Verses 10–11

Aaron having been very observant of what God said to him by Moses, now God does him the honour to speak to him immediately (Lev. 10:8): The Lord spoke unto Aaron, and the rather because what was now to be said Aaron might perhaps have taken amiss from Moses, as if he had suspected him to have been a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, so apt are we to resent cautions as accusations; therefore God saith it himself to him, Do not drink wine, nor strong drink, when you go into the tabernacle, and this at their peril, lest you die, Lev. 10:9. Probably they had seen the ill effect of it in Nadab and Abihu, and therefore must take warning by them. Observe here, 1. The prohibition itself: Do not drink wine nor strong drink. At other times they were allowed it (it was not expected that every priest should be a Nazarite), but during the time of their ministration they were forbidden it. This was one of the laws in Ezekiel’s temple (Ezek. 44:21), and so it is required of gospel ministers that they be not given to wine, 1 Tim. 3:3. Note, Drunkenness is bad in any, but it is especially scandalous and pernicious in ministers, who of all men ought to have the clearest heads and the cleanest hearts. 2. The penalty annexed to the prohibition: Lest you die; lest you die when you are in drink, and so that day come upon you unawares, Luke 21:34. Or, “Lest you do that which will make you liable to be cut off by the hand of God.” The danger of death we are continually in should engage us to be sober, 1 Pet. 4:7. It is a pity that it should ever be used for the support of licentiousness, as it is by those who argue, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. 3. The reasons assigned for this prohibition. They must needs to be sober, else they could not duly discharge their office; they will be in danger of erring through wine, Isa. 28:7. They must be sure to keep sober, (1.) That they might themselves be able to distinguish, in their ministrations, between that which was sacred and that which was common, and might never confound them, Lev. 10:10. It concerns the Lord’s ministers to put a difference between holy and unholy, both things and persons, that they may separate between the precious and the vile, Jer. 15:19. (2.) That they might be able to teach the people (Lev. 10:11), for that was a part of the priests’ work (Deut. 33:10); and those that are addicted to drunkenness are very unfit to teach people God’s statutes, both because those that live after the flesh can have no experimental acquaintance with the things of the Spirit, and because such teachers pull down with one hand what they build up with the other.