Numbers 25:2
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.

King James Bible
And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

American Standard Version
for they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who called them to their sacrifices. And they ate of them, and adored their gods.

English Revised Version
for they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

Webster's Bible Translation
And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods: and the people ate, and bowed down to their gods.

Numbers 25:2 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The third saying relates to the Kenites, whose origin is involved in obscurity (see at Genesis 15:19), as there are no other Kenites mentioned in the whole of the Old Testament, with the exception of Genesis 15:19, than the Kenites who went to Canaan with Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses (Numbers 10:29.: see Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11; 1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29); so that there are not sufficient grounds for the distinction between Canaanitish and Midianitish Kenites, as Michaelis, Hengstenberg, and others suppose. The hypothesis that Balaam is speaking of Canaanitish Kenites, or of the Kenites as representatives of the Canaanites, is as unfounded as the hypothesis that by the Kenites we are to understand the Midianites, or that the Kenites mentioned here and in Genesis 15:19 are a branch of the supposed aboriginal Amalekites (Ewald). The saying concerning the Kenites runs thus: "Durable is thy dwelling-place, and thy nest laid upon the rock; for should Kain be destroyed until Asshur shall carry thee captive?" This saying "applies to friends and not to foes of Israel" (v. Hoffmann), so that it is perfectly applicable to the Kenites, who were friendly with Israel. The antithetical association of the Amalekites and Kenites answers perfectly to the attitude assumed at Horeb towards Israel, on the one hand by the Amalekites, and on the other hand by the Kenites, in the person of Jethro the leader of their tribe (see Exodus 17:8., Exodus 18). The dwelling-place of the Kenites was of lasting duration, because its nest was laid upon a rock (שׂים is a passive participle, as in 2 Samuel 13:32, and Obadiah 1:4). This description of the dwelling-place of the Kenites cannot be taken literally, because it cannot be shown that either the Kenites or the Midianites dwelt in inaccessible mountains, as the Edomites are said to have done in Obadiah 1:3-4; Jeremiah 49:16. The words are to be interpreted figuratively, and in all probability the figure is taken from the rocky mountains of Horeb, in the neighbourhood of which the Kenites led a nomade life before their association with Israel (see at Exodus 3:1). As v. Hoffmann correctly observes: "Kain, which had left its inaccessible mountain home in Horeb, enclosed as it was by the desert, to join a people who were only wandering in search of a home, by that very act really placed its rest upon a still safer rock." This is sustained in Numbers 24:22 by the statement that Kain would not be given up to destruction till Asshur carried it away into captivity. אם כּי does not mean "nevertheless." It signifies "unless" after a negative clause, whether the negation be expressed directly by לא, or indirectly by a question; and "only" where it is not preceded by either a direct or an indirect negation, as in Genesis 40:14; Job 42:8. The latter meaning, however, is not applicable here, because it is unsuitable to the עד־מה (until) which follows. Consequently אם yl can only be understood in the sense of "is it that," as in 1 Kings 1:27; Isaiah 29:16; Job 31:16, etc., and as introducing an indirect query in a negative sense: "For is it (the case) that Kain shall fall into destruction until...?" - equivalent to "Kain shall not be exterminated until Asshur shall carry him away into captivity;" Kain will only be overthrown by the Assyrian imperial power. Kain, the tribe-father, is used poetically for the Kenite, the tribe of which he was the founder. בּער, to exterminate, the sense in which it frequently occurs, as in Deuteronomy 13:6; Deuteronomy 17:7, etc. (cf. 2 Samuel 4:11; 1 Kings 22:47). - For the fulfilment of this prophecy we are not to look merely to the fact that one branch of the Kenites, which separated itself, according to Judges 4:11, from its comrades in the south of Judah, and settled in Naphtali near Kadesh, was probably carried away into captivity by Tiglath-Pileser along with the population of Galilee (2 Kings 15:29); but the name Asshur, as the name of the first great kingdom of the world, which rose up from the east against the theocracy, is employed, as we may clearly see from Numbers 24:24, to designate all the powers of the world which took their rise in Asshur, and proceeded forth from it (see also Ezra 6:22, where the Persian king is still called king of Asshur or Assyria). Balaam did not foretell that this worldly power would oppress Israel also, and lead it into captivity, because the oppression of the Israelites was simply a transitory judgment, which served to refine the nation of God and not to destroy it, and which was even appointed according to the counsel of God to open and prepare the way for the conquest of the kingdoms of the world by the kingdom of God. To the Kenites only did the captivity become a judgment of destruction; because, although on terms of friendship with the people of Israel, and outwardly associated with them, yet, as is clearly shown by 1 Samuel 15:6, they never entered inwardly into fellowship with Israel and Jehovah's covenant of grace, but sought to maintain their own independence side by side with Israel, and thus forfeited the blessing of God which rested upon Israel.

(Note: This simple but historically established interpretation completely removes the objection, "that Balaam could no more foretell destruction to the friends of Israel than to Israel itself," by which Kurtz would preclude the attempt to refer this prophecy to the Kenites, who were in alliance with Israel. His further objections to v. Hoffmann's view are either inconclusive, or at any rate do not affect the explanation that we have given.)

Numbers 25:2 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

joined

Numbers 25:5 And Moses said to the judges of Israel, Slay you every one his men that were joined to Baalpeor.

Deuteronomy 4:3,4 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor...

Joshua 22:17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day...

Psalm 106:28,29 They joined themselves also to Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead...

Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time...

the anger

Joshua 22:17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day...

Judges 2:14,20 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them...

Psalm 90:11 Who knows the power of your anger? even according to your fear, so is your wrath.

Jeremiah 17:4 And you, even yourself, shall discontinue from your heritage that I gave you...

Cross References
Exodus 22:20
"Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the LORD alone, shall be devoted to destruction.

Exodus 32:6
And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

Exodus 34:15
lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice,

Deuteronomy 32:38
who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection!

Psalm 106:28
Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;

Jeremiah 40:11
Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them,

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