What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
Aaron the Priest
Leviticus x: 1, to
after the Tabernacle was set up in the middle of the
camp of Israel, and the priests began the daily
service of worship, a sad event took place, which
gave great sorrow to Aaron the priest, to his
family, and to all the people. The two older sons of
Aaron, whose names were Nadab and Abihu, were one
day in the Holy Place. It was a part of their work
to take in a censer some burning coals from the
great altar of burnt-offering in front of the
Tabernacle, and with these coals to light the fire
in the small golden altar of incense, which stood
inside the Holy Place, near the vail.
These young men had been drinking wine, and their
heads were not clear. They did not think of what
they were doing; and instead of taking the fire from
the altar of burnt-offering, they took some other
fire, and with this went into the Holy Place to burn
the incense upon the golden altar. God was angry
with these young men for coming into his holy house
in a drunken state, and for doing what he had
forbidden them to do; for no fire except that from
the great altar was allowed in the Holy Place.
While they were standing by the golden altar, fire
came out from it, and they both fell down dead in
the Holy Place. And when Moses heard of it, he said:
"This is the sign that God's house is holy, and that
God's worship is holy; and God will make people to
fear him, because he is holy." And Moses would not
allow Aaron, the father of these two men, to touch
their dead bodies. He said, "You have on the robes
of the high-priest, and you are leading in the
service of worship. God's work must go on, and must
not stop for your trouble, great as it is."
Then Aaron stood by the altar, and offered the
sacrifice, though his heart was very sad. And the
cousins of Aaron, by the command of Moses, went into
the Holy Place and carried out the dead bodies of
the two young men, dressed as they were in their
priests' robes. And they buried these men outside
the camp, in the desert.
And Moses said:
"After this, let no priest drink wine or strong
drink before he enters the Tabernacle. Be sober,
when you are leading the worship of the people, so
that you will know the difference between the things
that are holy and those that are common; and so that
you may teach the people all the laws which the Lord
has given them."
The rule that Moses gave to the priests to be kept
when they were leading the worship of the people,
not to drink wine or strong drink, is a good rule
for every one to keep, not only when worshipping
God, but at all times.
Besides these two sons of Aaron who had died, there
were two other sons, named Eleazar and Ithamar.
These young men took their older brothers' places in
the services of the Tabernacle; and they were very
careful to do exactly as the Lord had bidden them.
Aaron the Priest