Leviticus 10:1-20

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10:1 VA YIK'CHU VENEY AHARON NADAV VA AVI-HU ISH MACHTATO VA YITNU VAHEN ESH VA YASIYMU ALEYHA KETORET VA YAKRIYVU LIPHNEY YHVH ESH ZARAH ASHER LO TSIVAH OTAM

וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֵשׁ זָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה אֹתָם

KJ: And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

BN: Then both Nadav and Avi-Hu, the sons of Aharon, took his censer, and filled it with fire, and laid incense on it, and offered strange fire before YHVH, which he had not instructed them to do.

VENEY AHARON: Numbers 3:2-4 tells us that "These then are the names of the sons of Aharon: Nadav the firstborn, and Avi-HuEl-Azar and Iytamar (see my notes to Exodus 28:1 ff). These are the names of the sons of Aharon, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to serve as priests. But Nadav and Avi-Hu died before YHVH when they offered strange fire before YHVH in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So El-Azar and Iytamar served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aharon.…"

What does one have to do to make "strange fire"; surely fire is fire is fire? If ever you have sat around a campfire and watched what happens when someone throws a pine cone or a stick of damp wood onto the embers, or perhaps some wildflowers or a lichen-covered branch - each will flare up in a very different way, often in a very different colour, depending on the type of gas released in the process. The ordinances are very precise about which KETOROT, which herbs and spices, make up the incense; so it would have been a very amusing game for Nadav and Avi-Hu to see what happened if they used different herbs and spices, different types of twig and branch. But how exactly did they die?



10:2 VA TETS'E ESH MI LIPHNEY YHVH VA TO'CHAL OTAM VA YAMUTU LIPHNEY YHVH

וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה

KJ: And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

BN: And fire burst forth from before YHVH, and devoured them, and they died before YHVH.

Two possible answers to my last question:


a) Super-combustion? Exodus 3 describes a similar experience befalling Mosheh, though in his case the bush was already combusting before he approached it. In fact, such an event can happen very easily. When any substance with a relatively low ignition temperature, but which is also a good thermal insulator (hay, straw and peat for example), begins to release heat, oxidation by even the smallest amount of moisture in the air, and/or bacterial fermentation that has already taken place, will generate heat but leave the heat trapped until the temperature reaches breaking-point and the gases simply explode. It doesn't take much imagination to envisage Nadav and Avi-Hu simply bringing some dried-out cattle dung (dung is simply proscribed, so it might have been experimental or rebellious or both), perhaps with some pieces of digested hay or straw or other flammable substance (dry fruit) and BOOM!!!

b) Lava from the volcano, which need not have any physical connection with the "strange fire" they were making 

However, see my note to Leviticus 16:1.


10:3 VA YOMER MOSHEH EL AHARON HU ASHER DIBER YHVH LEMOR BIK'ROVAI EKADESH VE AL PENEY CHOL HA AM EKAVED VA YIDOM AHARON


וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל אַהֲרֹן הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה לֵאמֹר בִּקְרֹבַי אֶקָּדֵשׁ וְעַל פְּנֵי כָל הָעָם אֶכָּבֵד וַיִּדֹּם אַהֲרֹן


KJ: Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

BN: Then Mosheh said to Aharon: "This is what YHVH told us, when he said: 'Through them that are near me I will be set apart as holy, and before all the people I will be glorified.'" And Aharon held his peace.


The voice of the fanatic, devoid of compassion. Two of Aharon's sons just died, and all Mosheh can say is - not quite "serves them right", but pretty close to it. "They disobeyed YHVH".

But theologically the verse is crucially important, and wilfully overlooked by every faith practitioner, for this is the manifestation of that most difficult of all Judaic concepts, known as "justifying the judgement". TheBibleNet does not exist to explain or instruct faith, but sometimes it needs to touch on it in order to clarify the text. So, in this instance. What Mosheh is saying is:

a) You say that you believe in the deity completely, totally and utterly, complete faith, absolute trust

b) Almighty, all-knowing and always-right YHVH has taken the lives of two of your children, and would not have done so without good reason (and in this instance, we have the reason)

c) Praise the deity for taking your child; you have no cause to moan, complain or even grieve. Justify the judgement in your heart and soul.

Tough love!10:4 VA YIKRA MOSHEH EL MISHA-EL VE EL EL-TSAPHAN BENEY UZI-EL DOD AHARON VA YOMER AL'EHEM KIRVU SE'U ET ACHEYCHEM ME ET PENEY HA KODESH EL MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH

וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה אֶל מִישָׁאֵל וְאֶל אֶלְצָפָן בְּנֵי עֻזִּיאֵל דֹּד אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם קִרְבוּ שְׂאוּ אֶת אֲחֵיכֶם מֵאֵת פְּנֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה

KJ: And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.

