June 29, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Leviticus 10-12
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Context: The Lord gave very specific instructions on what the priests were to do, how they were to do it, and when they were to do it. Two priests, Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron failed to follow these instructions. Although the Bible is not clear on exactly what they did that was incorrect, it was unauthorized by the Lord and they were killed for their arrogance. Notice, Aaron does not cry out or mourn publicly for his sons; he honors the Lord. Further instructions follow the actions of Nadab and Abihu: priests are not to drink alcohol while serving the Lord. Alcohol, then and now, impairs the senses and our judgment. A clear head is needed to serve the Lord. Chapters 11 and 12 contain God's instructions for the Israelite diet and cleanliness. Through teaching His children about cleanliness, God was also teaching them about holiness.
World History: The restrictions and details for the Israelites diet may seem extensive, but God had a reason. Modern scientists and scholars have shown that the restrictions the Israelites followed saved them from many deadly diseases. When Europe was suffering from the plague, Jews were so untouched by the disease that some accused them of causing it! God's hygienic laws provided the same benefits.