|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:8-11 Do not drink wine or strong drink. During the time they ministered, the priests were forbidden it. It is required of gospel ministers, that they be not given to wine, 1Ti 3:3. It is, Lest ye die; die when ye are in drink. The danger of death, to which we are continually exposed, should engage all to be sober.
Verse 10. - Wine and other intoxicating liquors (שֵׁכר, whence the Greek word σίκερα, Luke 1:13, was made from dates, or barley, or honey) are forbidden to the priests during their ministrations, that they may pat a difference between holy and unholy; that is, that their minds may not be confused, but be capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, what ought and what ought not to be done. Nadab and Abihu, on the contrary, had not distinguished between the sacred and profane fire, or between God's commands and their own unregulated impulses. If they had partaken too freely of the wine provided for the drink offerings, their sin would be similar to that of the Corinthians in their abuse of the Lord's Supper. As to the use of wine by the minister of God under the New Testament, see 1 Timothy 3:2, 8; 1 Timothy 5:23. The spiritual emotion, which, in the service of God, shows itself in pouring out the feelings in "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," is contrasted, in Ephesians 5:18, 19, with the physical excitement caused by wine, the former being commended and the latter forbidden.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy,.... That being sober they might be able to distinguish between the one and the other; which a drunken man, having his mind and senses disturbed, is not capable of; as between holy and unholy persons, and between holy and unholy things; particularly, as Aben Ezra interprets it, between a sacred place and one that is common, and between a holy day and a common week day; the knowledge and memory of which may be lost through intemperance; and so that may be done in a place and on a day which ought not to be done, or that omitted on a day and in a place which ought to be done:
and between unclean and clean; between unclean men and women, beasts and fowls, and clean ones; and between unclean things in a ceremonial sense, and those that are clean, which a man in liquor may be no judge of: hence, as the above writer observes, after this section follow laws concerning fowls clean and unclean, the purification of a woman after childbirth, the leprosy in men, garments and houses, and concerning profluvious and menstruous persons; all which the priests were to be judges of, and therefore ought to be sober.
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