BN: And Mosheh called Misha-El and El-Tsaphan, the sons of Uzi-El the uncle of Aharon, and said to them: "Come here and carry your kinsmen out of the sanctuary, and out of the camp."



I find myself wondering, on this and many other occasions, whether Mosheh and Aharon really were brothers, or perhaps only half-brothers, or maybe, with Mir-Yam the same, made as-if siblings by the need to absorb the mythological trinity of HorusOsher (Osiris) and Isis into these three pseudo-historical figures? In this instance, because the statement that Uzi-El was Aharon's uncle is very odd; if they were brothers, then he was Mosheh's uncle too; in which case, why would the text say it in this way?


MISHA-EL: The structure of the word makes me wonder if this is not in fact Mi-Sha'el, which would make him "from the Underworld" - or really MI SHE'OL; and there would b a primitive mythological logic to this in the context: the name would not in fact be his name at all, but his "profession". If that were the case, then logically El-Tsaphan's name would do something similar.


EL-TSAPHAN: Gesenius thinks this should be ELI-TSAPHAN, and defines him as "whom El protects", he also appears in Exodus 6:22 and Numbers 3:30 and 34:25. The Prophet Zephaniah is Tsephan-Yah (צְפַנְיָהin Yehudit, from the same root, as is Yoseph's Egyptian name, Tsaphnat Paneyach; this latter is probably the source of a secondary meaning of TSAPHAN, found inter alia in Psalm 17:3, 31:20, Job 20:26 = "to store up" or "to lay up", this having been Yoseph's principal economic strategy as vizier in Mitsrayim. Could this also contain the sense of "undertaker"?


10:5 VA YIKREVU VA YISA'UM BE CHUTANOTAM EL MI CHUTS LA MACHANEH KA ASHER DIBER MOSHEH

וַיִּקְרְבוּ וַיִּשָּׂאֻם בְּכֻתֳּנֹתָם אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה


KJ: So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.

BN: So they drew near, and carried them in their tunics out of the camp, as Mosheh had said.


BE CHUTANOTAM: How are their remains to be disposed of? They are deemed to have died as a divine punishment for sin, but there is no law that prohibits burial, even for a sinner. However - what is there to bury? They have been burned to death, but not completely, because there is still evidence of tunic. If they were burned in their entirety, they would become KURBAN, which would be a huge problem, because KURBAN is only permissible for an unblemished sacrificial beast, humans not included, sinners or otherwise - the reason why Judaism does not officially allow cremation (officially, because there are Jewish crematoria).

DIBER MOSHEH: As opposed to TSIVA MOSHEH. Because this is a secular rather than a religious instruction?


10:6 VA YOMER MOSHEH EL AHARON U LE EL-AZAR U LE IY-TAMAR BANAV RA'SHEYCHEM AL TIPHRA'U U VIGDEYCHEM LO TIPHROMU VE LO TAMUTU VE AL KOL HA EDAH YIKTSOPH VE ACHEYCHEM KOL BEIT YISRA-EL YIVKU ET HA SEREPHAH ASHER SARAPH YHVH

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל אַהֲרֹן וּלְאֶלְעָזָר וּלְאִיתָמָר בָּנָיו רָאשֵׁיכֶם אַל תִּפְרָעוּ וּבִגְדֵיכֶם לֹא תִפְרֹמוּ וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ וְעַל כָּל הָעֵדָה יִקְצֹף וַאֲחֵיכֶם כָּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל יִבְכּוּ אֶת הַשְּׂרֵפָה אֲשֶׁר שָׂרַף יְהוָה


KJ: And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.

BN: Then Mosheh said to Aharon, and to El-Azar and Iytamar his sons: "Do not allow the hair of your heads to go loose, and do not tear your clothes, so that you do not die, and so that he will not be angry with all the congregation; but let your brethren, the whole house of Yisra-El, mourn the fire which YHVH has kindled...


So Mosheh has a problem, exacerbated by it being his own nephews, and by their being Kohanim, and by their being leaders. What is to be done with the bodies? Law by precedent, and himself to establish the precedent. And he decides: they are not even allowed to mourn; though at least he allows the rest of the people to mourn on their behalf; though officially they are mourning the fire, not the men who caused it.

