C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David
Verse 28. They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor. Ritualism led on to the adoration of false gods. If we choose a false way of worship we shall, ere long, choose to worship a false god. This abomination of the Moabites was an idol in whose worship women gave up their bodies to the most shameless lust. Think of the people of a holy God coming down to this.
And ate the sacrifices of the dead. In the orgies with which the Baalites celebrated their detestable worship Israel joined, partaking even in their sacrifices as earnest inner court worshippers, though the gods were but dead idols. Perhaps they assisted in necromantic rites which were intended to open a correspondence with departed spirits, thus endeavouring to break the seal of God's providence, and burst into the secret chambers which God has shut up. Those who are weary of seeking the living God have often shown a hankering after dark sciences, and have sought after fellowship with demons and spirits. To what strong delusions those are often given up who cast off the fear of God! This remark is as much needed now as in days gone by.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 28. They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, -- rather "bound themselves with his badge": for it was the custom in ancient times, as it is now, in all Pagan countries, for every idol to have some specific badge, or ensign, by which his votaries are known. -- John Kitto, in "Daily Bible Illustrations."
Verse 28. They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor. The narrative (Numbers 25:1-18) seems clearly to show that this form of Baal worship was connected with licentious rites. Without laying too much stress on the Rabbinical derivation of the word rw[p, hiatus, i.e., "aperire hymenem virgineum", we seem to have reason to conclude that this was the nature of the worship. Baal Peor was identified by the Rabbins and early fathers with Priapus (see the authorities quoted by Selden, De Diis Syris, 1., 4, p. 302, sq., who, however, dissents from this view.) This is, moreover, the view of Creuzer (2., 411), Winer, Gesenius, Furst, and almost all critics. The reader is referred for more detailed information particularly to Creuzer's Symbolik and Movers' Phönizier. --William Gotch, in "Smith's Dictionary of the Bible."
Verse 28. Ate the sacrifices. It was usual for the officers to eat the chief part of the sacrifice. Hence the remarks of Paul on this subject, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. --Benjamin Boothroyd.
Verse 28. The dead. The word ~ytm, maithim, signifies dead men; for the idols of the heathen were generally men, -- warriors, kings, or lawgivers, -- who had been deified after their death; though many of them had been execrated during their life. --Comprehensive Bible.
Verse 28. And they ate the sacrifices of the dead.
His obsequies to Polydorus paying
A tomb we raise, and altars to the dead
With dark blue fillets and black cypress bind
Our dames with hair dishevelled stand to mourn;
Warm frothy bowls of milk and sacred blood
We offer, in his grave the spirit lay,
Call him aloud, and bid our last farewell. --Virgil.