Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Numbers 25:6

Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Fear of God;   Fellowship;   Israel;   Miscegenation;   Tabernacle;   Women;   Zimri;   Thompson Chain Reference - Chastity-Impurity;   Lasciviousness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Alliance and Society with the Enemies of God;   Midianites;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Idol, Idolatry;   Midianites;   Moabites;   Phinehas;   Simeon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Midian;   Phinehas;   Priest;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Congregation;   Phinehas;   Zimri;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Delilah;   Midian;   Numbers, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Brothers;   Crimes and Punishments;   High Priest;   Midian, Midianites;   Numbers, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Baal-Peor;   Beth-Peor;   Moses;   Phinehas;   Zimri;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Marriage;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Midian, Midianites ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Balaam;   Phinehas;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Baal;   Phinehas;   Shittim;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ba'al,;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Peculiarities of the Law of Moses;   On to Canaan;   Moses, the Man of God;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cozbi;   Midianitish Woman;   Moses;   Phinehas;   Zimri (1);   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Baal;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Balaam;   Crime;   ;   Judaism;   Moses;   Phinehas;   Schlemihl;   Sidra;   Simeon;   Simeon, Tribe of;   Zimri;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

One of the children of Israel - Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief family in the tribe of Simeon, Numbers 25:14, brought a Midianitish woman, Cozbi, daughter of Zur, head over a people of one of the chief families in Midian, Numbers 25:15. The condition of these two persons plainly proves it to have been a matrimonial alliance, the one was a prince, the other a princess; therefore I must conclude that fornication or whoredom, in the common sense of the word, was not practiced on this occasion. The matter was bad enough, as the marriage was in flat opposition to the law of God; and we need not make it worse by representing the woman as a common prostitute, as the Vulgate and several others have done. In such a case this is absolutely inadmissible. Josephus positively says that Zimri had married Cozbi, Antiq., 1. iv., cap. 6; and if he had not said so, still the thing is nearly self-evident. See Numbers 24:25; (note).

The children of Israel, who were weeping - This aggravated the crime, because the people were then in a state of great humiliation, because of the late impure and illegal transactions.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/numbers-25.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A Midianite woman - literally, “the Midianite woman,” the particular one by whom he had been enticed (compare Numbers 25:15 and Numbers 31:18). Her high rank proves that Zimri had not fallen in with her by mere chance, but had been deliberately singled out by the Midianites as one whom they must at any price lead astray.

Weeping before the door of the tabernacle - The plague Numbers 25:9 had already broken out among the people: and the more God-fearing had assembled at the door of the tabernacle of God (compare the marginal reference.) to intercede for mercy, when Zimri committed the fresh and public outrage just described.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/numbers-25.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the pavilion, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died by the plague Were twenty and four thousand. This very brief account centers around the daring execution of Zimri by Phinehas; but the implications of it are extensive. Zimri's importance and the rank of Cozbi are not mentioned till the last of the chapter. The most astounding thing here is that God honored this brutal execution by halting the plague that had already begun raging among the people. More on this later. It is evident that the words "in the sight of Moses" and "in the sight of all the congregation" indicate a frontal challenge to Mosaic authority and an open invitation for all Israel to follow Zimri."

From this instance, and from the example of Samuel's slaying of Agag, the Jews formulated what they called the "jus zelotarum," by which, any person seeing another in the very act of violating divine law might take vengeance into his own hand and slay the offender. God authorized no such thing. It was under this corrupt law (so-called) that the Jews stoned the Christian martyr Stephen to death, and under which, more than once, they tried to stone the Christ himself. The blind error of the Jews on this is that they failed to see why God commended Phinehas. It certainly was not for his taking justice into his own hands. It was his zeal that God commended. The next paragraph deals with God's commendation of Phinehas.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "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, behold, one of the children of Israel came,.... From one of the cities of Moab or Midian, the latter rather, by what follows; where he had been, very probably, to an idolatrous feast, and had eaten of the sacrifices, and worshipped idols, and committed fornication with the daughters of the land; and not content with indulging himself with those impurities at a distance and where he was less known:

brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman; into his father's family, into a tent where his brethren dwelt:

in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel; in the most open and undisguised manner, into the midst of the camp, passing by Moses, and a great number of the people, who were gathered together on this solemn occasion, to seek the Lord, and humble themselves before him:

who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; the place where the people used to assemble together for religious exercises; here they were weeping and mourning for the sins and abominations that were committed among them, and on account of the punishment inflicted on many of them, by the hand of the civil magistrate, and because of the plague that was broke out upon them, from an angry God; by which it appears, that though there were many who had fallen into those foul sins, yet there were a great number which were not defiled with them, and sighed and cried for the abominations in the midst of them: and because the fact here recorded was such an amazing piece of impudence, the word "behold" is prefixed to the account of it, it being done in such a public, bold, and audacious manner, and at such a time, when so many had been hanged up for it, and the plague of God was broke out among the people on account of it, and good men were bewailing the sin, and the punishment of it; and if this was on a sabbath day, as the Samaritan ChronicleF24Apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 448. relates, it was a further aggravation of it.

