Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Numbers 25:1

While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Fellowship;   Idolatry;   Israel;   Miscegenation;   Moabites;   Shittim;   Thompson Chain Reference - Moabites;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Alliance and Society with the Enemies of God;   Desert, Journey of Israel through the;   Idolatry;   Midianites;   Moabites;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abelshittim;   Balaam;   Harlot;   Idol, Idolatry;   Midianites;   Miracle;   Moabites;   Phinehas;   Simeon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Idol, idolatry;   Phinehas;   Priest;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Destroy, Destruction;   Kill, Killing;   Marriage;   Prostitution;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abel-Shittim;   Phinehas;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abel-Shittim;   Delilah;   Idol;   Moab;   Wilderness of the Wanderings;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Beth-Peor;   Crimes and Punishments;   Fornication;   Lord;   Midian, Midianites;   Nicolaitans;   Numbers, Book of;   Shittim;   Typology;   Zimri;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abel-Shittim;   Beth-Peor;   Idolatry;   Moses;   Numbers, Book of;   Phinehas;   Shittim;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baalpeor ;   Balaam;   Daughter;   Shittim ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Baal-peor;   Balaam;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Abel-shittim;   Baal;   Moab;   Shittim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ba'laam;   Shit'tim;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Abel-Shittim;   Balaam;   Barrenness;   Moab;   Nicolaitans;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Peculiarities of the Law of Moses;   On to Canaan;   Moses, the Man of God;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abel-Shittim;   Alliance;   Baal (1);   Balaam;   Beth-Peor;   Crime;   Heredity;   Meadow;   Shittim;   Zimri (1);   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abel-shittim;   Baal;   Bastard;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abel-Shittim;   Acacia;   Balaam;   Bemidbar Rabbah;   Chastity;   Judaism;   Revelation (Book of);   Sacrifice;   Satan;   Shittim;   Sidra;   Simeon, Tribe of;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The records of the neighboring cities of the plain, and the circumstances of the origin of Moab (Genesis 19:30 ff) suggest that the people among whom Israel was now thrown were more than ordinarily licentious.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/numbers-25.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

The great importance of this chapter arises from the pivotal nature of it in the subsequent history of Israel. Right here began the religious apostasy of Israel that was to continue for centuries, resulting in the total corruption: (1) of the Northern Israel, and (2) later of the Southern Israel also, with the result that both nations went into captivity, and only the southern remnant survived. A careful study of the episode also reveals the basis of Israel's rejection of their sacred covenant with God. It simply came down to this, that the people rejected the strict moral requirements of the Decalogue.

Not all of this appears on the surface of the narrative, but it is clear enough that we are not dealing with two different episodes, but with one, and in order to appreciate the more comprehensive event and the relationship of the two phases of it appearing in this chapter to the total situation, some reading between the lines is necessary. A failure to do this is sure to result in the most ridiculous conclusions, as, for example, that of Marsh:

"This chapter contains two stories, from JE and P respectively, concerning Israel's intercourse with foreign women and the consequent idolatry. The first, featuring Moabite women, lacks an ending; the second, introducing Midianite women, has no beginning. The interests of the two stories are widely different."[1]

That such conclusions are absolutely false has been known for ages. As Keil stated it, "There is no discrepancy in these `two' accounts. The points offered as proof of such assertions fall to the ground when the history is correctly explained."[2] Even Martin Noth who frequently followed a critical pattern in his commentaries stated that, "There is a lack of any convincing indications which would enable us to divide the narrative into various `sources,' (as J or P)."[3]

It is easy enough to reconstruct the larger narrative of which the seemingly isolated events of this chapter are vital ingredients. First, the Moabites and the Midianites were allies, their kingdoms at the moment being under a common ruler, Balak, a Midianite who was also king of Moab.[4] Balak was serving the interests of both Midian and Moab by his seeking to frustrate the progress of Israel. Balaam had not succeeded in cursing Israel, but his hatred of God's people was an invariable element in his activities first to last. Therefore, Balak and Balaam eventually teamed up in the plot for the seduction of Israel. Hengstenberg supposed that Balaam's suggestion for using the Moabite women as instruments of their seduction (Numbers 31:16), came about as follows:

"Balaam having failed to get all those rich rewards he had hoped to get from Balak, decided that he would try to get them from the Israelites. So he went to Moses and told him all about his blessing Israel so many times and the prophecies about their triumphs over Moab and other enemies, and then asked Moses to pay him rich rewards! Moses refused, and then Balaam went back to Balak and said, "Well, I cannot curse Israel, but I can tell you how to bring them down by seduction." We see how this diabolical plot worked out in this chapter."[5]

