Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 25

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-18

Balaam makes Israel sin (25:1-18)

The failure of Balaam to curse Israel meant he did not receive the reward Balak offered. Apparently he still wanted to please Balak and gain the reward, so he decided on a plan of his own that had nothing to do with prophesying good or evil but might succeed in destroying Israel. Balaam encouraged the people of Israel to mix with the people of Moab and Midian, and encouraged the Moabite and Midianite women to seduce the Israelite men and invite them to join in the heathen festivals. Balaam thought his plan was succeeding when God sent a plague that killed thousands in Israel because of their immoral and idolatrous behaviour (see 31:16; 2 Peter 2:14-15; Revelation 2:14).

Only swift action by Moses and Phinehas saved Israel from destruction. Moses punished the leaders of the rebellion in a mass public execution (25:1-5). Then, while the people were gathering at the tabernacle to express their sorrow and repentance, a leader of the tribe of Simeon openly defied Moses by taking a Midianite woman into his tent. The young priest Phinehas, interested only in the honour of God and the preservation of God’s people, killed the man and the woman. For this he was rewarded with the promise that his descendants would be Israel’s chief priestly family (6-18).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Numbers 25". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/numbers-25.html. 2005.
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