Leviticus 10:2
And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And there went out fire from the Lord.—By fire they sinned, and by fire they died. The Divine fire which issued forth to consume the sacrifices as a token of acceptance, now descended as the avenger of sin to consume the sacrificers, just as the same gospel is to one a savour of life unto life, and to another a savour of death unto death. (2Corinthians 2:16.)

And devoured them.—That is, slay them, since we are told in Leviticus 10:5 that not only were their bodies in a perfect state of preservation, but even their garments were not burnt. The word consume, however, is used here to keep up the connection between this verse and chap 9:24.

They died before the Lord.—That is, in the court of the sanctuary (see Leviticus 10:1), on the very spot where the sin was committed.

Leviticus 10:2. And there went out a fire from the Lord — From heaven, or rather, from the sanctuary; and devoured them — Not reduced them to ashes, as the word signifies at the end of the former chapter, but struck them dead in a moment, their bodies and garments remaining entire. Thus the sword is said to devour, 2 Samuel 2:26. Thus lightning often kills persons without injuring their garments. To take off from our surprise at this great severity, let it be considered, that the wisest legislators have always judged it necessary to inflict a heavy punishment upon the first transgressors of a law, especially in cases of great moment, in order to deter others from the like offence, Had this first irregularity been connived at in the inferior priests, it might have imboldened them, and much more the high-priests, to introduce further and more important innovations, to the total subversion of the order God had appointed. Thus Ananias and Sapphira, presuming to lie against the Holy Ghost, were punished in a way very similar, when the gospel law had been confirmed by the descent of a different fire from heaven.10:1,2 Next to Moses and Aaron, none were more likely to be honourable in Israel than Nadab and Abihu. There is reason to think that they were puffed up with pride, and that they were heated with wine. While the people were prostrate before the Lord, adoring his presence and glory, they rushed into the tabernacle to burn incense, though not at the appointed time; both together, instead of one alone, and with fire not taken from the altar. If it had been done through ignorance, they had been allowed to bring a sin-offering. But the soul that doeth presumptuously, and in contempt of God's majesty and justice, that soul shall be cut off. The wages of sin is death. They died in the very act of their sin. The sin and punishment of these priests showed the imperfection of that priesthood from the very beginning, and that it could not shelter any from the fire of God's wrath, otherwise than as it was typical of Christ's priesthood.The fire which had just before sanctified the ministry of Aaron as well pleasing to God, now brought to destruction his two eldest sons because they did not sanctify Yahweh in their hearts, but dared to perform a self-willed act of worship; just as the same Gospel is to one a savor of life unto life, and to another a savor of death unto death 2 Corinthians 2:16. 2. there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them—rather, "killed them"; for it appears (Le 10:5) that neither their bodies nor their robes were consumed. The expression, "from the Lord," indicates that this fire issued from the most holy place. In the destruction of these two young priests by the infliction of an awful judgment, the wisdom of God observed the same course, in repressing the first instance of contempt for sacred things, as he did at the commencement of the Christian dispensation (Ac 5:1-11). From the Lord; from heaven, or rather from the sanctuary. See Leviticus 9:24.

Devoured them; destroyed their lives; for their bodies and garments were not consumed, as it appears from Leviticus 10:4,5. Thus the sword is said to devour, 2 Samuel 2:26. Thus lightning many times kills persons, without any hurt to their bodies or garments. And there went out fire from the Lord,.... They sinned by fire, and they were punished by fire, either from heaven, or from the most holy place, where the Lord dwelt between the cherubim; this was of the nature of lightning, as appears by what follows:

and devoured them; not reduced them to ashes, for neither their bodies nor their clothes were burnt with this fire, as is clear from Leviticus 10:4 but their lives were destroyed, they were lifeless, their souls were separated from their bodies by it, and they died; which is often the case by the lightning, that the clothes of those who are killed with it are untouched, and scarce any marks of violence on their bodies; and so the Targum of Jonathan says of these, their bodies were not burnt:

and they died before the Lord; upon the spot where they were offering incense, in the holy place, over against the most holy place. This was very awful, like the case of Ananias and Sapphira, and may seem severe: it was for the terror of others in the priesthood, or who should come after, to take care that they performed their office according to the divine precepts, and brought in no innovation into their service. And when it is considered that these were the sons of the high priest, newly invested with an high and honourable office, and just had the laws of the priesthood delivered unto them, and yet deviated from them as soon as in their office, and very probably, from what follows, went drunk into their service, their sin will appear aggravated, and the punishment less severe. This shows there is nothing in carnal descent, these were the sons of Aaron the high priest, that acted this part, and came to this end; the proneness of men to transgress the laws of God as soon as given them; thus the people of Israel fell into idolatry as soon as the moral law was given; and here the priests, as soon as the ceremonial laws, relating to the priesthood, were delivered to them; and also that the law made sinful men priests, and that the Levitical priesthood was imperfect; and that no order of men are free from sin, or exempt from punishment: and the whole of the divine conduct in this affair may lead us to observe how jealous God is in matters of worship; how much he dislikes hypocrites, and formal professors; how severe he will be against such who bring in strange doctrines; what will be the fate of the contemners of Gospel doctrines and ordinances; and how much he resents those who trust in themselves, and their works, and bring in anything of their own in the business of salvation, which is strange fire, sparks of their own kindling, a burning incense to their own drag, and sacrificing to their own net.

And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 2. - And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured. These are the exact words used in Leviticus 9:24 of the fire that consumed the sacrifices. The fire was the same; its source was the same; its effect was the same, and yet how different! They died before the Lord; that is, they were struck dead at the door of the tabernacle. Of the sacrifices of the nation, Aaron presented the sin-offering in the same manner as the first, i.e., the one offered for himself (Leviticus 9:8.). The blood of this sin-offering, which was presented for the congregation, was not brought into the holy place according to the rule laid down in Leviticus 7:16., but only applied to the horns of the altar of burnt-offering; for the same reason as in the previous case (Leviticus 9:8.), viz., because the object was not to expiate any particular sin, or the sins of the congregation that had been committed in the course of time and remained unatoned for, but simply to place the sacrificial service of the congregation in its proper relation to the Lord. Aaron was reproved by Moses, however, for having burned the flesh (Leviticus 10:16.), but was able to justify it (see at Leviticus 10:16-20). The sin-offering (Leviticus 9:16) was also offered "according to the right" (as in Leviticus 5:10). Then followed the meat-offering (Leviticus 9:17), of which Aaron burned a handful upon the altar (according to the rule in Leviticus 2:1-2). He offered this in addition to the morning burnt-offering (Exodus 29:39), to which a meat-offering also belonged (Exodus 29:40), and with which, according to Leviticus 6:12., the special meat-offering of the priests was associated. Last of all (Leviticus 9:18-21) there followed the peace-offering, which was also carried out according to the general rule. In המכסּה, "the covering" (Leviticus 9:19), the two fat portions mentioned in Leviticus 3:3 are included. The fat portions were laid upon the breast-pieces by the sons of Aaron, and then handed by them to Aaron, the fat to be burned upon the altar, the breast to be waved along with the right leg, according to the instructions in Leviticus 7:30-36. The meat-offering of pastry, which belonged to the peace-offering according to Leviticus 7:12-13, is not specially mentioned.
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