Then Moses told Aaron: “This is what the Lord stated, saying: ‘I will be sanctified through those who are near Me and will be glorified before all the people.'” Aaron was silent.
Leviticus 10:3 (Onkelos)
Stated – This is such an interesting chapter! Let’s walk through it quickly. Two of Aaron’s sons bring a strange fire into the Holy of Holies and are consumed by fire and die. Moses tells Aaron to keep on with the inauguration services of the Tabernacle, and let the Uncle bury them. He reminds Aaron and his remaining two sons about some important rules when approaching YHVH, and then finds they burned the sin offering instead of eating of it like they’re supposed to. Moses gets upset at them and Aaron explains his reasoning which then Moses accepts. It’s all rather odd.
And to top it off, the verse above is Moses’ reply to Aaron about the death of his sons. In it he says that the Lord “stated” this. But this isn’t anywhere in the Bible, Moses is not stating the obvious. These exact words can’t be found. While the Hebrew word is dabar and means “to speak”, without these exact words, we need to make the connections ourselves through study.
Nachmanides explains that this word can also be understood as “meant” implying that maybe we don’t need to search for the exact phrase, but something similar. So where do we find something similar in which we can say, this is what God intended. In research we find this verse from Exodus.
And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.
Exodus 29:43 (KJV)
Thus, we might deduce, that what was predicted in Exodus is fulfilled here in Leviticus.
But Chazkunee suggests that Moses was referring to the son’s violation of Exodus 19:22.
And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.
And still, Rashbam believes Moses’ statement refers to the priestly restrictive rules detailed in Leviticus 21:10-12. He adds that while these verses appear later in the Torah, the Torah isn’t necessarily chronological. In fact, a common Jewish belief is that Torah existed prior to Creation.
As we can see there are a lot of various thoughts on the subject. Maybe in some ways it’s good for a literary work such as the Bible to leave some things not quite answerable. This provokes thought and study on our behalf in efforts to find relationships. Needless to say, this entire chapter is fascinating… AND almost parallels an incident from the New Testament as well.
Here, two people die while striving to approach God with something He didn’t specify. In Acts 5, we read about two people, Ananias and his wife who try to approach God while withholding something that should have been given. Either instance, two people tried to approach God on their own terms. Let that be the lesson we take away. When we endeavor to approach God, we have to do it on His terms and by His rules.