Similar to the chapter which covered the period of David’s infidelity with Bathsheba, this chapter mention’s Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu, and that they died before their father, but omits the details.
Remember from Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire on the altar of the tabernacle and were struck dead. Remember that their offense was in usurping the place of God, creating their own fire, rather than using the fire that God had lit, the fire representing the atoning sacrifice which God had accepted.
1 Chronicles reminds me of a guilty child relating the facts of their defense or someone relating their family history—and omitting certain salient details. We don’t like to rehash our mistakes, do we?
Christian and Jewish tradition tell us the books of Chronicles were written by Ezra to the Jews returning to Israel from Babylon after the exile. He had a distinct and clear purpose in writing it: to document the history of their people, to inspire the bond of kinship with one another, and to promote an understanding God’s calling on them as a nation.
With this goal, he left out details that would lead to conflict within the nation. He wasn’t hiding these stories, they were already widespread from Moses’ writings, but he was pointing the people toward a central focus. He was trying to keep their eyes on the main thing, which at that moment was returning to the land and reclaiming the promises of God.
We have the same challenge today: How do we keep the main thing the main thing? How do we as believers focus on the gospel instead of bickering over less essential differences of opinion?