Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

Getting bad publicity and staying in power: Leviticus 10 and possible priestly power struggles

Esias E. Meyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1990 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1990 | © 2013 Esias E. Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2013 | Published: 24 June 2013

About the author(s)

Esias E. Meyer, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The story of the death of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 has always been a difficult text to understand. Recently it has been used in debates about possible power struggles between Aaronides and Zadokites in post-exilic Yehud. The article critically explores the work of three European scholars, namely Achenbach, Nihan and Otto on this issue. Initially most of the traditional questions asked by scholars are addressed such as what the ‘strange fire’ was, and what exactly Nadab and Abihu did wrong. The focus of the article then moves to whether Leviticus 10 reflects badly on certain priestly groups.


Leviticus 10; the death of Nadab and Abihu; power struggles between Aaronides and Zadokites; post-exilic Yehud; three European scholars: Achenbach, Nihan and Otto


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