Numbers 25:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

King James Bible
And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

American Standard Version
And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And Israel was initiated to Beelphegor: upon which the Lord being angry,

English Revised Version
And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Israel joined himself to Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

Numbers 25:3 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The third saying relates to the Kenites, whose origin is involved in obscurity (see at Genesis 15:19), as there are no other Kenites mentioned in the whole of the Old Testament, with the exception of Genesis 15:19, than the Kenites who went to Canaan with Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses (Numbers 10:29.: see Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11; 1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29); so that there are not sufficient grounds for the distinction between Canaanitish and Midianitish Kenites, as Michaelis, Hengstenberg, and others suppose. The hypothesis that Balaam is speaking of Canaanitish Kenites, or of the Kenites as representatives of the Canaanites, is as unfounded as the hypothesis that by the Kenites we are to understand the Midianites, or that the Kenites mentioned here and in Genesis 15:19 are a branch of the supposed aboriginal Amalekites (Ewald). The saying concerning the Kenites runs thus: "Durable is thy dwelling-place, and thy nest laid upon the rock; for should Kain be destroyed until Asshur shall carry thee captive?" This saying "applies to friends and not to foes of Israel" (v. Hoffmann), so that it is perfectly applicable to the Kenites, who were friendly with Israel. The antithetical association of the Amalekites and Kenites answers perfectly to the attitude assumed at Horeb towards Israel, on the one hand by the Amalekites, and on the other hand by the Kenites, in the person of Jethro the leader of their tribe (see Exodus 17:8., Exodus 18). The dwelling-place of the Kenites was of lasting duration, because its nest was laid upon a rock (שׂים is a passive participle, as in 2 Samuel 13:32, and Obadiah 1:4). This description of the dwelling-place of the Kenites cannot be taken literally, because it cannot be shown that either the Kenites or the Midianites dwelt in inaccessible mountains, as the Edomites are said to have done in Obadiah 1:3-4; Jeremiah 49:16. The words are to be interpreted figuratively, and in all probability the figure is taken from the rocky mountains of Horeb, in the neighbourhood of which the Kenites led a nomade life before their association with Israel (see at Exodus 3:1). As v. Hoffmann correctly observes: "Kain, which had left its inaccessible mountain home in Horeb, enclosed as it was by the desert, to join a people who were only wandering in search of a home, by that very act really placed its rest upon a still safer rock." This is sustained in Numbers 24:22 by the statement that Kain would not be given up to destruction till Asshur carried it away into captivity. אם כּי does not mean "nevertheless." It signifies "unless" after a negative clause, whether the negation be expressed directly by לא, or indirectly by a question; and "only" where it is not preceded by either a direct or an indirect negation, as in Genesis 40:14; Job 42:8. The latter meaning, however, is not applicable here, because it is unsuitable to the עד־מה (until) which follows. Consequently אם yl can only be understood in the sense of "is it that," as in 1 Kings 1:27; Isaiah 29:16; Job 31:16, etc., and as introducing an indirect query in a negative sense: "For is it (the case) that Kain shall fall into destruction until...?" - equivalent to "Kain shall not be exterminated until Asshur shall carry him away into captivity;" Kain will only be overthrown by the Assyrian imperial power. Kain, the tribe-father, is used poetically for the Kenite, the tribe of which he was the founder. בּער, to exterminate, the sense in which it frequently occurs, as in Deuteronomy 13:6; Deuteronomy 17:7, etc. (cf. 2 Samuel 4:11; 1 Kings 22:47). - For the fulfilment of this prophecy we are not to look merely to the fact that one branch of the Kenites, which separated itself, according to Judges 4:11, from its comrades in the south of Judah, and settled in Naphtali near Kadesh, was probably carried away into captivity by Tiglath-Pileser along with the population of Galilee (2 Kings 15:29); but the name Asshur, as the name of the first great kingdom of the world, which rose up from the east against the theocracy, is employed, as we may clearly see from Numbers 24:24, to designate all the powers of the world which took their rise in Asshur, and proceeded forth from it (see also Ezra 6:22, where the Persian king is still called king of Asshur or Assyria). Balaam did not foretell that this worldly power would oppress Israel also, and lead it into captivity, because the oppression of the Israelites was simply a transitory judgment, which served to refine the nation of God and not to destroy it, and which was even appointed according to the counsel of God to open and prepare the way for the conquest of the kingdoms of the world by the kingdom of God. To the Kenites only did the captivity become a judgment of destruction; because, although on terms of friendship with the people of Israel, and outwardly associated with them, yet, as is clearly shown by 1 Samuel 15:6, they never entered inwardly into fellowship with Israel and Jehovah's covenant of grace, but sought to maintain their own independence side by side with Israel, and thus forfeited the blessing of God which rested upon Israel.

(Note: This simple but historically established interpretation completely removes the objection, "that Balaam could no more foretell destruction to the friends of Israel than to Israel itself," by which Kurtz would preclude the attempt to refer this prophecy to the Kenites, who were in alliance with Israel. His further objections to v. Hoffmann's view are either inconclusive, or at any rate do not affect the explanation that we have given.)

Numbers 25:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

all the heads

Numbers 25:14,15,18 Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu...

Exodus 18:25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds...

Deuteronomy 4:3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor...

Joshua 22:17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day...

Joshua 23:2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers...

and hang. Dr. Kennicott remarks, that the Samaritan and Hebrew texts must be united to make the sense of this verse complete: And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto all the heads of the people; and let them slay the men that were joined to Baal-peor; and hang them up before the Lord, against the sun.

Deuteronomy 13:6-9,13,15 If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend...

Deuteronomy 21:23 His body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall in any wise bury him that day...

2 Samuel 21:6,9 Let seven men of his sons be delivered to us, and we will hang them up to the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose...

Esther 7:9,10 And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high...

that the fierce

Numbers 25:11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel...

Deuteronomy 13:17 And there shall stick nothing of the cursed thing to your hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger...

Joshua 7:25,26 And Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? the LORD shall trouble you this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones...

Psalm 85:3,4 You have taken away all your wrath: you have turned yourself from the fierceness of your anger...

Jonah 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Cross References
Deuteronomy 4:3
Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor.

Psalm 106:28
Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;

Psalm 106:29
they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds, and a plague broke out among them.

Hosea 9:10
Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved.

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