Toward the end of this Story we find out Balaam’s plan in Revelation 2:14 – “But I have a few things against you; you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality”. Balaam knew he couldn’t curse the Israelites so he came up with another way to make them stumble by sending their women out to the Israelites’ camp. These women lured the men into idolatry and sexual sin. See, the children of Israel had no clue what all the Lord was doing behind the scenes. How over and over and over again the Lord was protecting them from being cursed by their enemies. Instead of trusting the Lord and walking by faith, the Israelites made a bad decision based on the sight of these beautiful women which never goes well.
So “…the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel”. He said to the leaders “Every one of you kill his men who were joined to Baal of Peor”. Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, shoves a javelin through a Midianite woman, Cozi, and an Israelite leader, Zimri, who were flaunting their harlotry in the sight of all the congregation by having sex in a tent near the tabernacle. Phinehas’s action ended the plague that the Lord sent upon the people. The Lord rewards Phinehas’s zeal with an everlasting priesthood to him and his descendants.
Next, the Lord instructs Moses and Eleazar, Aaron’s son, to take another census of the men 20 and over who were eligible for war. The first census in the beginning of the book of Numbers resulted in 603,550 men. We see today toward the end of the book of Numbers, about 38 years later, 601,730 men were counted. The Lord was faithful and replaced the first generation of Israelites, who did not take the promised land in the beginning of this wilderness journey, with a whole new generation. Also, the Lord is keeping His promise to Abraham that He would make a great nation out of his descendants. Keep reading bc tomorrow God picks a new leader to lead the people into the land.