Leviticus 16:1, How the Sons of Aaron Died

The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD and died.

//This verse harks back to chapter ten, verse 1, where it explains that the two sons of Aaron—Nadab and Abihu—prepared the incense burner incorrectly (perhaps adding the wrong ingredients) and God killed them. “There went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them.” This appears to shake the faith of Aaron, and indeed, nothing about the incident is treated as out of the ordinary … as if such deaths were a common event.

Perhaps they were. Six chapters later when this incident is recalled, there is no mention of improperly preparing the incense. Instead, the explanation for their deaths is very simple, the way it is described in the original Hebrew: they just got too close to God. One is reminded of the story of Uzza, as the ark of the covenant was being transported by oxen. The animals stumbled, and Uzza reached out to steady the ark, and the Lord “struck him down.” Was Uzza doing something wrong, or did he simply get too close to God?

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