Such happenings are not related in the Bible, but even Keil allowed the "possibility" that that is exactly what happened. True, only the Moabite women are mentioned first, but the Midianites came through on schedule with their part of the plot also, when Cozbi, a Midianite princess, married one of the princes of Israel, Zimri, who was the spokesman and outstanding leader of an all-out rebellion against Moses and the Decalogue which he protested and repudiated in its entirety, declaring it not to have been from God at all, but only from Moses! With the understanding of such a background, strongly supported by the most vigorous statements in the word of God, it is easy to see that we have one narrative here and not two, and that the whole rebellion and apostasy against God in evidence here was part of the evil work of Balaam, "who loved the wages of unrighteousness."

"And Israel abode in Shittim; and 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. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them up unto Jehovah before the sun, that the fierce anger of Jehovah may turn away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye everyone his men that have joined themselves unto Baal-peor."

"Shittim ..." This means "Acacia Trees."[6] It was the very last stopping place of Israel prior to crossing the Jordan (Joshua 2:1; 3:1). It was not very far from Mount Peor, from which the last effort of Balaam to curse Israel was attempted. It is thought that a special shrine or temple to Baal-peor was located on the top of it.

"Gods ..." are mentioned in Numbers 25:2; but only Baal-Peor is mentioned in Numbers 25:3. The Baalim were in fact plural and consisted of many `gods.' Here the noted Baal-Peor stands for all of them. These pagan gods were worshipped with the most abominable sexual ceremonies in which the people acted out the mating of their fertility gods, supposing that such orgies led to abundant crops, etc.

The particularly Satanic action of this chapter appears in the "design" and purpose of the event. Having already broken over to "commit whoredom" with the seductive women of Moab, it was natural enough that the women should have invited the Jews to attend the services of "their gods"! It appears that this "party" was a howling success indeed with a thousand of the judges of Israel among the invited guests! This was the purpose of the Midianite-Moabite conspiracy from the beginning.

"To play the harlot with the daughters of Moab ... (Numbers 25:1). Orlinsky rendered this: "They profaned themselves by whoring."[7]

WHY ISRAEL DID THIS

At this point, we shall address the question of what actually lay behind this conduct, and the whole conception of implacable hatred against God's people by the pagan nations. All of it went back to the strict moral code of the Decalogue. In a pagan world organized around the temples of Aphrodite, Bacchus, a host of Baals, and a whole stable of pagan gods and goddesses, where the sale and exploitation of sex and all other vices was their appeal, their source of income, and the evil evangelistic apparatus of their orgiastic religion ... what a challenge the pure morality of the Decalogue presented to that kind of world! No wonder the world of that day hated it.

Israel had been in the wilderness environment for forty years, and now that renewed conflict with the pagan world was available, many found the temptation more than they could overcome. That the Moabite-Midianite conspiracy was aimed squarely at breaking the influence of the Decalogue in Israel cannot for a moment be doubted. Josephus has a very interesting account of the part played by Zimri. In no sense was he just an innocent who became enamoured with a beautiful princess. No, he was a rebel against God! In a great assembly before all the people, Zimri said the Ten Commandments were not of God, but of Moses, and that Moses had made up those laws himself, and that he was "harder on the Hebrews than were the Egyptians themselves"! Zimri further boasted that he had "married a strange woman" and that "of course, he had sacrificed to her gods," saying, "I think it is right to seek the truth by inquiring of many people (gods) and not of merely one."[8] It is certain that Zimri had a large popular following. Josephus stated that unless he had been executed, the contagion might have become far greater.

There is a textual problem with just who were hanged before God in the sun, following God's command to Moses. Whitelaw stated unequivocally that there is no authority for reading "them" in Numbers 25:4 as a reference to any except the judges. The lines in Numbers 25:5 that mention those "who have joined themselves unto Baal-Peor" merely state what the offense of the judges was.[9] With the subsequent death of 23,000 by the plague, when added to the thousand judges that were "hanged," the total number comes to 24,000. Paul devoted a significant part of 1 Corinthians 10 to the events of this chapter, in fact, shedding additional light upon what the people here did.

"Hang them up ..." Many scholars agree that the mode of execution here is not certainly known. Orlinsky rendered it, "impaled."[10] Many believe that the exposure of the bodies "in the sun" was merely to advertise the penalty and not for the purpose of causing death, that being inflicted before the impaling.

