Numbers 25:6
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 25:6. Behold one came — This was done when Moses had given the charge to the judges, and, as it may seem, before the execution of it; otherwise it is probable he would not have been so foolish as to have run upon certain ruin, when the examples were frequent before his eyes. To his brethren — Into the camp of the Israelites. In the sight of Moses — An argument of intolerable impudence and contempt of God and of Moses. Weeping — Bewailing the wickedness of the people, and the dreadful judgments of God, and imploring God’s mercy and favour.

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.A Midianite woman - literally, "the Midianite woman," the particular one by whom he had been enticed (compare Numbers 25:15 and Numbers 31:18). Her high rank proves that Zimri had not fallen in with her by mere chance, but had been deliberately singled out by the Midianites as one whom they must at any price lead astray.

Weeping before the door of the tabernacle - The plague Numbers 25:9 had already broken out among the people: and the more God-fearing had assembled at the door of the tabernacle of God (compare the marginal reference.) to intercede for mercy, when Zimri committed the fresh and public outrage just described.

6, 7. behold, one of the children of Israel … brought … a Midianitish woman—This flagitious act most probably occurred about the time when the order was given and before its execution.

who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle—Some of the rulers and well-disposed persons were deploring the dreadful wickedness of the people and supplicating the mercy of God to avert impending judgments.

This was done, either,

1. Before God’s command to Moses, and by him to the judges, Numbers 25:4,5, such transpositions and disorders being not unusual in sacred story. Or rather,

2. In the order it is related, to wit, when Moses had given the charge to the judges, and, as it may seem, before the execution of it, otherwise it is probable he would not have been so bold and foolish to have run upon present and certain ruin, when the examples were fresh and frequent before his eyes.

Unto his brethren, i.e. into the camp of the Israelites, or to his friends and relations in his tent, whither he carried her; Numbers 25:8, for his or their fleshly satisfaction.

In the sight of Moses; an argument of intolerable impudence and contempt of God and of Moses.

All the congregation, i.e. the rulers of the congregation with divers of the people.

Weeping; bewailing the abominable wickedness of the people, and the dreadful judgments of God, and imploring God’s mercy and favour.

And, behold, one of the children of Israel came,.... From one of the cities of Moab or Midian, the latter rather, by what follows; where he had been, very probably, to an idolatrous feast, and had eaten of the sacrifices, and worshipped idols, and committed fornication with the daughters of the land; and not content with indulging himself with those impurities at a distance and where he was less known:

brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman; into his father's family, into a tent where his brethren dwelt:

in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel; in the most open and undisguised manner, into the midst of the camp, passing by Moses, and a great number of the people, who were gathered together on this solemn occasion, to seek the Lord, and humble themselves before him:

who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; the place where the people used to assemble together for religious exercises; here they were weeping and mourning for the sins and abominations that were committed among them, and on account of the punishment inflicted on many of them, by the hand of the civil magistrate, and because of the plague that was broke out upon them, from an angry God; by which it appears, that though there were many who had fallen into those foul sins, yet there were a great number which were not defiled with them, and sighed and cried for the abominations in the midst of them: and because the fact here recorded was such an amazing piece of impudence, the word "behold" is prefixed to the account of it, it being done in such a public, bold, and audacious manner, and at such a time, when so many had been hanged up for it, and the plague of God was broke out among the people on account of it, and good men were bewailing the sin, and the punishment of it; and if this was on a sabbath day, as the Samaritan Chronicle (x) relates, it was a further aggravation of it.

(x) Apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 448.

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, {e} who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

(e) Repenting that they had offended God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. while they were weeping] The reason for their weeping is not found till Numbers 25:8 f.; a plague had been sent. The beginning of the narrative stating the reason for the plague has been lost. But it was probably a punishment for the general immorality of which Numbers 25:6 relates one instance.

It has been conjectured that the lost portion of the story related that Balaam persuaded the Midianites to seduce the Israelites into intermarriage with them in order to provoke Jehovah’s anger. In this case Balaam lived (according to P ) not in Mesopotamia or Ammon (see on Numbers 22:5) but in Midian. The conjecture receives support from Numbers 31:8; Numbers 31:16.

6–15. The zeal of Phinehas, and its reward. The passage belongs to the period after the exile, when those only were recognised as priests who could trace their ancestry through Phinehas, and Eleazar his father, to Aaron.

Verse 6. - A Midianitish woman. Rather, "the Midianitish woman." אֶת־הַמִּדְיָנִית. Septuagint, τὴν Μαδιανίτην. The writer deals with an incident only too notorious, and which by the peculiar aggravation of its circumstances had fixed itself deeply in the popular memory. This is the first mention of the Midianites in connection with this affair, and it prepares us to learn without surprise that they were in reality the authors of this mischief. All the congregation,... who were weeping. According to the loose sense in which this expression is used throughout the Pentateuch, it evidently means that those who truly represented the nation, not only as a political, but also as a religions community, were gathered in this distress before the presence of their invisible King. They wept on account of the wrath of God provoked; probably also on account of the wrath of God already gone forth in the form of a pestilence. Numbers 25:6Whilst the heads of the people were deliberating on the subject, and the whole congregation was assembled before the tabernacle, weeping on account of the divine wrath, there came an Israelite, a prince of the tribe of Simeon, who brought a Midianitish woman, the daughter of a Midianitish chief (Numbers 25:14), to his brethren, i.e., into the camp of the Israelites, before the eyes of Moses and all the congregation, to commit adultery with her in his tent. This shameless wickedness, in which the depth of the corruption that had penetrated into the congregation came to light, inflamed the zeal of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the high priest, to such an extent, that he seized a spear, and rushing into the tent of the adulterer, pierced both of them through in the very act. הקּבּה, lit., the arched, or arch, is applied here to the inner or hinder division of the tent, the sleeping-room and women's room in the larger tents of the upper classes.
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