutter (even though that is what it seems like we want sometimes). Thank You that You know each one of us personally. Lord God, for those who are starting to backslide in their faith because of not meeting in a Church building, I ask that You will send someone to encourage that person and to point their gaze and focus back on Jesus and Your Word today.  Thank You Lord for this reader. Amen.



Published by

Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

36 thoughts on “Nadab and Abihu”

  1. On Tue, May 5, 2020 at 9:57 AM Blue Collar Theologian wrote:

    > Blue Collar Theologian posted: ” I love studying Leviticus. I can > understand why Leviticus was the first book studied by Jewish children. I > grieve that Leviticus is most likely the least read book by the Church. > How can I have any understanding of Hebrews or what Jesus means when He s” >


  2. First of all, thank you for the advice and caveat, Mandy; what we do should be pleasing to GOD. Outright disobedience, feeling wiser than GOD, and being impatient–doing the shortcut method instead of trusting GOD to provide the fire, led to a disaster. Imagine, if we were all still under the Law, there will be an instantaneous punishment due to sin. This made me appreciate GOD the FATHER’s grace in JESUS CHRIST alone more, Mandy. We sinned, we repent, we’re forgiven, we live in faith in Christ, we die, we’re resurrected, and we will be with GOD, all because of GOD’s mercy/grace through faith in JESUS CHRIST. Thank you for your post. I like the sequencing of the narrative of Nadab and Abihu (I initially thought they were characters from Aladdin, I only know of Gershom and Eliezer (“,)). I showed a screen shot of your article to a close friend, named Aaron via messenger, few minutes ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Kent! Thank you for taking the time to read, comment and share, I appreciate you SO much! The more I learn, the more I am thankful and appreciative of what Jesus has done for us! Are you still on lockdown or are things starting to open in your area?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are still in a Enhanced Community Quarantine aka lockdown, here in Metro Manila, Mandy, until maybe May 15. It is hard to guess if the government will partially open malls and businesses in the capital and if that is advisable at all; taking into consideration the possible spike. It is all in the Triune GOD’s divine will as He is in control.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mandy, thanks for this good post and prayer! There are many these days who proclaim that we can come to God any old way, including by our own merits, but the narrow way of salvation is by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. A born-again believer can cry out to God as Abba Father, but we must still reverence our Holy God!
    I really appreciated reading Leviticus (and Numbers and Deuteronomy) when I took my time and used a Bible dictionary and a one-volume Bible commentary. Insights from faithful teachers can help open up these books. Within the daunting ceremonialism, ritualism, and legalism is the “red thread” of the Savior Jesus Christ and the Gospel of grace.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Tom! Ray Stedman’s On the Way to Wholeness is what really opened my eyes to the significance of Leviticus. I agree with using Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries and other form of references to help understand passages. I am fascinated by purity as a way of life in Israel and the ANE at large. I am thankful for you Tom!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “How can I have any understanding of Hebrews or what Jesus means when He says that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt 5:17) if I do not know the Law (and the Prophets)?” Indeed! A lot of evangelical Christians are woefully ignorant of the Old Testament. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) Without an awareness of how badly we’ve broken the Law, we can’t fully appreciate the sacrifice Jesus paid to fulfill it and save us.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We are in Kentucky (I grew up in St. Louis, MO.) Things are still shut down for the most part, but the plan is to open gradually soon. The first “back-to-normal” thing I’m going to do is get my shaggy dog groomed. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Please forgive me, I am SO sorry for getting your locale wrong!! It’s funny I have gotten my puppy groomed twice since this shutdown started and only God knows when I will be able to get my haircut or go to the DMV here in PA! I am so thankful for you and I am sorry again about your locale!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. All is well. I’m up in North Carolina right now. We had to shut down our programs at the Christian Training Center. Fortunately, we could move some of them online and God has blessed us greatly. I head back down to GA on Sunday.


        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, Mandy, you know what they say about “good intentions”. Too often, we tend to “overdo” within our worship, adding more to it that is unnecessary. Because worship is so personal, I must cling to the standard He said pleases Him. Each of us are responsible in that area. Good study, dear Mandy. God’s grip – Alan

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Doing okay. Still saying inside as much as possible. Gotta go to the DMV to renew my DL, which means standing around lots of people in line. Arg. I’ll have my mask & gloves, but makes me feel way uneasy. You guys stay healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What a refreshing change to see someone write about the treasures that can be found in books such as Leviticus. I found this very interesting and a blessing to me. Thank you, God Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Alan!!! Thank you SO much for reading and for your encouragement! I have the same mentality as you, God never teaches me anything to keep it to myself! I am glad God has led us to journey together! If I may ask, are you a Rangers F.C. supporter?!


      1. I am most definitely NOT a Rangers F.C. supporter for reasons that I will not go into here. Do not worry, you haven’t offended me haha! I do like football and rugby, but due to health issues I can’t attend such events usually. But praise God, that gives me more time in His Word. Time spent in His company is the best investment anyone can make. He is so Good to us…all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Answering your question on my blog: we are doing well as a family! About to teach our Bible study based upon my outline this morning on prayer…in about 6 minutes! Thanks for asking!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I, too, appreciated this lesson from Leviticus; I’d forgotten about Nadab and Abihu. Loved your observation that life in Christ is NOT cookie-cutter. That’s another blessing of belonging to God’s family: He sees us and treats us as individuals–always fairly, always consistently. Thank you for another thought-provoking post, Mandy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Nancy!! Thank you for taking the time to read and respond, I really appreciate it!! I am so thankful that God deals with us fairly and consistently! I crave stability and consistency and that is only found in Christ!! Love and blessings!!


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