Zimri and Cozbi
Who are these people? Male? Female? What important deed did they leave behind in Jewish history? Why should I care?
Zimri was of the household of Simeon. The twelve sons of Jacob are markers in the history of Israel. Jacob married Leah in a pre-arranged marriage by his uncle, Laban. She gave birth to Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. That is six of the 12 sons, whom are known in general as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The other sons were born of Rachel, and the concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah.(Genesis 35:23-26) Now, fast forward to Genesis 48 where in his dying days Jacob spoke of each of his sons. Regretfully, he had nothing good to say about Simeon because he had an anger problem.
Jacob died in Egypt when he was 147 years old. Since he lived there 17 years, I’d guess that he far outlived the famine in Canaan. His sons remained in Egypt under the protection of Joseph. When Joseph died and another Pharaoh took rule, the sons of Jacob were forced into slavery. All of them died in Egypt but the family lines continued. God appointed Moses to lead them out of slavery and back into the land promised to their family lines through Abraham. Fast forward to wilderness wanderings and the book of Numbers. Chapter 25 reveals the sin of Idol worship. Who started this repulsive sin? Zimri, of the family of Simeon. He lusted after a Midianitish woman, Cozri. He was, in modern terms, sleeping with the enemy. And he was destroyed by Phinehas, a descendent of Aaron, who took matters into his own hands.
I write all of this to say: Christians, beware. Don’t think that you can live a careless, even reckless life and not cause difficulty for your family, or families in your congregation. By destroying Zimri and Cozbi, Phinehas stayed a plague on the entire Israelite group. God despises sin.
God allowed the names of the two offenders, Zimri and Cozbi to be placed in the Word of God. Their names should be remembered as a warning for all Believers. They are not famous; they are infamous.
One more thing to remember is that leaders of prominent positions are not spared in discipline. An alarming number of men who have occupied the pulpit have participated in the same sin as Zimri. It is a dangerous sin to modern churches. Women who participate in the sin of Zimri and Cozbi are just as much the blame.
I learn from this little known passage of the Bible that sin should not be treated lightly. It needs to be exposed. That, my dear reader, takes an enormous amount of courage. I proclaim therefore, that Phinehas was a man of courage.
Grace is available for sinful action; it does not erase consequence.
By the way, it took courage on my part to write this. Criticism lurks in the corners.