First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Moses, true and highest prophet, prince of historians, and a serene man, released the people of God from Egyptian bondage; and he reigned forty years in the wilderness. He was beloved of God and man. God remembered Moses in his blessing, and decided to admit him to the presence of his glory on Mt. Sinai. So while Moses was attending the flocks of Jethro, his father-in-law, grazing in the wilderness, God appeared to him in a burning bush; but the bush was not consumed. And the Lord commanded Moses to depart for Egypt to release the people of Israel. This Moses is the man by whose praise heaven and earth are illuminated. He clearly saw God face to face, and this the Scriptures do not record of any other being of mortal flesh. So says St. Paul among the heathens, gave witness and taught the existence of one true God, to be believed in and worshipped.

Aaron, brother of Moses, was a holy man and endowed with the gift of eloquence. By divine command he deservedly accepted the highest priestly office, which he bequeathed to his sons in perpetuity. Aaron died at the age of 133 years and was buried at Mt. Horeb. Eleazar, his son, was bishop after him; for upon him Aaron, before his death, placed the stole of the priesthood. Eleazar died at the age of 123 years, in the 36th year of his priesthood, on Mt. Horeb, in Arabia.

These three (referring to he illustration accompanying the test), namely Nadab, Abihu and Eleazar, were Aaron’s sons; but Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire; wherefore they were punished by God and destroyed.


(A) By a woodcut 8-7/8" x 5" the artist has faithfully portrayed the incident of Moses and the burning bush:

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said. . . Do not draw near to this place; take off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. . . Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. . . . I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you might bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Exodus 3:1-10

And so here we find ourselves on Mt. Horeb. The flock of Jethro, consisting of a few sheep, are huddled together at the right, a number of goats in the distance. At the extreme left is the burning bush, from which God himself appears (with a halo), addressing Moses. The cautioning words have already been spoken, for Moses is kneeling and removing his shoes, while his faithful watchdog is seated before him and complacently looking on. He is not the kind of dog a shepherd would use—just a s good sleek little dog, with a lion’s tail and a neat collar. Note also that Moses is portrayed with "horns of honor," as we generally find him pictured. The bush is burning, as the flames above it indicate, but its lower leaves show that it is not being consumed. The landscape is rugged and mountainous. The woodcut may be crude and quaint, but it tells the story far better than the Chronicler.


(B and C) In the pontifical lineage at the lower left appear Aaron and his son Eleazar. Aaron’s other sons, Ithamar, Nadab and Abihu, branch off to the right for the full width of the page. Eleazar is swinging a censor whose flames are consuming Nadab and Abihu, both of whom appear in great distress. Ithamar, the fourth and youngest son, has turned away from his brothers and remains unharmed, for he had no part in the transaction. Nadab, the eldest son, had been admitted to the priestly office, and on the very day of his consecration he and Abihu perished for offering "strange fire." (Leviticus 10:1-2). Concerning what specifically their transgression consisted of is not clear. It is suggested that "strange fire" means fire taken from a common source instead of from the altar.