Leviticus 10-12: Nadab and Abihu, food laws and purification after childbirth.

July 6, 2015.

Daily Reading: Leviticus 10-12.

Background: Leviticus 7-9.

Concepts and Connections.

Chapter 10

Nadab and Abihu: Here we have the well known story of the death of Nadab and Abihu for their transgression of the commandment of the Lord. Nadab and Abihu were sons of Aaron, and as Aaron’s sons, they were just consecrated to offer offering before the Lord (see chapters 8-9). However, here we find that Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which was a violation of a direct command when the laws for offerings were given to Moses (see Exodus 30:9). For this transgression, fire came out from the altar and consumed them, killing them. Their relatives were told to come take their bodies away, but Aaron and his sons were told to not mourn, but rather stay in the tent of meeting since they still had anointing oil on them. Note the responsibility that is placed on the leadership in this chapter. Nadab and Abihu were immediately consumed when they offered unauthorized fire, and the Lord makes the statement that He will be sanctified among those who are near Him, seeming to imply the priests. Moreover, Aaron and his sons are told not to mourn the death of Nadab and Abihu, for they had other responsibilities for the people. They were not to drink strong drink before they entered the tent of meeting, distinguish between clean and unclean, and teach the people the statutes of Moses throughout their generations. And thus they continued their ministry before the Lord with a grain offering and a wave offering, and further told what was to be theirs to eat for their service. In the end, Aaron makes a good judgment call not to eat the sin offering, as he had just lost two sons and knew he could not eat it with joy, as he should (see Deuteronomy 12:7, 26:14).

Chapter 11

Levitical food laws- clean vs. unclean: This chapter lays out the laws concerning clean and unclean animals that the children of Israel were either allowed to eat or not allowed to eat, respectively. Of the land animals, the children of Israel were able to eat anything that parts the hoof and is cloven footed and also chews the cud (think about a cow to get a good idea of what chewing the cud means). Both of these requirements had to be met in order for the animal to be clean, and some examples are given afterwards. Of the sea animals, the animals had to have both fins and scales in order for it to be clean. If one of the requirements was missing, it was considered unclean. There are several birds that are listed that are unclean, but they all fit into the category of birds of prey or scavengers. All winged insects that walk on all fours were unclean with the exception of those who had jointed legs such as the grasshopper and locust (see Matthew 3:4 and Mark 1:6 for an application of this). All swarming things and animals that went on all four paws were unclean, and if anyone touched a dead carcass of one of these animals would be unclean until the evening. Though it may be hard for us to think about having food laws, many if not all of these laws were put into place in order to protect the children of Israel from the many diseases and poisons that the unclean animals carry with them, especially on dead carcasses. It was also to sanctify and set apart His people and to make them holy, as He is holy. There was a delineation between clean and unclean, between holy and common, between things that were protective and things that could cause harm. Imitating the holiness of the Lord is a concept that is brought out again in the New Testament (see I Peter 1:16 and I Thessalonians 4:7).

Chapter 12

Purification after child birth: This chapter records the laws for a woman’s purification after she gives birth. If she births a male child, she is to be unclean for seven days due to the flow of blood (just like in the days of her menstruation, see Leviticus 15:19), and on the eight day the child was to be circumcised. Then she was to continue in her days of purification for 33 more days, which meant she couldn’t touch anything holy or go into the sanctuary. If she bore a female child, she was to be unclean for double the amount of time, 14 days and then 66 days to continue in the days of her purification. After her days of purification were over, she was to bring a lamb a year old as a burnt offering and a pigeon or turtle dove as a sin offering. If she could not afford a lamb, she was to bring two pigeons or turtledoves, one for the burnt offering and one for the sin offering. After the priest offered the sacrifice she brought to him, atonement would be made and she would be clean.

Tomorrow’s Reading: II Kings 1-5.

The Lord guide you.


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