We are reminded that:
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Our first work is to….
Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Jesus also cautioned.
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Today’s example reveals one of the worst times in the wanderings of the “chosen” people in the desert.
Old John Gill writes..
INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 25
The contents of this chapter are, the sin of the people of Israel, their whoredom and idolatry, Num 25:1, their punishment for it, multitudes being slain, Num 25:4, whose number is given, Num 25:9, the zeal of Phinehas in slaying two notorious offenders, Num 25:6, whose names are observed, Num 25:14 for which he is commended, and the covenant of priesthood was given and confirmed unto him, Num 25:10, and the chapter is concluded with an order to vex the Midianites, for vexing Israel with their wiles, Num 25:16.
And Matthew Henry adds these details.
I. The sin of Israel, to which they were enticed by the daughters of Moab and Midian; they were guilty both of corporal and spiritual whoredoms, for Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor, Num 25:3. Not all, nor the most, but very many, were taken in this snare. Now concerning this observe,
1. That Balak, by the advice of Balaam, cast this stumbling-block before the children of Israel, Rev 2:14. Note, Those are our worst enemies that draw us to sin, for that is the greatest mischief any man can do us. If Balak had drawn out his armed men against them to fight them, Israel had bravely resisted, and no doubt had been more than conquerors; but now that he sends his beautiful women among them, and invites them to his idolatrous feasts, the Israelites basely yield, and are shamefully overcome: those are smitten with this harlots that could not be smitten with his sword. Note, We are more endangered by the charms of a smiling world than by the terrors of a frowning world.
2. That the daughters of Moab were their tempters and conquerors. Ever since Eve was first in the transgression the fairer sex, though the weaker, has been a snare to many; yea strong men have been wounded and slain by the lips of the strange woman (Pro 7:26), witness Solomon, whose wives were shares and nets to him Ecc 7:26.
3. That whoredom and idolatry went together. They first defiled and debauched their consciences, by committing lewdness with the women, and then were easily drawn, in complaisance to them, and in contempt of the God of Israel, to bow down to their idols. And they were more likely to do so if, as it is commonly supposed, and seems probable by the joining of them together, the uncleanness committed was a part of the worship and service performed to Baal-peor. Those that have broken the fences of modesty will never be held by the bonds of piety, and those that have dishonoured themselves by fleshly lusts will not scruple to dishonour God by idolatrous worships, and for this they are justly given up yet further to vile affections.
4. That by eating of the idolatrous sacrifices they joined themselves to Baal-peor to whom they were offered, which the apostle urges as a reason why Christians should not eat things offered to idols, because thereby they had fellowship with the devils to whom they were offered, 1Co 10:20. It is called eating the sacrifices of the dead (Psa 106:28), not only because the idol itself was a dead thing, but because the person represented by it was some great hero, who since his death was deified, as saints in the Roman church are canonized.
5. It was great aggravation of the sin that Israel abode in Shittim, where they had the land of Canaan in view, and were just ready to enter and take possession of it. It was the highest degree of treachery and ingratitude to be false to their God, whom they had found so faithful to them, and to eat of idol-sacrifices when they were ready to be feasted so richly on God’s favours.
One can listen and hear the reading here.
Baal Worship at Peor
Num 25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
Num 25:2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
Num 25:3 And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
Num 25:4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.
Num 25:5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.
Num 25:6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 25:7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
Num 25:8 And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
Num 25:9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
The Zeal of Phinehas
Num 25:10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 25:11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
Num 25:12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
Num 25:13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
Num 25:14 Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites.
Num 25:15 And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head over a people, and of a chief house in Midian.
Num 25:16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 25:17 Vex the Midianites, and smite them:
Num 25:18 For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake.