Strange Fire

July 3, 2008 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

Reading the story of Nadab and Abihu in Lev. 10 this morning (Nadab and Abihu being the two priestly sons of Aaron who offered “strange fire” before the Lord and perished because of it, I noticed two things:

1. The particular wording in the account of what happened to Nadab and Abihu is this: “And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them” (10:2). Not sure of the significance of this, but that is the same wording (in Hebrew) used just two verses earlier to describe what happened when the priests offered sacrifices to the Lord and God accepted them. There also, it is said that “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed” the sacrifices” (9:24).

2. The writer states that the fire of the Lord “consumed” Nadab and Abihu, yet two verses later, Moses tells family members to “‘come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp.’ So they came forward and carried thm still in their tunics…” (vs. 4-5). The fire “consumed,” yet it did not burn up the men’s bodies, or even their tunics? (Contrast with the burning bush, which burned with fire yet was not “consumed” (Ex. 3:2).)

Strange fire, indeed.


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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

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