Leviticus 10:19–20 (HCSB)
19 But Aaron replied to Moses, “See, today they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord. Since these things have happened to me, if I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been acceptable in the Lord’s sight?” 20 When Moses heard this, it was acceptable to him.
In this passage we read some additional rules for the priests, as well as some reiteration, or maybe clarification, of rules as well. We might speculate about the mention of not drinking “wine or beer”, but it would seem to me that this is simply a practical rule in order to ensure the priests are of clear mind when doing their work. Perhaps there is some sort of symbolism in the fermentation that creates wine or beer as well, with it being likened to some sort of impurity, especially since the other regulation is to “distinguish between the holy and the common, and the clean and the unclean”.
There is then further instruction on what to do with the remainder of offerings, and who is to consume them. It does not seem like there is much new here, perhaps just a reminder of what is expected and required, considering the events previous.
The passage ends with Moses pointing out another mishandling of the priestly duties by Aaron’s surviving two sons. But Aaron presents the question of whether it would have been appropriate to partake of the offering considering the death of two of his sons. Moses finds this to be an acceptable excuse, and Eleazar and Ithamar are spared. We should note a couple things about this last bit:
- When we read it was acceptable to Moses, we should understand that it was acceptable to God. Moses was not the one running the show, God was. We must not lose sight of the fact that God was operating through Moses.
- What a wonderful God we have, who is willing to bend His own rules and show compassion. An action that is supposed to be celebratory in a way, the consuming of the sin offering, would have been a tough task for a father who just lost two of his sons… and God recognizes that, and shows mercy. Don’t be fooled into thinking God is some cold, unmerciful being just looking to smack us down. He is quite the opposite: a loving, caring, merciful, being who is looking to lift us up.
Lord, thank You for loving us enough that You can, and do, bend Your own rules. There are times when we, when I, do not want to make those exceptions myself, yet You, the only one who would remain righteous even if You didn’t, choose to. Help me to show Your love and compassion to the world. Amen.