Commentary on "Immorality on the Border"
Day 5: Wednesday, December 9, 2009, "Open Sin"
God had just commanded that all the leaders responsible for this apostasy must be killed (hung or impaled). The people were “weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting”. This indicates that they were repentant but hadn’t fully carried out God’s command to kill all the chiefs. What is important to understand is that they were now willing to approach God and surrender their unbelief.
Once again we seem to be diverted with unbiblical statements. Contrary to what the lesson implies the Hebrew nation had no king and thus, no royalty until the time of King Saul and King David. See I Samuel Chapter Eight. The chiefs mentioned in this lesson were not princes nor were they sons of princes. More importantly, God’s authority was administered through the Levitical priesthood (Aaron’s line) supplemented by prophets and judges raised up from time to time directly by God. Also, the Biblical text makes no mention that the people were “pleading”, only that they were “weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting”. One has to wonder where these extra-biblical statements and concepts come from if they are not to be found in Scripture.
Returning to the Biblical account:
In Num. 25:4, Moses instructs them to kill all the chiefs. Then, in Num. 25:5, he states that those who yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor must also die.
Today’s lesson really starts at verse six where we see the people weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Zimri, the son of one of the chiefs, whose father no doubt had just been slain, blatantly in full view of the whole congregation brings a Midianite woman into camp and into his tent. Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, responds by going in and impales them with a javelin. His action is the completion of what God commanded, but 24,000 had died before the plague was over.
We can conclude that all of the chiefs had now died because God brings the plague to an end. Looking ahead in the next several chapters, we learn that all the adults who rebelled in unbelief forty years earlier were now dead. In their “weeping” we see that those who remained alive have repented at the tent of meeting and were ready to be led by God.
GO TO DAY 6
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