Baal-Peor and the Sexual Sin of Balaam

The Scriptures speak very STRONGLY of sexual sin and the defilement of the body.

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” – {1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:18-20‬}

In reading the Weekly Scripture Reading this week, the portion concludes with some of the Israelite men defiling themselves by yoking with Moabite women and their gods.

“While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab.” ‭- {Numbers‬ ‭25:1‬-2}

This specific event and the sexual immorality associated with it, was so severe that a plague broke out among the Israelites, killing 23,000 {Numbers 25:9}, which is how the portion ends.

It was also an event that remained in the memory of God’s people, as it was spoken of time and time again, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, throughout the Scriptures.

“Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor.” -{Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:3‬}

“Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the LORD.” – {Joshua‬ ‭22:17‬}

“Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved.” – {Hosea‬ ‭9:10‬}

“Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;” – {Psalms‬ ‭106:28‬}

And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. – {1 Corinthians 10:8}

As with all sin, there is always an origin. For the Moabite lineage, it surrounds that of sexual sin, literally having been conceived in the midst of it.

“One day the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites.” – {Genesis‬ ‭19:31-32, 36-37‬}

While there is a prohibition against marrying a Moabite, found in Deuteronomy 33:3, the second chapter of Revelation seems to imply a deeper sin taking place.

“But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” – {Revelation‬ ‭2:14-16‬}

So what was so vile about the Moabites and their worship of Baal-Peor that Balaam taught and caused John and many other biblical authors to write of it?

⚠️ the following may not be suitable for all due to the nature of the topic ⚠️

Historically, this god was worshipped and associated with disregarding any and all sexual restraints, extreme sexual practices and orgies. Baal-Peor, like many, was worshipped in the form of a phallus.

To go one step further, the Hebrew word peor [פְעוֹר] comes from the root word pa’ar [פָּעַר] meaning open, gap, wide, or hole.

Scholars have suggested that Baal of Peor, could then be translated as lord of the openings, lord of the gap or lord of the holes.

This translational meaning and root association leads to a traditional understanding and very possibly the source of Talmudic traditions associating Baal of Peor with exposure and excrement.

(the Talmudic texts cited here are used ONLY for historical references)

The tractate Sanhedrin 64a, through Rabbi Judah, tells the story of a sick gentile woman who promised to worship every idol in the known world if she became well enough to follow through. Upon recovering from this illness, she journeyed to make well of this promise. Upon reaching Peor, she could not bring herself to follow through on her vow, as the worship was absolutely disgusting: as they were eating beets, drinking strong drink, and then uncovering oneself in front of the idol.

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi, comments on Numbers 25:3 stating that because the people would uncover before it, the end of the rectum, and bring forth excrement; this is its worship – therefore the place was called Peor.

These disgusting acts were then associated with and used in sexual practices.

To bring this idea and topic full circle, the Septuagint translation renders Baal of Peor, Beel-phegor, which is a known demon and one of the seven princes of hell in demonology.

In the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, the photograph associated with this post is found for Belphegot, [Beel-phegor], seating this demon god on a toilet.

Coincidence? You be the judge, testing ALL things to the Word of God.

If true, this shows us the serious depravity of the people that the Israelite nations encountered and the severity of yoking with them and following the despicable ways of worship that revolves around their gods.


WEEK 27 | Tazria | “She Will Conceive” | תזריע


All these words come to mind in a summarization of this week’s readings. It is a hard stretch to go from childbirth purification to battles with the Philistines to Yeshua’s death to rejoicing! But amazingly we, again, get to see that happen. It’s a beautiful picture of the Gospel, from beginning to end. Life to Death. Yah’s promises and His plan being fulfilled.

In the Portion, Leviticus 12 and 13 are paired together and we see childbirth and leprosy together, which seems rather odd. After digging into the Word and seeking out the purpose of them together, we see a clear idea that Yah means for us to be clean in body and in mind, for all generations; holding fast to what is good. Childbirth is to be followed by a purification and “sin offering”. We had to search out to understand why childbirth would be considered a sin when we know that procreating was Yah’s original plan.

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

Genesis 1:29(a)

What we found is very simple really… to enter the Tabernacle, one must be completely clean, inside and out. A bodily discharge of fluid and/or blood made one unclean. The act of childbirth in and of itself was not a sin. Just like with leprosy, the body was unclean, impure; therefore, the person needed purification (and a sin offering) because it would be a trespass against Yah to enter His holy place. There is a longer period of time for women who bear female babies than males and some believe this is because the female child is born with the eggs that her body will need to bear life for future generations. Is this true? We aren’t sure but it is a beautiful thought! Yah is never lacking in details and surely there is a perfect reason for this doubling in length of uncleanliness.

