Numbers 25:10
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
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25:6-15 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 public vengeance.Twenty and four thousand - Paul 1 Corinthians 10:8 says "three and twenty thousand," following probably the Jewish tradition which deducted one thousand as the number slain by the hands of their brethren. 9. those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand—Only twenty-three thousand perished (1Co 10:8) from pestilence. Moses includes those who died by the execution of the judges [Nu 25:5]. No text from Poole on this verse. And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... Out of the cloud, or out of the tabernacle, at the door of which Moses now was, Numbers 25:6, this was after so many had died of the plague, and after the fact of Phinehas, by which it was stopped: saying; as follows. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Verse 10. - The Lord spake unto Moses, saying. On the Divine commendation here bestowed upon the act of Phinehas see the note at the end of the chapter. In the Hebrew Bible a new section begins here. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people, so that Jehovah commanded Moses to fetch the heads of the people, i.e., to assemble them together, and to "hang up" the men who had joined themselves to Baal-Peor "before the Lord against the sun," that the anger of God might turn away from Israel. The burning of the wrath of God, which was to be turned away from the people by the punishment of the guilty, as enjoined upon Moses, consisted, as we may see from Numbers 25:8, Numbers 25:9, in a plague inflicted upon the nation, which carried off a great number of the people, a sudden death, as in Numbers 14:37; Numbers 17:11. הוקיע, from יקע, to be torn apart or torn away (Ges., Winer), refers to the punishment of crucifixion, a mode of capital punishment which was adopted by most of the nations of antiquity (see Winer, bibl. R. W. i. p. 680), and was carried out sometimes by driving a stake into the body, and so impaling them (ἀνασκολοπίζειν), the mode practised by the Assyrians and Persians (Herod. iii. 159, and Layard's Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii. p. 374, and plate on p. 369), at other times by fastening them to a stake or nailing them to a cross (ἀνασταυροῦν). In the instance before us, however, the idolaters were not impaled or crucified alive, but, as we may see from the word הרגּוּ in Numbers 25:5, and in accordance with the custom frequently adopted by other nations (see Herzog's Encyclopaedia), they were first of all put to death, and then impaled upon a stake or fastened upon a cross, so that the impaling or crucifixion was only an aggravation of the capital punishment, like the burning in Leviticus 20:14, and the hanging (תּלה) in Deuteronomy 21:22. The rendering adopted by the lxx and Vulgate is παραδειγματίζειν, suspendere, in this passage, and in 2 Samuel 21:6, 2 Samuel 21:9, ἐξηλιάζειν (to expose to the sun), and crucifigere. ליהוה, for Jehovah, as satisfaction for Him, i.e., to appease His wrath. אותם (them) does not refer to the heads of the nation, but to the guilty persons, upon whom the heads of the nation were to pronounce sentence.
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