• Lev 9:1–10:3 contains two of the most memorable events in the priestly narrative: a public theophany at the tabernacle, and the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. It also contains a long sequence of sacrifices, the importance of which has often been overlooked. This article argues that the ritual acts described in Lev 9 follow established and identifiable patterns, and that only by understanding the ritual logic in this episode is it possible to understand the rhetorical aims of the narrative.