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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the son of Aaron, the high priest, was consumed, together with his brother Nadab, by fire sent front God, because he had offered incense with strange fire, instead of taking it from the altar, Leviticus 10:1-2 . This calamity happened A.M. 2514; within eight days after the consecration of Aaron and his sons. Some commentators believe that this fire proceeded from the altar of burnt-offerings; others, that it came from the altar of incense. Several interpreters, as the Rabbins, Lyra, Cajetan, and others, are of opinion, that Nadab and Abihu were overtaken with wine, and so forgot to take the sacred fire in their censers. This conjecture is founded on the command of God delivered immediately afterward to the priests, forbidding them the use of wine during the time they should be employed in the service of the temple. Another class allege, that there was nothing so heinous in their transgression, but it was awfully punished, to teach ministers fidelity and exactness in discharging their office. It had a vastly more important meaning,—this instance of vengeance is a standing example of that divine wrath which shall consume all who pretend to serve God, except with incense kindled from the one altar and offering by which he for ever perfects them that are sanctified.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Abihu'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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