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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 25

 

 

Verses 1-18

Numbers 25. In this chapter fragments of two distinct narratives have been united. In the first (from JE), the Israelites sin with Moabite women, and the sin is punished by the judicial execution of the offenders. In the second (from P), the sin is committed with Midianite women, and is avenged by a plague. The first fragment lacks a conclusion, the second its beginning.

Numbers 25:1-5. (JE). Immorality with Moabite Women at Shittim.—This was followed by participation in the idolatrous worship of the Moabite god Chemosh (Numbers 21:29), who was styled (Numbers 25:3 mg.) the Baal (or lord) of Peor (just as there was a Baal of Hermon, and a Baal of Lebanon). The carrying out of Moses' sentence (Numbers 25:5) is not recorded.

Numbers 25:6-18. (P). The Slaying of Zimri and Cozbi by Phinehas.—This narrative begins abruptly; but it must be assumed that the people were suffering under, and bewailing (Numbers 25:6), a plague (Numbers 25:8) inflicted for intercourse or intermarriage with Midianite women, who had seduced the Israelites at the suggestion of Balaam (Numbers 31:16). Zimri aggravated his offence by bringing a Midianitess into the Israelite camp instead of visiting her at her own home. The story of Phinehas' zeal in slaying the offenders is designed to support the exclusive claim to the priesthood of the descendants of Zadok (cf. Ezekiel 44:15 f.*), who traced their descent from Phinehas (1 Chronicles 6:1-15).

Numbers 25:9. twenty and four thousand.—Paul, who alludes to the incident in 1 Corinthians 10:8, gives the number as three and twenty thousand (perhaps by a lapse of memory).

Numbers 25:11. he was jealous . . . jealousy: i.e. his resentment adequately expressed the Divine resentment.

Numbers 25:12. covenant: here used with the meaning of promise, not compact (cf. Genesis 9:9; Genesis 9:11; Genesis 9:16, Jeremiah 31:31 f.).

Numbers 25:15. head of the people of: better, "head of the clans of."

Numbers 25:18. the matter of Peor: the editor confuses the two distinct stories contained in Numbers 25:1-5 and Numbers 25:6-15; cf. Psalms 106:28-31.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Numbers 25:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/numbers-25.html. 1919.

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