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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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-25.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, e who [were] weeping [before] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

(e) Repenting that they had offended God.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-25.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

It is hardly possible to conceive any act so daring as this. But, alas! what is not the human heart capable of perpetrating, when given up to its own lusts! That is a most awful scripture which saith, Let Ephraim alone he is joined to his idols. Hosea 4:17. Reader! put it down as a sure maxim: when the LORD ceases to correct, destruction is at hand. See those Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 11:32; Amos 3:2 compared with Isaiah 1:5.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/numbers-25.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

One came — This was done, when Moses had given the charge to the Judges, and, as it may seem, before the execution of it; otherwise it is probable he would not have been so foolish to have run upon certain ruin, when the examples were frequent before his eyes.

To his brethren — Into the camp of the Israelites.

In the sight of Moses — An argument of intolerable impudence and contempt of God and of Moses.

Weeping — Bewailing the wickedness of the people, and the dreadful judgments of God, and imploring God's mercy and favour.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/numbers-25.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 25:6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who [were] weeping [before] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Ver. 6. In the sight of Moses.] This man’s face was hatched over with detestable impudence; he thought, it may be, that being so great a man, none durst meddle with him. Pliny (a) reports of Proculus Caesar, that by him, viginti virgines intra dies quindecim faetum conceperunt. Louis II of France inviting our Edward IV to the French court, Recte erit cognate, saith he, iucundi vivemus et suaviter, teque oblectabis cum lectissimis faeminis, &c. - he should have added, "But know, that for all these things thou must come to judgment": [Ecclesiastes 11:9] that would have haply allayed his lust, cooled his courage, and not have come in with his - Adhibebo tibi Cardinalem Borbonium; is, quicquid peccaris, pro ea quam habet potestate, facile expiabit. Thou shalt take thy full pleasure, and then my cardinal shall give thee full pardon. (b)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/numbers-25.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Numbers 25:6. One of the children of Israel came and brought, &c.— One cannot conceive a higher degree of insolence and wickedness than this of Zimri; who thought, perhaps, that the eminence of his rank would secure him from punishment, even though he should carry his crime to the greatest height. Nothing could shew a stronger contempt of Moses's authority, and of the God who gave him that authority.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/numbers-25.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This was done, either,

1. Before God’s command to Moses, and by him to the judges, Numbers 25:4,5, such transpositions and disorders being not unusual in sacred story. Or rather,

2. In the order it is related, to wit, when Moses had given the charge to the judges, and, as it may seem, before the execution of it, otherwise it is probable he would not have been so bold and foolish to have run upon present and certain ruin, when the examples were fresh and frequent before his eyes.

Unto his brethren, i.e. into the camp of the Israelites, or to his friends and relations in his tent, whither he carried her; Numbers 25:8, for his or their fleshly satisfaction.

In the sight of Moses; an argument of intolerable impudence and contempt of God and of Moses.

All the congregation, i.e. the rulers of the congregation with divers of the people.

Weeping; bewailing the abominable wickedness of the people, and the dreadful judgments of God, and imploring God’s mercy and favour.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/numbers-25.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

A Midianitish Woman Is Brought Into the Camp by a Simeonite Chieftain (Numbers 25:6).

Numbers 25:6

‘And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought to his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting.’

But even while the judges were meeting, and there was weeping at the door of the Tent of meeting, because of the sin of Israel and presumably because of the plague which had now broken out, ‘one of the children of Israel’ (a Simeonite chieftain - see Numbers 25:14) boldly and blatantly brought into the camp a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses and all who were gathered before Yahweh. He appears to have had no shame in the matter. He presented her to his brethren before taking her to his ‘pavilion’ or inner portion of the tent. His open and brash involvement with the Midianite women was made very clear. It was high handed sin.

