Fire came forth from before God and consumed the burnt offering and the choice parts on the altar. When the people saw this, they raised their voices in praise and threw themselves on their faces.
Vatetse esh milifney Adonay vatochal al-hamizbe'ach et-ha'olah ve'et-hachalavim vayar kol-ha'am vayaronu vayiplu al-pneyhem.
||Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his fire pan, placed fire on it, and then incense on it. They offered it before God, [but it was] unauthorized fire, which [God] had not instructed them [to offer].
Vayikchu veney-Aharon Nadav va'Avihu ish machtato vayitnu vahen esh vayasimu aleyha ketoret vayakrivu lifney Adonay esh zarah asher lo tsivah otam.
||Fire came forth from before God, and it consumed them, so that they died before God.
Vatetse esh milifney Adonay vatochal otam vayamutu lifney Adonay.
|from before God|
From the Holy of Holies (Rashbam), or from the sky (Sifra). Some say that it came down like a flash of lightning (Josephus, Antiquities 3:8:6).
|raised their voices in praise|
(Targum; Ibn Ezra); or 'sang out' (Saadia) or 'became ecstatic' (Or Torah, MiKetz,p. 37a. See Meditation and the Bible, p. 120).
|Nadav and Avihu|
See Exodus 6:23. They were Aaron's eldest sons who had been chosen for special status; Exodus 24:1,9.
See Exodus 27:3.
See Exodus 30:9 (Ramban; Ralbag). Some say that they wanted to make use of sacrificial methods that had been in existence before Moses received God's instructions (Josephus, Antiquities 3:8:7).
|Fire came forth...|
From the Holy of Holies (Sifra). Or, 'the fire (in Leviticus 9:24) that came forth from God ...' (Rashbam). It began to burn them, and no one could quench it (Josephus 3:8:7).