Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Numbers 25 – The Anger of the Lord

Now this is a chapter from the Bible that will surely not get preached in church very often. It describes another terrible time in Israel. They have now strayed far from his commands:

Exo 20:1  And God spake all these words, saying,

Exo 20:2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Exo 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Exo 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exo 20:6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

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 25:9  And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

Num 25:5  And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.

Note Israel was not only influenced by the women and culture of Moab, but also that of the Midian’s.

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 25:14  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.

Old John Gill writes:

Numbers 25:3

And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor,…. The name of an idol; one of the Baals, Baal being a general name for an idol; and, to distinguish this from other Baals or idols, it was called Peor, either from its opening its mouth in prophecy, as Ainsworth; or from some obscene posture and action used in the worship of it, being, as it is by many thought to be, the same with Priapus; or rather from the mountain Peor, where it was worshipped, as Jupiter is called Jupiter Olympius, Capitolinus, &c. from the mountains where he had a temple, or was worshipped; or from the name of some great personage, called Lord Peor, who was deified after his death; hence these Israelites are said to “eat the sacrifices of the dead”, Psa 106:28. Mr. Bedford (t) takes him to be Mizraim the son of Ham, the Osiris of the Egyptians, and the Priapus of other Heathens: and Father Calmet (u) is of opinion that he is the same with Orus, Osiris, and Adonis; and that Pe is only a prepositive article, and that Or is the name, and no other than Orus; but such a criticism the word will not bear: this idol, the chief god of the Moabites, was, in all probability, the same with Chemosh, who is expressly called the abomination of Moab, 1Ki 11:7 of whom See Gill on Jer 48:7 so Chemosh and Peor are thought to be the same by our English poet (w): to him the Israelites joined themselves, forsook the true God in a great measure, and were initiated into the rites of this deity, and constantly attended the worship of it, and cleaved unto it with their hearts and directions, and joined with their harlots in all parts of service performed unto it; See Gill on Hos 9:10,

Numbers 25:18

For they vex you with their wiles,…. Not with wars, but with wiles, with cunning stratagems, and artful methods to draw them into sin, that thereby they might be exposed to the wrath of God:

wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor; the idol Peor, that is, Baalpeor; which seems to countenance the notion that Peor was the name of a man, some great personage, who was deified after his death; now the Midianites beguiled the Israelites, by sending their daughters among them, with whom they committed fornication, and by whom they were inveigled to worship the idol Peor:

and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister; their countrywoman, as it was common with eastern people to call those of the same country with them their brethren and sisters: now the Midianites beguiled the Israelites, by prostituting a person of such quality to a prince of theirs, which was setting an example to other daughters of Midian to follow her, and so hereby many of the children of Israel were ensnared into whoredom, and into idolatry:

which was slain in the day of the plague, for Peor’s sake: or for the business of Peor, as the Targum of Jonathan, because of the worship of that idol; not that Cozbi was slain upon that account, but the plague came upon Israel by reason of their worshipping of it, and it was on the day that the plague was that she was slain; by which it seems that the plague lasted but one day.

1 thought on “Numbers 25 – The Anger of the Lord”

  1. Note: Moab continues to be mentioned.To the time of the prophets, 151 verses in the Old Testament…none in the NT. Fausset defines…Moab

    (“from father”), i.e. the incestuous offspring of Lot’s older daughter, near Zoar, S.E. of the Dead Sea (Gen 19:37). Originally the Moabites dwelt due E. of the Dead Sea, from whence they expelled the Emims. Their territory was 40 miles long, 12 wide, the modern Belka or Kerak (Deu 2:10-11). Afterward, Sihon king of the Amorites drove them S. of the river Amon, now wady el Mojib (Num 21:13; Num 21:26-30; Jdg 11:13; Jdg 11:18), which thenceforward was their northern boundary. Israel was forbidden to meddle with them (Jdg 11:9; Jdg 11:19) on account of the tie of blood through Lot, Abraham’s nephew, for Jehovah gave Ar unto the children of Lot, having dispossessed the giant Emims. It was only when Moab seduced Israel to idolatry and impurity (Numbers 25), and hired Balaam to curse them, that they were excluded from Jehovah’s congregation to the tenth generation (Deu 23:3-4). Ammon was more roving than Moab and occupied the pastures to the N.E. outside the mountains.

    There is much more….

    Isaiah 15:1Gill also from today’s reading.

    The burden of Moab,…. A heavy, grievous prophecy, concerning the destruction of Moab. The Targum is,

    “the burden of the cup of cursing, to give Moab to drink.”

    This seems to respect the destruction of it by Nebuchadnezzar, which is prophesied of in Jer 48:1 for that which was to be within three years, Isa 16:14 looks like another and distinct prophecy from this; though some think this was accomplished before the times of Nebuchadnezzar, either by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, some time before the captivity of the ten tribes, as Vitringa and others; or by Sennacherib, after the invasion of Judea, so Jarchi.

    Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; this was a chief city in Moab, perhaps the metropolis of it; see Num 21:28. Kimchi conjectures it to be the same with Aroer, which was by the brink of the river Arnon, Deu 2:36, Deu 3:12 and is mentioned with Dibon, as this, in Num 32:34 of which notice is taken, and not of Ar, in Jer 48:19. Some versions take Ar to signify a “city”, and render it, “the city of Moab”, without naming what city it was; and the Targum calls it by another name, Lahajath; but, be it what city it will, it was destroyed in the night; in such a night, as Kimchi interprets it; in the space of a night, very suddenly, when the inhabitants of it were asleep and secure, and had no notice of danger; and so the Targum adds,

    “and they were asleep.”

    Some have thought this circumstance is mentioned with a view to the night work, that work of darkness of Lot and his daughter, which gave rise to Moab; however, in a night this city became desolate, being taken and plundered, and its inhabitants put to the sword, and so reduced to silence; though the last word may as well be rendered “cut off” (n), utterly destroyed, being burnt or pulled down; two words are made use of, to denote the utter destruction of it:

    because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; either in the same night, or rather in another. Kir, another city of Moab, met with the same fate as Ar. This is called Kirhareseth, and Kirharesh, in Isa 16:7 and so Kirheres in Jer 48:31 called Kir of Moab, to distinguish it from Kir in Assyria, Amo 1:5 and Kir in Media, Isa 22:6.

    (n) נדמה “succisus”, Pagninus, Montanus; “excisa”, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. So Ben Melech interprets it by נכרת.


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