9:24 Then fire went out from the presence of the Lord 1 and consumed the burnt offering and the fat parts on the altar, and all the people saw it, so they shouted loudly and fell down with their faces to the ground. 2
10:1 Then 3 Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his fire pan and put fire in it, set incense on it, and presented strange fire 4 before the Lord, which he had not commanded them to do. 10:2 So fire went out from the presence of the Lord 5 and consumed them so that they died before the Lord.
2 tn Heb “fell on their faces.” Many English versions and commentaries render here “shouted for joy” (e.g., NIV; cf. NCV, NLT) or “shouted joyfully,” but the fact the people “fell on their faces” immediately afterward suggests that they were frightened as, for example, in Exod 19:16b; 20:18-21.
3 tn Although it has been used elsewhere in this translation as an English variation from the ubiquitous use of vav in Hebrew, in this instance “then” as a rendering for vav is intended to show that the Nadab and Abihu catastrophe took place on the inauguration day described in Lev 9. The tragic incident in Lev 10 happened in close temporal connection to the
4 tn The expression “strange fire” (אֵשׁ זָרָה, ’esh zarah) seems imprecise (cf. NAB “profane fire”; NIV “unauthorized fire”; NRSV “unholy fire”; NLT “a different kind of fire”) and has been interpreted numerous ways (see the helpful summary in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 132-33). The infraction may have involved any of the following or a combination thereof: (1) using coals from someplace other than the burnt offering altar (i.e., “unauthorized coals” according to J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:598; cf. Lev 16:12 and cf. “unauthorized person” אִישׁ זָר (’ish zar) in Num 16:40 [17:5 HT], NASB “layman”), (2) using the wrong kind of incense (cf. the Exod 30:9 regulation against “strange incense” קְטֹרֶת זָרָה (qÿtoreh zarah) on the incense altar and the possible connection to Exod 30:34-38), (3) performing an incense offering at an unprescribed time (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 59), or (4) entering the Holy of Holies at an inappropriate time (Lev 16:1-2).