The Israelites enticed by the daughters of Moab and Midian.
(1-5) Phinehas puts Zimri and Cozbi to death. (6-15) The
Midianites to be punished. (16-18)
The friendship of the wicked is more dangerous than their
enmity; for none can prevail against God's people if they are
not overcome by their inbred lusts; nor can any enchantment hurt
them, but the enticements of worldly interests and pleasures.
Here is the sin of Israel, to which they are enticed by the
daughters of Moab and Midian. Those are our worst enemies who
draw us to sin, for that is the greatest mischief any man can do
us. Israel's sin did that which all Balaam's enchantments could
not do; it set God against them. Diseases are the fruits of
God's anger, and the just punishments of prevailing sins; one
infection follows the other. Ringleaders in sin ought to be made
examples of justice.
Phinehas, in the courage of zeal and faith, executed
vengeance on Zimri and Cozbi. This act can never be an example
for private revenge, or religious persecution, or for irregular
We read not that any Midianites died of the plague; God
punished them with the sword of an enemy, not with the rod of a
father. We must set ourselves against whatever is an occasion of
sin to us,
. Whatever draws us to sin, should be a
vexation to us, as a thorn in the flesh. And none will be more
surely and severely punished than those who, after Satan's
example, and with his subtlety, tempt others to sin.