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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

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PART 6: An Attempt to Undermine Israel [Balaam]

In part six we have an extreme attempt to curse Israel – which the Lord foils – but then the nation succumbing to temptations that follow the advice of the Seer.

Ch.22: [Action] Balaam called & Permission Given

•  God deals with a greedy seer

Ch.23: [Action] Balaam's First & Second Messages

Ch.24: [Action] Balaam's Third to Seventh Messages

Ch.25: [Action] The Seduction of Israel

•  the outworking of Balaam's advice



FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 25 : The Seduction of Israel


v.1-3 Moab Seduces Israel

v.4,5 Judgment to be meted out

v.6-9 Blatant Rebellion dealt with

v.10-13 Phinehas to be honoured

v.14,15 The Guilty Parties Named

v.16-18 Midian condemned


[Preliminary Notes: Num 31:16 “the ones who followed Balaam's advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident,” indicates that what happens in this chapter is a direct follow-on from the previous three chapters after which Balaam advised the Midianites how to bring down Israel. The New Testament records similarly, the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality” Rev 2:14.]



v.1-3 Moab Seduces Israel


v.1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women,

v.2  who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods.

v.3  So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord's anger burned against them.


[Notes: Moabite women enticed Israelite men and when they took them home, introduced them to their gods. God was angry at their infidelity.]



v.4,5 Judgment to be meted out


v.4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord , so that the Lord 's fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

v.5 So Moses said to Israel's judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”


[Notes: Judgment is decreed, first by the sword. This is a holy nation and those who have behaved like this will act like a spreading cancer unless removed.]



v.6-9 Blatant Rebellion dealt with


v.6 Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

v.7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand

v.8 and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman's stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped;

v.9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.


[Notes: But it's not only Moabite women, it's also the Midianite women and when an Israelite man brings his Midianite woman into the camp quite blatantly while Moses and his leaders are weeping at the Tabernacle, it is ‘a bridge too far' and so Eleazar bring judgment on them both. Already a plague had started and his action brought it to a halt.]



v.10-13 Phinehas to be honoured


v.10 The Lord said to Moses,

v.11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honour among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal.

v.12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him.

v.13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honour of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”


[Notes: The Lord decrees that Eleazar will be honoured for honouring Him.]



v.14,15 The Guilty Parties Named


v.14 The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite family.

v.15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Kozbi daughter of Zur, a tribal chief of a Midianite family.


[Notes: The two offenders are named in shame.]



v.16-18 Midian condemned


v.16 The Lord said to Moses,

v.17 “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them.

v.18 They treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the Peor incident involving their sister Kozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of that incident.”


[Notes: The undermining activity of the Midianites, following Balaam's advice is to be seen as an act of war against God and against Israel, threatening their very future. They will be ongoing enemies of Israel.]