The severe penalty executed upon the incompetent judges who had not only made no move to prevent such a defection but who had actually participated in it themselves, along with the announced fierce anger of Jehovah brought the host of Israel into a great public convocation where the people were weeping and pleading for God's anger to be turned away from them. Right in the midst of that pitiful and tragic situation, the rebellious advocate of Satan himself, Zimri, made his daring attempt to take the people away from Moses. The next paragraph tells how. As Noth stated it, "A certain amount has to be read between the lines to understand what follows."[11]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/numbers-25.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Israel abode in Shittim,.... A place in the plains of Moab, so called from the shittim wood, which grew here in great abundance, so often mentioned in the building of the tabernacle; which was a sort of white thorn, or rather the acacia tree, since there was scarcely any thing else grew in the deserts of Arabia; see Gill on Exodus 25:5 its full name was Abelshittim, Numbers 33:49, here the Israelites abode even to the death of Moses, for this was their last station in the wilderness; they were now on the borders of the land of Canaan, and just ready to enter into it, which is an aggravation of the sins they here fell into, and are next observed:

and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab; and of Midian also, as appears from Numbers 25:6 by the advice of Balaam, the Moabites and Midianites found ways and means to become familiar with the Israelites, and to introduce their daughters into their company and conversation, and being ensnared and enamoured with them, they were drawn to commit lewdness with them, and hereby were led on to commit other abominations, which brought the divine displeasure upon them; so that what they dared not attempt by war, and could not effect by sorceries and divinations, they accomplished by those iniquitous arts, namely, bringing the wrath, the curse, and plague of God upon them.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-25.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the a daughters of Moab.

(a) With the women.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-25.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Numbers 25:1-18. The Israelites‘ whoredom and idolatry with Moab.

Israel abode in Shittim — a verdant meadow, so called from a grove of acacia trees which lined the eastern side of the Jordan. (See Numbers 33:49).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/numbers-25.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

A melancholy relation is contained in this Chapter. The children of Israel fall into idolatry. The LORD'S visitation in a way of judgment follows. Phinehas distinguisheth himself amidst the general corruption in his zeal for the LORD'S honor, and is solemnly blessed of GOD for it.

Numbers 25:1

Reader! pause over this verse and seriously reflect, what various foes the LORD'S Israel in all ages have to contend with. Neither Balaam's curse nor Balak's sword could hurt Israel, but their own lusts did more injury than both. What hath not the sensual passions of the heart accomplished! It was a saying of one of the ancient fathers, LORD, keep me from that evil man, myself. Depend upon it we have more to fear from our own corrupt passions, than from the malice of all our enemies. And more cause to suspect danger from a smiling, than from a frowning world. But let the Reader recollect what Scripture tells us concerning Balaam, it was from his advice that Balak sent his enticing women to seduce Israel, and cast the stumbling block of iniquity before them. Revelation 2:14.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/numbers-25.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.

Shittim — And this was their last station, from whence they passed immediately into Canaan. This is noted as a great aggravation of their sin, that they committed it, when God was going to put them into the possession of their long-expected land.

The people — Many of them.

Whoredom — Either because they prostituted themselves to them upon condition of worshipping their God: or because their filthy God was worshipped by such filthy acts, as Priapus and Venus were.

The daughters of Moab — And of Midian too; for both these people being confederated in this wicked design, the one is put for the other, and the daughters of Moab may be named, either because they began the transgression, or because they were the chief persons, possibly, the relations or courtiers of Balak.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/numbers-25.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.

Ver. 1. To commit whoredom.] By the wicked counsel of Balaam, who knew well, that no one means hath more enriched hell than beautiful faces, and therefore taught Balak to lay this stumblingblock before the children of Israel; and is therein held by some to have sinned against the Holy Ghost. Howsoever he goes out in a stench, as it is usually said of his master the devil.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/numbers-25.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

NUMBERS CHAPTER 25

The Israelites’ whoredom and idolatry: God commands the guilty to be put to death, Numbers 25:1-5. A plague: Phinehas’s zeal; for which God promises him the priesthood, Numbers 25:6-15. God commands the Midianites to be slain for this their treachery in drawing the people to sin, Numbers 25:16-18.

Shittim; a place called more largely Abel-shittim, Numbers 33:49, it being usual with the Hebrews to abbreviate long proper names, as Hermon is put for Baal-hermon, Jude 3:3, Tholad for El-tholad, Joshua 19:4, Nimrim, Isaiah 15:6 for Beth-nimrim, Numbers 32:36. And this was their last station, from whence they passed immediately into Canaan. So this is here noted as a great aggravation of their sin, that they committed it when God was going to put them into the possession of their long-expected and much-desired land.

