Numbers 25 is a critical chapter that deals with Israel's lapse into idolatry and immorality, and the severe consequences that follow. It also highlights the zealous intervention of Phinehas, which stops a devastating plague. Key aspects include:
Israel's Idolatry at Peor: The chapter begins with the Israelites engaging in idolatry and sexual immorality with the Moabite women, who invite them to the sacrifices of their god, Baal of Peor. This leads to Israel's worship of this false god, straying from their covenant with the LORD.
God's Anger and Command: The LORD's anger burns against Israel, and He commands Moses to execute the leaders involved in the idolatry, exposing them in broad daylight to turn away God's wrath from Israel.
The Plague and Phinehas' Action: As a plague breaks out among the Israelites because of their sin, an Israelite man brings a Midianite woman into the camp in front of Moses and the weeping assembly. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the priest, sees this and takes immediate action. He follows the couple into the tent and drives a spear through both of them, stopping the plague.
Phinehas' Covenant of Peace: In response to Phinehas' zealous act, God declares that Phinehas and his descendants will have a covenant of peace and a lasting priesthood because he was zealous for God’s honor and made atonement for the Israelites.
Outcome of the Plague: The plague kills 24,000 people, showcasing the severe consequences of turning away from God to idolatry.
War Against the Midianites: The chapter concludes with God instructing Moses to treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them because they led the Israelites into treachery against the LORD in the incident of Peor.
Numbers 25 demonstrates the serious implications of idolatry and immorality, as well as the need for decisive action to maintain the sanctity of the community's covenant relationship with God. Phinehas' actions, while extreme, are portrayed as necessary to atone for the people's sins and restore God's favor. This chapter highlights the constant struggle between fidelity to God and the allure of foreign influences in Israel's journey.

Numbers 25

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 Baalpeor: 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 Baalpeor.

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.

End of Numbers 25

1 Year Plan:  Mar 8 - Num 24, Num 25,  Luk 4

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