JUST AS Israel seemed to be on a spiritual high, the people again found a way to squander the blessings of God. The Israelites began to worship Baal of Peor, which provoked the wrath of Yahweh. Then a prince from the tribe of Simeon brought a Midianite princess into the camp and had relations with her–possibly inside the Tent of Meeting itself.
Balaam son of Beor was a prophet for profit. The frightened king of Moab hired him to curse Israel so that his tiny nation would not be overrun. Instead, Balaam blesses Israel three times. We also discuss the incident in the desert with the fiery serpents (saraph nachash) and the Israelites’ defeat of the giant kings Sihon and Og.