God’s people are more endangered by the charms of a smiling world than by the terrors of a frowning world.
The daughters of Moab have conquered many strong men who could not be conquered by the sword.
1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
3 And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
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.
5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor.
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.
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;
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.
9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
10 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
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.
12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
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.
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.
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.
16 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
17 Vex the Midianites, and smite them:
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.
Numbers 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Numbers 25:1-18 – The Zeal of Phinehas against Impurity
Unable to curse Israel directly, Balaam suggested to Balak the device of destroying the union between Israel and their divine Protector by enticing them into sin. Once bring license and passion into play, and let the seductions of evil prevail, and surely the holiness of God would compel Him to withdraw His protection! This was a diabolical suggestion to gain his wage. See Revelation 2:14.
The women of the land, notorious for their wantonness, seduced the men of Israel to join in the sensual rites of their worship. All did not fall into this sin. See Deuteronomy 4:3-4. But it brought terrible chastisement on the offenders, I Corinthians 10:8. You must amputate a gangrened limb.
For Phinehas, see Malachi 2:4, etc. Let us come out of the world, cleansing ourselves from its filthiness! II Corinthians 6:14, etc. There are crises when love for God’s honor demands strenuous action, which never fails, as in the case of Phinehas, of an abounding recognition, Numbers 25:12. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Numbers 25:3—Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor.
The people were attracted by the charms of the women of Moab; but what they entered for pleasure, became clasped on them as a yoke. “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34).
Sin is slavery.—The drunkard loathes his chains, vows not to yield again; but sinks deeper into the mire with every ineffectual struggle. The libertine is bound with passions, his heart is a dungeon, his conscience a scourge. We are promised pleasure and gratification; but when once the sirens have prevailed and got us in their power, they cast off their disguise, and work their horrid will.
The only deliverance is through the anointed priest.—Phinehas interposed, and he was Aaron’s grandson, on whom the anointing oil rested. And this illustrates a remarkable expression in Isaiah 10:27, “The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” Is not that the anointing of the Holy Ghost? It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can be made free with the freedom of the Son of God. Where He is there is liberty. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Galatians 5:16-17).
We must die to the sin that enchained us.—There could be no half-measures. Phinehas took a spear. Whatever the cursed thing is which has crept in to enslave, it must be slain before the Lord. Is there some secret evil in your soul, eating out its strength? Ask the Faithful High Priest to deal with it, that your soul may cast off its bondage, and rise into the liberty of the sons of God. —Our Daily Homily