Every now and then, there is some reading, or teaching, or preaching that brings up a point that I never noticed before.
Such was the case recently regarding Israel’s sin in Num 25 (this is where Balak, the king of Moab — who wanted his own way, and was not interested in the will of God — hired Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam was unable to do so, but by comparing Scriptures [see Num 31:16], it seems that he suggested to Balak that he use the women of his country to ensnare Israel, and that ensnarement is what takes place in Num 25).
Anyway, what I never noticed before is that in v6 that one of the men (Zimri) brought a Midianite woman (Cozbi – not a Moabite woman). When the Moabite women began to be a problem, I can imagine a rule or law or commandment came about to stay away from the Moabites.
As an aside, God’s restrictions regarding marrying non-Jews was never a matter of keeping the Jewish race “pure”; instead, it was a matter of keeping God’s people from idolatry. This is stated in many places. We know that this was not a racial issue because God allowed both Rahab (a dweller in Jericho) and Ruth (a Moabite woman) not only to marry Jews, but to be the ancestors of the Messiah.
Zimri was a leader in Israel and was flagrantly disregarding the problem, even though he may have been holding to the letter of the law – the woman wasn’t a Moabite, but she was still a heathen.
How many times do we do wrong, while keeping to the letter of the law, even though we know better?