Israel has just finish defeating the two powerful kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og of Bashan; they were the dreaded enemies of both Moab and Midian. Now that we were able to destroy the Amorites so easily, Moab and Midian both fear that they will be the next to fall to us.
Instead of fighting us directly, they have put together a plan to undermine Israel’s son’s relationship with Yehovah. After a summer campaign on the east side of the Jordan we have gathered at Shittim on the plain of Moab to spend the winter before we start a new campaign on the west side of the Jordan in the spring.
It appears to me that some of Israel (remember they are the ezrach men) have become complacent and perhaps willing to covenant with our enemies instead of destroying them. Some of us began to take their daughters, eat their meat which has not been slaughtered to Yehovah and, worst of all, bowed down and served other elohim (lawmakers and judges) besides Yehovah.
And he, Israel abode in Shittim, and the people became wanton for Moab’s daughters [בנות, benot], and they [Moab] called to the people to slaughter [לזבחי, zeh-vach] to their elohim (lawmakers and judges), and they did eat; and the people bowed down to their elohim. (Num 25:2-3)
Incidentally, eating meat slaughtered to other elohim is what we do when we buy beef, lamb or goat at the grocery store.
Big, big mistake! Yehovah (40 years before) said,
Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other elohim, for Yehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous Elohim), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their elohim and make slaughter to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his slaughter, and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their elohim and make your sons play the harlot with their elohim. (Exo 34:11-16
Yehovah IS a jealous Elohim; and He was pi, er, ANGRY! He told Moses to command the leaders of 1000s, 100s, 50s and 10s to behead every man among their men who had coveted with lord Peor and put their heads on a stick in the sun for all to see.
And Yehovah said to Moses take all the people’s heads [ראשׁי, rosh] and impale them [the offender’s heads] and hang them before Yehovah in the sun that the fierce anger of Yehovah may retreat from Israel. (Num 25:4)
And while this is going on Moses is in the tabernacle and men are weeping at its door, Zimri and Cozbi come into the camp. Zimri is a man of Israel and a son of the Simeonites and Cozbi is the daughter of Zur, a Midianite prince among his people. Zimri and Cozbi go into Zimri’s tent in the sight of all Israel’s son, his brethren.
Talk about intentional sin, flaunting wickedness in the sight of all the people and encouraging them to do the same … when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar (the new high priest), the son of Aaron the priest saw what was going on, he was incensed with rage and took a javelin, entered Zimri’s tent and pinned Zimri and Cozbi to the ground.
This righteous act by His priest so impressed Yehovah that He commanded the striking to stop and only 25,000 men were killed that day.
Well, this is an interesting story but you will have to listen to the rest of it right here.
Zimri And Cozbi
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