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Leviticus 10 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

God Destroys Nadab and Abihu

10 Then Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu made a mistake. They took their incense dishes and put some fire and incense in them. But they did not use the fire that was on the altar—they took fire from some other place and brought it to the Lord. This was not what he had commanded. So fire came from the Lord and destroyed Nadab and Abihu, and they died there in front of the Lord.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “The Lord says, ‘The priests who come near me must respect me. I must be holy to them and to all the people.’” So Aaron did not say anything about his sons dying.

Aaron’s uncle Uzziel had two sons. They were Mishael and Elzaphan. Moses said to these sons, “Come here and get your cousins’ bodies and carry them away from this holy place and take them outside the camp.”

So Mishael and Elzaphan obeyed Moses. They carried the bodies of Nadab and Abihu outside the camp. Nadab and Abihu were still wearing their special woven shirts.

Then Moses spoke to Aaron and his other sons Eleazar and Ithamar. He said, “Don’t show any sadness! Don’t tear your clothes or mess up your hair![a] If you do anything to show your sadness, you will be killed, and the Lord will show his anger against everyone. But let all the other people of Israel, your relatives, cry for those the Lord destroyed with fire. But you must not even leave the entrance of the Meeting Tent. If you leave, you will die because the Lord’s anointing oil is on you.” So Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithamar obeyed Moses.

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons must not drink wine or beer when you come into the Meeting Tent. If you do, you will die. This law continues forever through your generations. 10 You must be able to clearly tell the difference between what is holy and what is not holy, between what is clean and what is unclean. 11 And you must teach the people about all the laws that the Lord gave them through Moses.”

12 Aaron had two sons who were still alive, Eleazar and Ithamar. Moses said to Aaron and his two sons, “When people give sacrifices as a gift to the Lord, some of the grain offering is not burned. Use that grain to make bread without yeast. You priests must eat that bread near the altar because that grain is very holy. 13 The portion of food for you and your sons will come from the special gifts to the Lord, so you must eat that food in a holy place.

14 “You, your sons, and your daughters may all eat the breast and thigh that were lifted up before the Lord as an offering. But you must eat these in a place that is clean because they come from the fellowship offerings. They are your share of those offerings that the Israelites give to God. 15 The people must bring the gifts of fat from their animals as part of the sacrifice. They must also bring the thigh of the fellowship offering and the breast that is lifted up to show it is offered in front of the Lord. Then it will be your share of the offering. It will belong to you and your children. That part of the sacrifices will be your share forever, just as the Lord said.”

16 Moses looked for the goat of the sin offering, but it was already burned up. Moses became very angry with Aaron’s other sons Eleazar and Ithamar. Moses said, 17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the holy area! That meat is very holy! God gave it to you to carry away the guilt of the people—to make the people pure before the Lord. 18 That goat’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place. So you should have eaten the meat in the holy area, just as I commanded!”

19 But Aaron said to Moses, “Look, today they brought their sin offering and burnt offering before the Lord. But you know what happened to me today! Do you think the Lord would be happy if I ate the sin offering today?”

20 When Moses heard this, he agreed.


  1. Leviticus 10:6 tear … hair Torn clothes and messed up hair showed that a person was mourning (see “mourn” in the Word List) for a dead person.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Leviticus 10 New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Nadab and Abihu

10 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:

“‘Among those who approach me
    I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
    I will be honored.’”

Aaron remained silent.

Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary. So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.

Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt[a] and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire. Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting or you will die, because the Lord’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did as Moses said.

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.

12 Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering left over from the food offerings prepared without yeast and presented to the Lord and eat it beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 Eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the food offerings presented to the Lord; for so I have been commanded. 14 But you and your sons and your daughters may eat the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. Eat them in a ceremonially clean place; they have been given to you and your children as your share of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. 15 The thigh that was presented and the breast that was waved must be brought with the fat portions of the food offerings, to be waved before the Lord as a wave offering. This will be the perpetual share for you and your children, as the Lord has commanded.”

16 When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering[b] and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the Lord. 18 Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.

19 Aaron replied to Moses, “Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?” 20 When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.


  1. Leviticus 10:6 Or Do not uncover your heads
  2. Leviticus 10:16 Or purification offering; also in verses 17 and 19
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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