February 26th Numbers 24
1: And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2: And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. 3: And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 4: He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: 5: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! 6: As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. 7: He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. 8: God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. 9: He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. 10: And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. 11: Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from honour. 12: And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying, 13: If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak? 14: And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. 15: And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 16: He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: 17: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 18: And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. 19: Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. 20: And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever. 21: And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock. 22: Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive. 23: And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this! 24: And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever. 25: And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.
Numbers 25 Moabite women seduce Israel
1: And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. 2: And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. 3: And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 4: And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel. 5: And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor. 6: And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 7: And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 8: And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. 9: And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. 10: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 11: Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. 12: Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: 13: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. 14: Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites. 15: And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head over a people, and of a chief house in Midian. 16: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 17: Vex the Midianites, and smite them: 18: For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake.
Today’s reading follows on from yesterday’s narrative. First we see that Balaam sets out to find Israel and discovers them living in tents. The Spirit of God comes upon him and he falls into a trance and blesses God. Having described the wonders of God protection and prevision he says ‘Blessed is he that blesses you, and cursed is he that curseth you’. Balak was not pleased with Balaam at all and he rebuked him but Balaam said, ‘what the LORD says to me, that will I speak?’ Then he prophesied again – There will come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre will rise out of Israel, and he will smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. Edom will be occupied and Seir also will be occupied and Israel will fight valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, (Christ himself) and he will destroy anyone that remains of the city. Then he turned his attention to Amalek, and said, Amalek was the first nation to be established but his latter end will be that he perish for ever. Then he prophesied concerning the Kenites, he spoke in a parable saying, your homes are strong and you put your trust in a rock. However the Kenite shall be diminished until the Assyrians capture them. And he said, ships will come from the coast of Chittim, and they will injure Asshur, and Eber, and he will perish forever. Then Balaam and Balak went home. So the evil plans of Balak were totally frustrated God turned his plans for cursing Israel into blessing for Israel. While the Children of Israel camped at Shittim the daughters of Moab sold their bodies to the men of Israel. The children of Israel sacrificed to the idols of Moab and they ate and bowed down to their idols. Israel made an alliance with the god Ball-peor. The anger of the Lord was burning against Israel and the Lord told Moses to hang the heads of the tribes so that the Lords anger would be satisfied. Moses commanded that every man that had been involved was to be executed. While Israel wept before the Lord a Midianitish woman went in to lay with a an Israelite. But Phinehas took a javelin and followed after the Israelite man and speared them both through with the javelin. In this way the anger of the Lord was turned away from the people. 24,000 people had died from this plague. (Nearly 5% of all Israel.) The man and the woman were nobles of Israel and Midian. The Lord told Moses to attack the Midianites because they had tempted Israel with their wives.