Numbers 25

Listen to Numbers 25

Baal Worship at Peor

1 While Israel lived in 1Shittim, 2the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab.
2 3These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.
3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
4 And the LORD said to Moses, 4"Take all the chiefs of the people and 5hang[a] them in the sun before the LORD, 6that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel."
5 And Moses said to 7the judges of Israel, 8"Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor."
6 And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were 9weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting.
7 10When Phinehas 11the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand
8 and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.
9 Nevertheless, 12those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

The Zeal of Phinehas

10 And the LORD said to Moses,
11 "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he 13was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in 14my jealousy.
12 Therefore say, 15'Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace,
13 and it shall be to him and to 16his descendants after him the covenant of 17a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'"
14 The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father's house belonging to the Simeonites.
15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of 18Zur, who was the tribal head of a father's house in Midian.
16 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
17 19"Harass the Midianites and strike them down,
18 for they have harassed you with their 20wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of 21Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor."

Numbers 25 Commentary

Chapter 25

The Israelites enticed by the daughters of Moab and Midian. (1-5) Phinehas puts Zimri and Cozbi to death. (6-15) The Midianites to be punished. (16-18)

Verses 1-5 The friendship of the wicked is more dangerous than their enmity; for none can prevail against God's people if they are not overcome by their inbred lusts; nor can any enchantment hurt them, but the enticements of worldly interests and pleasures. Here is the sin of Israel, to which they are enticed by the daughters of Moab and Midian. Those are our worst enemies who draw us to sin, for that is the greatest mischief any man can do us. Israel's sin did that which all Balaam's enchantments could not do; it set God against them. Diseases are the fruits of God's anger, and the just punishments of prevailing sins; one infection follows the other. Ringleaders in sin ought to be made examples of justice.

Verses 6-15 Phinehas, in the courage of zeal and faith, executed vengeance on Zimri and Cozbi. This act can never be an example for private revenge, or religious persecution, or for irregular public vengeance.

Verses 16-18 We read not that any Midianites died of the plague; God punished them with the sword of an enemy, not with the rod of a father. We must set ourselves against whatever is an occasion of sin to us, ( matthew 5:29 matthew 5:30 ) . Whatever draws us to sin, should be a vexation to us, as a thorn in the flesh. And none will be more surely and severely punished than those who, after Satan's example, and with his subtlety, tempt others to sin.

Cross References 21

  • 1. Numbers 33:49; Joshua 2:1; Joshua 3:1; Micah 6:5
  • 2. [Numbers 31:16]
  • 3. Exodus 34:15, 16; Joshua 22:17; Psalms 106:28; Hosea 9:10; [1 Corinthians 10:20]
  • 4. See Deuteronomy 4:3
  • 5. [Deuteronomy 21:23; 2 Samuel 21:6; Galatians 3:13]
  • 6. ver. 11; Deuteronomy 13:17
  • 7. [Numbers 11:16; Exodus 18:21, 25]
  • 8. [Exodus 32:27]
  • 9. Joel 2:17
  • 10. Psalms 106:30
  • 11. Exodus 6:25
  • 12. Deuteronomy 4:3; [1 Corinthians 10:8]
  • 13. [2 Corinthians 11:2]
  • 14. Deuteronomy 32:16, 21; 1 Kings 14:22; Psalms 78:58; Zephaniah 1:18; Zephaniah 3:8; 1 Corinthians 10:22; [Exodus 20:5]
  • 15. Malachi 2:4, 5
  • 16. See 1 Chronicles 6:4-15
  • 17. Exodus 40:15
  • 18. Numbers 31:8; Joshua 13:21
  • 19. Numbers 31:2, 7
  • 20. Numbers 31:16; Revelation 2:14
  • 21. See Numbers 23:28

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


The contents of this chapter are, the sin of the people of Israel, their whoredom and idolatry, Nu 25:1-3, their punishment for it, multitudes being slain, Nu 25:4,5, whose number is given, Nu 25:9, the zeal of Phinehas in slaying two notorious offenders, Nu 25:6-8, whose names are observed, Nu 25:14,15 for which he is commended, and the covenant of priesthood was given and confirmed unto him, Nu 25:10-13, and the chapter is concluded with an order to vex the Midianites, for vexing Israel with their wiles, Nu 25:16-18.

Numbers 25 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.