Prior to this it would appear that all the ‘sinning’ occurred outside the camp. So this was an increase in offence by the introduction of idolatrous behaviour into the holy camp of Yahweh. That was what justified Phinehas’ instant action.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/numbers-25.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 25:6. Behold one came — This was done when Moses had given the charge to the judges, and, as it may seem, before the execution of it; otherwise it is probable he would not have been so foolish as to have run upon certain ruin, when the examples were frequent before his eyes. To his brethren — Into the camp of the Israelites. In the sight of Moses — An argument of intolerable impudence and contempt of God and of Moses. Weeping — Bewailing the wickedness of the people, and the dreadful judgments of God, and imploring God’s mercy and favour.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/numbers-25.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

One, Zambri, ver. 14. (Menochius) --- Went in. Hebrew, "brought unto his brethren, or came....with a woman of Madian." Septuagint, "introduced one of his brethren to a Madianite woman." But the Samaritan copy agrees with the Vulgate; and the ancient edition of the Septuagint must have done so too, since the Fathers explain it in the same sense. (Philo, de vita Mos.; Origen; &c.) Josephus ([Antiquities?] iv. 6,) pretends that Zambri had married the most noble Cozbi, and that Moses finding fault with such infractions of this laws, this prince of the house of Simeon, arraigned him publicly of cruel tyranny and imposture in thus imposing his own laws upon a free people, adn that for his part, he would retain his wife and ingratiate himself with many gods, that he might discover the truth. Phinees heard this with just indignation, and following him to his tent, transfixed him with Cozbi, his wife, while those young men who were desirous of imitating his zeal, treated similar offenders in like manner. "God destroyed the rest by the plague, so that not less than 14,000 perished," as Epiphanius translates, omitting dis, or ten thousand, though many copies have only 23,000, which agrees with the number specified by St. Paul, if indeed he allude to this transaction, 1 Corinthians x. 7. Philo observes, that Phinees slew the Israelite who had sacrificed to the idols, and was in the company of the harlot; and, "that 24,000 perished in one day." (Haydock) --- Perhaps 1000 of the heads might be gibbeted, and 23,000 of the common people slain. (Du Hamel)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/numbers-25.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

children = sons.

who = and they.

door = entrance. Hebrew. "ohel. App-40.

tabernacle = tent.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "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, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Behold, one of the children of Israel ... brought. This flagitious act most probably occurred about the time when the order was given, or at least before its execution; and the very fact of so gross an immorality being publicly and unblushingly committed by a prince of one of the tribes, shows the frightful extent of the corruption that prevailed.

Weeping before the door. Some of the rulers and well-disposed persons were deploring the dreadful wickedness of the people, and supplicating the mercy of God to avert impending judgments. Such public lamentations on account of national sins, at the entrance into the sanctuary, were frequent, and allowed at all times, except on festivals (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 11:, ch. 5:, sec. 5).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/numbers-25.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
a Midianitish
14,15; 22:4; 31:2,9-16
in the sight of Moses
15:30,31; Deuteronomy 29:19-21; Jeremiah 3:3; 8:12; 36:23; 42:15-18; 43:4-7; Jeremiah 44:16,17; 2 Peter 2:13-15; Jude 1:13
weeping
Judges 2:4; Ezra 9:1-4; 10:6-9; Isaiah 22:12; Ezekiel 9:4-6; Joel 2:17
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 16:22 - went in;  1 Kings 11:18 - Midian;  2 Kings 22:19 - wept;  1 Chronicles 1:32 - Midian;  1 Chronicles 6:4 - Phinehas;  Psalm 94:16 - rise up;  Psalm 106:30 - GeneralProverbs 7:13 - she;  Isaiah 57:5 - Enflaming;  Acts 17:16 - his spirit;  1 Corinthians 5:2 - mourned;  2 Corinthians 11:29 - and I burn

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-25.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.And, behold, one of the children of Israel came. Moses here relates a case which was foul and detestable beyond others. There is no doubt but that many, in the midst of such gross licentiousness as had now for some time generally prevailed, had filled the camp with various scandalous offenses; but there was something peculiarly enormous in the atrocity of this act, in that this impious despiser of God wantonly insulted both God and men amidst the tears and lamentations of all, as if he were triumphing over all shame and modesty. The multitude were weeping before the tabernacle, that is to say, all the pious who trembled at the thought of approaching calamity, since they were fully persuaded that this licentiousness, accompanied by idolatry and sacrilege, would not be unpunished; meanwhile, this abandoned man rushes forward, and, in mockery of their tears, leads his harlot in procession as it were. No wonder, therefore, that God should have exercised such severity, when things had come to this extremity. But it must be observed that the order of the history is inverted, since it is not credible that, after the Judges had begun to perform their office, such an iniquity should be committed. But this narrative is thus inserted, in order that it may be more apparent how necessary it was to proceed speedily to severe chastisement, since otherwise it would have been impossible to apply a remedy in time to so desperate an evil.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Numbers 25:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/numbers-25.html. 1840-57.