1 And [Yisroel] abode in Shittim [was staying in Sheetim], and the people [HaAm] began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab [Banot Moav].
Separate and sanctified, the children of Israel were corrupted. This was consequent upon Balaam's counsel Num 31:16.
Seeing he could not reverse Yahweh's blessing upon His people, and knowing that His favour is consequent on keeping His commandments, he counselled Balak to cast a stumbling block before them, causing them to sin.
Instead, therefore, of advising him to war, he suggested the policy of seducing them from their allegiance to Yahweh and his law, by sending in the daughters of Moab among them, and enticing them, to impurity and idolatry. Balak followed his advice, and by the means proposed, caused Israel to be joined to Baalpeor, which caused the anger of Yahweh to smoke against them.
Such, in brief, is the history of the prophet who caused a wasting of the people; for Yahweh commanded their chiefs to be hung, and all who had offended to be slain to the number of twenty-four thousand.
The points of his character were covetousness, perverseness, presumptuousness, unrighteousness, beguiler of unstable Israelites, apostasy from the right way. Where such attributes of character meet in a class of persons, they are said in the New Testament to be
"following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor;"
and Balaam becomes the representative of the class.
12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
I know that according to your view, both Phineas and Zadok personally, will have an everlasting priesthood, but I say again, if the possibility of the unfaithful Levites inheriting from their fathers punishment, why should not this man's children inherit his blessing. Will the covenant be fulfilled if his seed after him "have an inferior position among restored Israel?" [M. C.]
Questions answered by Bro Henry Sulley
Answer.-First be it observed,
it is not certain that any of the natural descendants of Phinehas will be alive in the restoration. And if any natural descendants of Phinehas exist at the time their position is only relatively inferior to the sons of Zadok.
Apart from the action of Phinehas, the order of Levi might have been altogether swept away. Their preservation and restoration in any form may be a blessing due to him. But would any position of honour in a mortal state be a fulfilment of the prophecy? It is difficult to concede this in view of the fact that the exalted order of priests mentioned by Ezekiel, are not called "Sons of Phinehas" but "Sons of Zadok."
Now Zadok was not the one with whom the covenant was made. But Zadok means "Just." Is not Jesus Christ pre-eminently the "Just One." How then could that title be given to another? And upon what principle could the natural descendants of Phinehas be called "Sons of the Just Ones"?
Would not such a title be derogatory of the name of Christ? In view of this difficulty, are we not justified in looking upon the promise to "the seed of Phinehas" as pertaining to the official functions which the immortal sons of God are to perform?
And that all such come into relation with Levitical or priestly matters by faith, just as the saints partake of the inheritance promised to Abraham on the same principle, although not his natural descendants.
The Christadelphian, June 1888