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Numbers 25:1-9 (KJV)

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 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. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor. 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. 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; 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. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

It says that Israel yoked themselves to the BaalPeor The Lord asks Moses to take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the Lord. Instead, Moses says To the judges of Israel to kill those of The men who have yoked themselves to the BaalPeor. Was he interpreting the command of the Lord properly, or was he making it an acceptable course of action, or was this what the God meant in the first place? And then, we are in the midst of a plague. Can anyone untangle this passage for me?

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This is a great question.

Numbers 25:4 (KJV)

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.

"the heads of the people" here in Hebrew רָאשֵׁי .הָעָם רָאשֵׁי rashi which means main, major, captain, leader, chief etc

So YHWH is saying to Moses per Moses' interpretation "take the main or major offenders of all the people".

So absolutely Moses' response was right in accord with YHWH's command.

Also it is not Baal of Peor, rather it's לְבַעַל פְּער Baal~Peor.

As for the plague, we'd deduce that this was an attribute of Numbers 25:3

And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

So the anger of YHWH was unfolding against Israel, part or all of this anger was in the form of a plague.

Psalms 106:30 (KJV)

Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.


Hebrew words used are from the Westminster Leningrad Codex.

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I believe​ the plague that killed 24,000 was a sexual disease. Let me explain.

In Numbers 31 we read that under God's direction, Moses sent the Israelites to Midian, they killed all the men but brought back all the children and women. When Moses saw the women and children that they brought back he became angry and says this:

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man 19Anyone who has killed someone or touched someone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves and your captives. 20Purify every garment as well as everything made of leather, goat hair or wood.
-- Numbers 31:15-20 (NIV)

Moses was angry and said, "Have you allowed all the women to live ...", because they were the ones who enticed the Israelites with sex and idolatry and brought upon yourselves a plague.

I believe the plague to be a sexual disease because the Israelites contracted the plague after fornicating with these women and Moses told them to kill all the women who had sex but let the virgins live, because they didn't have this sexual disease. Then he goes on to say whoever killed someone or touched someone that was killed must stay outside for 7 days and purify yourselves and the virgins. He even made them cleanse their clothes and burn their weapons because they would have had the blood of an infected man on everything. And then lastly, when Phinehas saw the Israelite man bring a Midian woman Kozbi into the camp and begins having sex with her, he stabs them both and kills them and then God said now the plaque has lifted. See, Kozbi was the one who started it all. God said:

17Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them. 18They treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the Peor incident involving their sister Kozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader.
-- Numbers 25:17-18 (NIV)

She started the plague by luring the Israelites with sex, and her death during sex ended the plague.

  • Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. I have presented the same argument here, but it didn't receive any positive responses. Nevertheless, +1 from me. – enegue Sep 7 '17 at 13:13

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