ASHER SARAPH YHVH: At verse 2 we looked at two options for "who made the fire", the two men or YHVH? The verse about the two making "strange fire" appeared to infer that it was answer a). What we learn from this is the depth of the connection between the burning bush earlier, the volcanic mountain now, the mushroom-cloud which is believed to be leprosy later, and the pillar of cloud and fire which they will follow; and even now, the eternalisation of all these beyond passing history: the eternal fire that burns on the altar of sacrifice. YHVH may not be depicted in wood or stone; he doesn't need to be, YHVH is the fire.


10:7 U MI PETACH OHEL MO'ED LO TETS'U PEN TAMUTU KI SHEMEN MISHCHAT YHVH ALEYCHEM VA YA'ASU KIDVAR MOSHEH

וּמִפֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא תֵצְאוּ פֶּן תָּמֻתוּ כִּי שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה


KJ: And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.

BN: "And you shall not step outside the entrance to the tent of meeting, in case you die; for the anointing oil of YHVH is upon you." And they did according to the word of Mosheh.


PETACH: As noted previously, tents do not generally have doors, but a part of the material is left as a flap, which can be lifted when you enter and exit.

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10:8 VA YEDABER YHVH EL AHARON LEMOR

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר

KJ: And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying,

BN: Then YHVH spoke to Aharon, saying:


Do any of the Rabbinic commentators have an explanation of why YHVH sometimes speaks directly to Aharon, but mostly sends his instructions via Mosheh? Are there specifics that can be identified?


10:9 YAYIN VE SHECHAR AL TESHT ATAH U VANEYCHA ITACH BE VO'ACHEM EL OHEL MO'ED VE LO TAMUTU CHUKAT OLAM LE DOROTEYCHEM

יַיִן וְשֵׁכָר אַל תֵּשְׁתְּ אַתָּה וּבָנֶיךָ אִתָּךְ בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם


KJ: Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

BN: Drink no wine nor strong drink, neither you, nor your sons who are with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, so that you do not die; this is an eternal statute, throughout your generations.


The threat of death is problematic for us today. It infers again what happened to Nadav and Avi-Hu, that people die because of sin, that illness and disease are a consequence of sin, rather than of viruses, bacteria, old age et cetera. Or is the intention that a priest found tippling on duty will face the death penalty? Stoned for being stoned!


10:10 U LEHAVDIL BEYN HA KODESH U VEYN HA CHOL U VEYN HA TAM'E U VEYN HA TAHOR

וּלְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַקֹּדֶשׁ וּבֵין הַחֹל וּבֵין הַטָּמֵא וּבֵין הַטָּהוֹר


KJ: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

BN: And so that you make a distinction between the sacred and the profane, as between the unclean and the clean.


Then the reason for not consuming alcohol "when you come to the Ohel" is not medical, or even judicial, it is about tone and appropriacy, about the separation of the sacred world from the profane. So my facetipous remark about the last paragraph turns out also to be spot on.


10:11 U LEHOROT ET BENEY YISRA-EL ET KOL HA CHUKIM ASHER DIBER YHVH ALEYHEM BE YAD MOSHEH

וּלְהוֹרֹת אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל הַחֻקִּים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֲלֵיהֶם בְּיַד מֹשֶׁה


KJ: And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

BN: And that you may teach the Beney Yisra-El all the statutes which YHVH has spoken to them through the hand of Mosheh.


DIBER here, not TSIVA, but much odder the juxtaposition of DIBER with YAD. YHVH speaks and Mosheh writes down. With Mohammed later on, al-Lah will speak through the mouth of the angel Jibril (Gabri-El), who will whisper in the ear of Mahmoud, who will write down; same end result.

ALEYHEM here, not AL'EHEM - yet another of the dozens of occasions of inconsistency in the pointing of the text.


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10:12 VA YEDABER MOSHEH EL AHARON VE EL EL-AZAR VE EL IY-TAMAR BANAV HA NOTARIM KECHU ET HA MINCHAH HA NOTERET ME ISHEY YHVH VE ICHLUHA MATSOT ETSEL HA MIZBE'ACH KI KODESH KADASHIM HU

וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל אֶלְעָזָר וְאֶל אִיתָמָר בָּנָיו הַנּוֹתָרִים קְחוּ אֶת הַמִּנְחָה הַנּוֹתֶרֶת מֵאִשֵּׁי יְהוָה וְאִכְלוּהָ מַצּוֹת אֵצֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ כִּי קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים הִוא

KJ: And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:

BN: Then Mosheh spoke to Aharon, and to El-Azar and Iytamar his remaining sons: "Take the meal-offering that is left over from the burnt offerings to YHVH, and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy...


