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The influence of Balaam is revealed in what is now recorded. The words of Jesus in His letter to the Church at Pergamum, quoted in our last note, are closely connected with the statement with which this chapter opens. "The people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab: for they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods."
This action would appear to have been one of simple neighborliness.
Tarrying in the vicinity of the Moabites, they attended their sacrifices and bowed down at their worship.
In doing this they were violating the principle of Balaam's first vision of them as a people dwelling alone. It was an act of rebellion against God and so a corruption of the Covenant.
The account of the action of Phinehas the priest is a revelation of how one man in loyalty to God and jealous for His honor may stand against the false attitude of a people. Phinehas dared to refuse to take part in these false conventionalities and visited with immediate and terrible punishment the two notorious wrongdoers. His action stayed the plague and saved the nation.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Numbers 25". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34