They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor
Or to the idol Peor, as the Targum. Baal, which signifies Lord or master, was a common name for an idol in many countries; wherefore, to distinguish one from another, an additional name was used. Baalzephon was the god of the Egyptians; Baalzebub the god of the Ekronites; and here Baalpeor the god of the Moabites: for the fact referred to was committed when the children of Israel were on the borders of Moab, and when Balak sent for Balaam to curse them; who at last advised him to draw them to commit fornication with the daughters of Moab; who might then prevail upon them to commit idolatry, which would bring the wrath of God upon them. And in this he succeeded. The above idol had its name of Peor either from the obscene actions done in the worship of it, too filthy to be related, and which, it is thought, are referred to in ( Hosea 9:10 ) . It seems to be the Priapus of the Heathens. Or, as others, from a mountain of this name, where was the house or temple in which it was worshipped: hence we read of Mount Peor, and of Bethpeor, ( Numbers 23:28 ) ( Deuteronomy 3:29 ) . So Suidas F20 says, Baal is Saturn, and Peor the place where he was worshipped. Or else from some great man of this name, Lord Peor; who being of great fame and note among the Moabites, for some extraordinary things done by him, was deified and worshipped after his death; as was common among the Heathens. To this idol the Israelites joined or "yoked" themselves, as the word F21 signifies: they withdrew themselves from the yoke of the true God, whose yoke is easy, and put their necks under the yoke of an idol; which was to be unequally yoked: or they were tempted unto it; they committed spiritual whoredom with it, which is idolatry; they left their first and lawful husband, to whom they were married, and joined themselves to an idol, and cleaved to it. The phrase is expressive of their fellowship with it, and with the idolatrous worshippers of it; they devoted and gave up themselves to the worship of it; just as the true worshippers of God are said to join themselves to him, ( Jeremiah 50:6 ) , they were, as the Septuagint renders it, initiated into the rites and mysteries of this idol.
And ate the sacrifices of the dead;
which were offered up to this lifeless statue. So idols are called the dead, in opposition to and distinction from the living God, ( Isaiah 8:19 ) . Or they partook of the feasts which were kept in honour of their dead deified hero, Lord Peor; see the history in ( Numbers 25:1 Numbers 25:2 ) . These were sacrifices offered to the Stygian Jupiter, or Pluto, called by the Phoenicians Mot F23, the same with Chemosh, the god of the Moabites; and who also was Baalpeor, according to Jerom F24.
F20 In voce (beelfegwr) .
F21 (wdmuy) "conjugati sunt", Vatablus; "subdiderunt sese jugo", Gejerus.
F23 Sanchoniatho apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 38. Vid. Castell. Annot. Samar. p. 13. in vol. 6. Lond. Polyglott.
F24 Comment. in Esaiam, fol. 26. H.