Which confirms that the boys were making a legitimate sacrifice at the time of their deaths, though it still doesn't tell us what precisely caused their deaths. But it being a legitimate sacrifice, it was also a sacrifice left incomplete, which presents an interesting problem. A now-blemished and therefore rendered-unlawful sacrifice was made by the now-dead brothers, their dead bodies on the altar adding a further level of impurity that is dealt with in verses 4 and 5; but it is still there on the altar, so it does have to be dealt with, and the altar made holy again. At the same time, the priests have to eat; but the food they should have eaten is now unkosher. 

All this then opens a further question: why the intervening verses about consuming alcohol in the Ohel Mo'ed. If the previous story was finished, it might simply have been the next fragment; but this verse returns us to the tale; the inference, employing the hermeneutics of Rabbi Yishmael, is that the two boys were inebriated at the time that they did, whatever it was they did, that led to their deaths.


10:13 VA ACHALTEM OTAH BE MAKOM KADOSH KI CHAK'CHA VE CHAK BANEYCHA HI ME ISHEY YHVH KI CHEN TSUVEYTI

וַאֲכַלְתֶּם אֹתָהּ בְּמָקוֹם קָדוֹשׁ כִּי חָקְךָ וְחָק בָּנֶיךָ הִוא מֵאִשֵּׁי יְהוָה כִּי כֵן צֻוֵּיתִי


KJ: And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons' due, of the sacrifices of the LORD made by fire: for so I am commanded.

BN: And you shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due, and your sons' due, from the burnt offerings toYHVH; for so I am commanded.


Mosheh's solution - YHVH's solution - is also interesting. There is no summons to the summit of the mountain, no edict issued by YHVH; so it is not a law in the manner that we have witnessed previously. And yet it is a law, or at the very least the closing-up of a loophole in an existing law. Effectively he establishes a new law and makes a new custom and effects thereby a neat compromise, adding in the last phrase to give his decision legitimacy. What is interesting is the freedom that Mosheh apparently has to do so - unlike Kadesh (Meriyvah) later on (Numbers 20:10-13), where he will be deemed unfaithful by YHVH and punished. He is making a CHOK, a human interpretation of the law, and not a MITZVAH, which was the original divine commandment. From this the Rabbinical Beit Din acquires its legitimacy. (Click here for an interesting essay on the subject)


10:14 VE ET CHAZEH HA TENUPHAH VE ET SHOK HA TERUMAH TO'CHLU BE MAKOM TAHOR ATAH U VANEYCHA U VENOTEYCHA ITACH KI CHAK'CHA VE CHAK BANEYCHA NITNU MI ZIVCHEY SHALMEY BENEY YISRA-EL

וְאֵת חֲזֵה הַתְּנוּפָה וְאֵת שׁוֹק הַתְּרוּמָה תֹּאכְלוּ בְּמָקוֹם טָהוֹר אַתָּה וּבָנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ אִתָּךְ כִּי חָקְךָ וְחָק בָּנֶיךָ נִתְּנוּ מִזִּבְחֵי שַׁלְמֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל


KJ: And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons' due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.

BN: And you shall eat the breast of waving and the thigh of heaving in a clean place; you, and your sons, and your daughters with you; for they are given as your due, and your sons' due, out of the peace-offering sacrifices of the Beney Yisra-El.

Which is really just a clever theological justification for not wasting what was probably a very significant amount of perfectly good food.


10:15 SHOK HA TERUMAH VA CHAZEH HA TENUPHAH AL ISHEY HA CHALAVIM YAVIY'U LEHANIPH TENUPHAH LIPHNEY YHVH VE HAYAH LECHA U LE VANEYCHA ITACH LE CHAK OLAM KA ASHER TSIVAH YHVH


שׁוֹק הַתְּרוּמָה וַחֲזֵה הַתְּנוּפָה עַל אִשֵּׁי הַחֲלָבִים יָבִיאוּ לְהָנִיף תְּנוּפָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְהָיָה לְךָ וּלְבָנֶיךָ אִתְּךָ לְחָק עוֹלָם כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה


KJ: The heave shoulder and the wave breast shall they bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before the LORD; and it shall be thine, and thy sons' with thee, by a statute for ever; as the LORD hath commanded.

BN: They shall bring the thigh of heaving and the breast of waving with the offerings of the fat made with the burnt offering, and wave it as a wave-offering before YHVH; and it shall be yours, and your sons' with you, as a due for ever, as YHVH has commanded.


And just to add complexity to the debate in my notes to verse 13: though spelled the same, unpointed, there is a CHAK, and there is also a CHOK. The former their "due", the latter a "law"; though of course the giving of the due is also a law.