Uncleanliness is not only a matter of the body being in an unclean state. It’s a matter of the heart. Can you imagine what it felt like to have to walk around the outside of the camp shouting “Unclean! Unclean!”? It surely would be a process of humbling yourself and purifying your heart. One could choose to turn away from Yah, who allows such “uncleanliness” and hard times, or he can turn to Abba and trust His will and His plans! As believers, we have the ability to draw near to the Father and repent, to trust in Him and endure through the suffering and hardships as our bodies and minds heal – being reborn and preparing us for Eternal Life!

Ancient Mikvah

In the the reading from Isaiah, we hear a loud warning against not trusting Yah and heeding His direction. Yah gives a challenge to the idolatrous people to show their power – “Let them!” “Present your case!” He says. His challenge is obviously rhetorical and he’s encouraging Israel that He alone is sovereign and in control. “See all of them are useless!” He says, “I shall also uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.” He makes a mockery of the idolatrous people and confirms His promise and reveals His glory! His challenge to them is an admonition to us to keep ourselves from impure, idolatrous ways and to trust in Him and He will take care of our enemies.

“The scope of these verses is to silence the fears, and encourage the faith, of the servants of God in their distresses. Perhaps it is intended, in the first place, for the support of God’s Israel, in captivity; but all that faithfully serve God through patience and comfort of this scripture may have hope.”

Matthew Henry commentary

What do we see happen next in 1 Samuel? FAITHLESSNESS & IDOLATRY.

How fast they fall.

Depiction of Dagon next to the Ark of the Covenant

In short, the Philistines kill 4,000+ Israelites. They capture the Ark of the Covenant. Eli dies hearing of the Ark being captured and the death of his sons. Phineas’ wife dies after childbirth from the same. The Philistines are very proud people, hoping to worship the Ark by putting it beside their idol god, Dagon. Dagon falls at the hand of Yah. The Philistines profane the Ark and are plagued with tumors (the piles/hemorrhoids). They die by the thousands. They send the Ark back to Israel but not without much fear. The Israelites do nothing it seems!

So much death and destruction all due to the lack of fear of the Most High. They chose idolatry over eternity. Evil over good. They turned their ears from prophecy that foretold that this day would come and their impure hearts became their demise. As we see prophecy being fulfilled and the world worshipping false gods, do we recognize how quickly hearts turn from Truth to chase after their own vain ways? Yah will not be mocked and what pleasure is there in this world if there is no communion with Him? What glory is there if “The esteem has departed from Israel…” (vs. 22)? There is nothing new under the sun!

This week, for those who follow the Zadok Calendar, we celebrate Pesach (Passover) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seems fitting the Torah Portion aligns with the reading from John of the crucifixion of Yeshua. Where there was sin, there needed to be atonement. Where there was uncleanliness, there needed to be purification. It was the Day of Preparation for the Passover, Yeshua (Jesus), is brought to Pilate – who found no guilt in Him! He was dressed in a purple robe and a crown of thorns placed on His head. “Crucify him!” “Impale him!” they cried. And Yeshua submits to the authority given to Pilate from Yah. What a humble picture of what it looks like to submit and believe in the promise that is going to be fulfilled. To trust Abba Father in all His ways. It was prophesied, Yeshua submitted and became the Passover Lamb that would fulfill the need to offer a sin sacrifice any longer.

Can you imagine? I don’t think we can. We are so far removed in society, much like the Israelites with the Philistines, turning from Yah and seeking after our own passions and pleasures and many have fallen asleep. But praise Elohim we have the Holy Spirit (Ruach) poured out in us, those who believe & obey, and satan WILL fall before Yeshua. He has no power in our lives! Much like the challenge given to the idolatrous people by Yah, we can boldly challenge this world: “Show us your power and we will show you our ELOHIM!”.

Praise YAH! He is no longer on the cross/stake. His body was removed.

It is finished! HE IS RISEN!

“And he who has seen has witnessed, and his witness is true. And he knows that he is speaking the truth, in order that you might believe. “

John 19:35

“I have no greater joy than to hear
of my children walking in truth.”

3 John 1:4