Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 10-12.
Today’s passage begins with the deaths of two of Aaron’s sons. God struck them down because they used the wrong kind of fire to burn incense before Him. This is where reading through the Bible multiple times causes you to realize that God’s commands are not necessarily recorded here in the chronological order in which they were delivered, because we have not yet come to the method by which God commanded the incense to be burned in incense burners. That comes in Leviticus 16. This account occurs here immediately after the ordination of Aaron and his sons in order to communicate to us the solemness and seriousness of the duties of the priesthood. While the passage does not explicitly state that this occurred soon after the ordination, several aspects of the account suggest that it did indeed follow almost immediately. Moses was upset because Aaron’s remaining sons did not eat the priestly portion of the sin offering, thinking that they had misunderstood God’s instructions concerning it being their share. However, when Aaron pointed out that he and his sons had not done so because of the tragedy which had befallen them that day, Moses was pleased with that answer. From this we can conclude that Aaron and his sons had not been conducting the sacrifices long enough to demonstrate that they knew the proper procedures. In other words, this probably happened immediately after their ordination, or at most a few days later.
I debated writing about the animals which could, and could not, be eaten, but after some thought I decided to make a few comments here. The animals on the unclean list were not just there because of disease issues from improperly storing or preparing the meat. Some of them were on the list because they were potential hosts for diseases which could be transmitted by contact. Another point worth making is that the way animals were categorized does not necessarily mean that everything that falls into the “unclean” category is a health hazard. Rather it is the other way around, everything that falls into the “clean” category is not a health hazard (mad cow disease might seem to show that to be not entirely true, but I would say that is because of feeding practices which are elsewhere in these laws forbidden).