10:16 VE ET SE'IR HA CHATA'T DAROSH DARASH MOSHEH VE HINEH SORAPH VA YIKTSOPH AL EL-AZAR VE AL IY-TAMAR BENEY AHARON HA NOTARIM LEMOR

וְאֵת שְׂעִיר הַחַטָּאת דָּרֹשׁ דָּרַשׁ מֹשֶׁה וְהִנֵּה שֹׂרָף וַיִּקְצֹף עַל אֶלְעָזָר וְעַל אִיתָמָר בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַנּוֹתָרִם לֵאמֹר


KJ: And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying,

BN: And Mosheh inquired diligently after the goat of the sin-offering, and, behold, it had been burned; and he was angry with El-Azar and with Iytamar, the sons of Aharon who were left, saying:


This is an oddity. When the elder brothers broke the sacrificial laws, YHVH immediately punished them himself, and with death; here Mosheh believes the younger brothers have also broken the sacrificial laws, and is angry because he fears it will lead to their deaths, and just plain angry for it having happened. Yet surely he would have expected YHVH to punish them himself; and since they were still alive, would have known that they cannot have broken the sacrificial laws. O ye of little faith!


DAROSH DARASH:


10:17 MADU'A LO ACHALTEM ET HA CHATA'T BI MEKOM HA KODESH KI KODESH KADASHIM HI VE OTAH NATAN LACHEM LASE'T ET AVON HA EDAH LECHAPER ALEYHEM LIPHNEY YHVH

מַדּוּעַ לֹא אֲכַלְתֶּם אֶת הַחַטָּאת בִּמְקוֹם הַקֹּדֶשׁ כִּי קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים הִוא וְאֹתָהּ נָתַן לָכֶם לָשֵׂאת אֶת עֲוֹן הָעֵדָה לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה


KJ: Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?

BN: Why did you not eat the sin-offering in the holy place, seeing that it is most holy, and he has given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before YHVH?


10:18 HEN LO HUVAH ET DAMAH EL HA KODESH PENIMAH ACHOL TOCHLU OTAH BA KODESH KA ASHER TSIVEYTI

הֵן לֹא הוּבָא אֶת דָּמָהּ אֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ פְּנִימָה אָכוֹל תֹּאכְלוּ אֹתָהּ בַּקֹּדֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוֵּיתִי


KJ: Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded.

BN: You saw that its blood had not been brought into the inner sanctuary, so you absolutely had to eat it in the sanctuary, as I instructed.


As Mosheh instructed, or even perhaps "commanded"! But not "as YHVH instructed". Perhaps this is the difference. But it's not a good start to his post-Sinai leadership. Four of the five senior Kohanim have already broken ranks, or broken laws, and two are dead. Soon will come the Korachite rebellion, or mutiny if you prefer. Mosheh's leadership skills, as Yitro has already told him, are still at the learning stage; but in truth he is not learning. We cannot really be surprised when the Korachites mutiny, or when Kadesh (Meriyvah) occurs. Nor should we be surprised by Aharon's angry retort in the next verse.


10:19 VA YEDABER AHARON EL MOSHEH HEN HAYOM HIKRIYVU ET CHATA'TAM VE ET OLATAM LIPHNEY YHVH VA TIKRE'NAH OTI KA ELEH VE ACHALTI CHATA'T HAYOM HA YIYTAV BE EYNEY YHVH

וַיְדַבֵּר אַהֲרֹן אֶל מֹשֶׁה הֵן הַיּוֹם הִקְרִיבוּ אֶת חַטָּאתָם וְאֶת עֹלָתָם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וַתִּקְרֶאנָה אֹתִי כָּאֵלֶּה וְאָכַלְתִּי חַטָּאת הַיּוֹם הַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה


And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?

BN: Then Aharon spoke to Mosheh: "You saw that, just today, they brought their sin-offering and their burnt-offering before YHVH, and such things as these have now befallen me. And if I had eaten the sin-offering to-day, would it have been well-pleasing in the sight of YHVH?


Sarcasm in the Tanach! From the Kohen Gadol to His Majesty! If the Secretary of State spoke like that to President El Trompe, he would be fired by Tweet as soon as his back was turned!


10:20 VA YISHMA MOSHEH VA YIYTAV BE EYNAV

וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו


KJ: And when Moses heard that, he was content.

BN: And when Mosheh heard that, it was well-pleasing in his sight.


VA YIYTAV BE EYNAV: Methinks the Biblical author is being generous: Mosheh was well rebuked, and accepted it, and backed down. As he needed to in the circumstances.

And now - I have deliberately not made the connection until the end of the chapter - jump ahead to Leviticus 20, verses 1-6, and especially verses; no, all six of them, but especially verse 6 in relation to the "strange fire", and the other five in relation to the acts of mourning.

pey break




Leviticus 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

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