I received the following question:

Numbers 31:16. “Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.

What was Balaam’s advice to the women that turned the Israelites away from the Lord?  Do we know?

The advice of Balaam seems to have been to send the women of Moab out to the Israelites. They then offered the men sexual favors if only they would worship their god with them. The god was Baal Peor or “the Lord of Opening,” whom when the men would worship, the women would “open” to them.

Balaam was a prophet, and no doubt knew both the LORD’s standards of morality, as well as His jealousy against worshiping any other gods. He used this knowledge to attempt to turn God against the Israelites by getting them to perform this wickedness. Sad that anyone would use knowledge of the LORD this way! The LORD did become angry with Israel because of this, and those men who became involved with Baal Peor were slain. However, the LORD’s anger also arose both against the Moabites and against Balaam because of this, and they were executed by the Israelites for their treacherous actions against Israel.