The people; not all, but many of them, as appears from Deuteronomy 4:3,4 1 Corinthians 10:8.

To commit whoredom, both corporally and spiritually, either because they prostituted themselves to them upon condition of worshipping their god; or because their filthy god was worshipped by such filthy acts, as Priapus and Venus were.

Of Moab, and of Midian too, as is evident from Numbers 25:6,17,18 Num 31:16; for both these people being confederated in this wicked design, the one is put for the other; and the daughters of Moab may be named, either because they began fine transgression, or because they were the chief persons, possibly, the relations or courtiers of Balak king of Moab.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/numbers-25.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 25:1. Israel abode in Shittim — And this was their last station, from whence they passed immediately into Canaan. This is noted as a great aggravation of their sin, that they committed it when God was going to put them into the possession of their long-expected land. The people — Many of them. Whoredom — Either because these women prostituted themselves to them upon condition of worshipping their god, or because their filthy god was worshipped by such filthy acts as Priapus and Venus were. The daughters of Moab — And of Midian too; for both these people being confederated in this wicked design, the one is put for the other, and the daughters of Moab may be named, either because they began the transgression, or because they were the chief persons, probably the relations, or courtiers of Balak.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/numbers-25.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Settim, which had Abel, "mourning," prefixed to it, (chap. xxxiii. 49,) on account of the slaughter of 24,000 of the Israelites, ver. 6, 9. It was situated in the plains of Moab, near the Jordan, and was the last station of the Hebrews. (Calmet) --- In this neighbourhood all the following transactions occurred, which are recorded, till the end of the Pentateuch. (Menochius) --- Balaam, being convinced that the Hebrews would be invincible, as long as they continued faithful to God, advised the nations, who had sent to consult him, to let their daughters converse freely with the Israelites, but not to yield to their impure desires, unless they consented to offer sacrifice to their idols. (Calmet) --- Thus they first captivated their hearts, and then subverted their understanding: For some rejecting a good conscience, have made shipwreck concerning the faith, 1 Timothy i. 19. (Haydock) --- By the same method many have been drawn into heresy. (Worthington) --- The counsels of an able but wicked man, are often followed by the most dreadful effects. That these women were sent by the Moabites, and also by the Madianites, (ver. 6, 17,) instigated by the perverse counsels of Balaam, (Calmet) appears not only from the event being recorded in this place, but also by the express declaration of Moses, chap. xxxi. 7, 8, and of the Apocalypse, chap. ii. 14. (Salien, Mic. vi. 5.) (Haydock)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/numbers-25.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

abode: i.e. till after Moses" death. Compare Joshua 2:1; Joshua 3:1, and see Micah 6:5.

Shittim. Called Abel-shittim in Numbers 33:49.

with = to (Hebrew. "el). Requiring the supply of the Ellipsis "to join themselves to", from Numbers 25:3.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/numbers-25.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. Israel abode in Shittim [ ba-ShiTiym (Hebrew #7851)] - always with the article prefixed (Joshua 2:1; Joshua 3:1); fully expressed [ nachal (Hebrew #5158) ha-ShiTiym (Hebrew #7851)] (Joel 3:18, where, however, the name is believed to be applied to another locality, or to be used symbolically) - the wady or valley of acacias, or [ 'Aabeel-ha-ShiTiym (Hebrew #63)] (Numbers 33:49), the meadow (shaded by the acacias-a verdant meadow on the plains of Moab, on the eastern side of the Jordan (see the note at Numbers 22:1). Josephus, who calls it Abila, describes the place as about sixty stadia from that river ('Antiquities,' b. 4:, ch. 8:, sec. 1; also b.5:, ch. 1:, sec. 1), while Eusebius and Jerome ('Onomast.,' art. 'Sattim') represent it as lying in close contiguity to mount Peor. Modern travelers estimate its width at about five miles. It was most probably a part of, or identical with, "the valley over against Beth-peor" (cf. Numbers 33:48-49; Deuteronomy 1:1; Deuteronomy 3:29; Deuteronomy 4:46), which appears to have separated Wady Sha'il from Wady Hesban (Robinson's 'Physical Geography,' p. 75). The pass of Hesban, down which the Israelites came from the mountains to this plain, is a descent of 3,000 feet.

