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When Israel joined themselves to Baal Peor,[a] the anger of the Lord flared up against Israel.

God’s Punishment

The Lord said to Moses, “Arrest all the leaders[b] of the people, and hang them up[c] before the Lord in broad daylight,[d] so that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you must execute those of his men[e] who were joined to Baal Peor.”

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Footnotes

  1. Numbers 25:3 tn The verb is “yoked” to Baal Peor. The word is unusual, and may suggest the physical, ritual participation described below. It certainly shows that they acknowledge the reality of the local god.sn The evidence indicates that Moab was part of the very corrupt Canaanite world, a world that was given over to the fertility ritual of the times.
  2. Numbers 25:4 sn The meaning must be the leaders behind the apostasy, for they would now be arrested. They were responsible for the tribes’ conformity to the Law, but here they had not only failed in their duty, but had participated. The leaders were executed; the rest of the guilty died by the plague.
  3. Numbers 25:4 sn The leaders who were guilty were commanded by God to be publicly exposed by hanging, probably a reference to impaling, but possibly some other form of harsh punishment. The point was that the swaying of their executed bodies would be a startling warning for any who so blatantly set the Law aside and indulged in apostasy through pagan sexual orgies.
  4. Numbers 25:4 tn Heb “in the sun.” This means in broad daylight.
  5. Numbers 25:5 tn Heb “slay—a man his men.” The imperative is plural, and so “man” is to be taken collectively as “each of you men.”

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