BALAAM WAS unable to curse Israel, but the people were lured into worshiping a god called Baal-Peor—with disastrous consequences.
In His anger, God sent a plague that killed 24,000 Israelites. It was only stopped when Aaron’s grandson, Phinehas, speared a young Israelite man and Midianite woman engaged in what was probably a fertility rite.
THE TALE of two kingdoms continues in our Old Testament study this week. We get the stories of the northern kings of Israel Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, and Omri, and the southern kings of Judah Abijah, Asa, and Jehoshaphat.
We discuss the conflicts between Israel and Judah, and the miraculous victory of Judah over a huge force led by Zerah the Ethiopian. (Scholars Peter van der Veen and Peter James make a case for one Userḫau, Egypt’s “Overseer of the Northern Foreign Lands” during the reign of Ramesses IV, as Zerah.)