With the daughters of Moab. They were entrapped into this wickedness by a deeply-contrived scheme of seduction. It was a political device of the Midianites, who artfully employed the agency of Moabite women, as, on many accounts, the better fitted for carrying their plan for the ruin of Israel into execution. Their kindred origin, their friendly disposition toward the Israelites in allowing them a passage through their territory (Deuteronomy 2:29), and the ripening acquaintance between the two peoples, to which the protracted encampment on the plains of Moab had led, suggested the expedient of enlisting the blandishments of "the daughters of Moab" to break down the barrier that separated the nation of Israel from the indigenous people around them.

The Midianites were the guilty authors and the active promoters of this villanous plot (Numbers 25:6; Numbers 25:14; Numbers 25:17; Numbers 31:2-3); but "the daughters of Moab" are put prominently forward in the commencement of this narrative, because, Moab being nearer the camp of Israel, there was more frequent communicaton between the people of both; and also because Moab, as the greater power in the transjordanic confederacy, included the Midianites.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/numbers-25.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XXV.

(1) Abode in Shittim—i.e., Abel-Shittim (Numbers 33:49). (See Note on Numbers 22:1.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/numbers-25.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
Shittim
33:49; Joshua 2:1; 3:1; Micah 6:5
the people
31:15,16; Ecclesiastes 7:26; 1 Corinthians 10:8
Reciprocal: Exodus 23:32 - nor with;  Exodus 34:16 - GeneralExodus 36:20 - shittim wood;  Numbers 7:15 - GeneralDeuteronomy 4:3 - what the;  1 Kings 11:2 - surely;  Ezra 9:1 - Moabites;  Psalm 78:32 - they sinned;  Psalm 106:28 - joined;  Proverbs 5:14 - GeneralProverbs 7:13 - she;  Proverbs 23:28 - increaseth;  Isaiah 2:6 - and they;  Isaiah 57:5 - Enflaming;  Jeremiah 5:7 - by troops;  Ezekiel 16:15 - and playedst;  Ezekiel 20:21 - the children;  Joel 3:18 - the valley;  Ephesians 5:3 - fornication;  Revelation 2:14 - Balaam;  Revelation 2:20 - and to seduce

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-25.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1And Israel abode in Shittim. From this narrative we learn assuredly that the people were no more able to bear prosperity than adversity. Heretofore, either worn out by fatigue, or rendered impatient by abstinence and famine, they had often rebelled against God; now, when they have entered a habitable land, and are resting in the midst of fruitful fields, they are incited by their more comfortable dwelling-places, and more pleasant mode of life, to lasciviousness, and the indulgence of filthy lusts. Moses relates how, when they had given way to their lust, they fell at the same time into whoredom and idolatry. We shall presently see that this arose from the counsel of Balaam, that the Moabites should prostitute their women to the Israelites, in order to entice them by their blandishments to unholy worship. Balaam had learnt by experience that God’s favor was an invincible safeguard to protect the people from all injury. He, therefore, invents a plan whereby they may destroy themselves, by not only depriving themselves of God’s protection, but also by provoking His wrath against them. By this fan, then, Balaam stirred up the fire, which impelled these poor wretches, inflamed by blind lechery, to another crime, by which they might arouse against themselves the enmity of God. Consequently Paul, referring to this history, informs us that the punishment, which will be mentioned immediately, was inflicted upon them for fornication. (1 Corinthians 10:8.) For, although it was God’s design to avenge the violation of His worship, still it is fitting to examine into the origin and source of the evil. Just as, if a drunken man has killed a person, the murder will be imputed to his drunkenness, so Paul, seeing the Israelites impelled by fornication to idolatry, sets before us the punishment as a warning to deter us from fornication, which was the primary cause of their chastisement, and the means of their corruption. Since, then, the fall from one sin to another is so easy, let us hence learn to be more watchful, lest Satan should entangle us in his snares. Let us also observe that he creeps upon us by degrees in order to entrap us. The Moabitish damsels did not straightway solicit the Israelites to worship their idols, but first invite them to their banquets, and thus tempt them to idolatry; for, if mention had been made at first of idol-worship, perhaps they might have shuddered at the atrocity of the crime, to which they allowed themselves to be beguiled by degrees. Now, to be present at a feast which was celebrated in honor of false gods, was a kind of indirect renunciation of the true God; and when they had been attracted thus far, they threw aside all shame, and abandoned themselves to that extreme act whereby they transfer the honor due only to the one true God, to false and imaginary deities.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/numbers-25.html. 1840-57.