The Passuk (Bamidbar 25:9) tells us that 24,000 Jews died in the plague following the sin of the Moabite girls and Ba'al Pe'or.

Is that the total sum of Jews that sinned or were there more? I had heard the number that sinned was much higher but I'm looking for a source one way or another. Thanks.

  • 1
    Rashi brings the Gemara Sanhedrin 18A that says there were at least anoher 172,000 הרגו איש אנשיו KILL EVERYONE HIS MEN — Each one of the judges of Israel killed two men (אנשיו is plural), and the judges of Israel were eighty-eight thousand in number, as it is related in Sanhedrin
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 19:23
  • The Ohr HaChaim writes on Bamidbar 25:7 about the dangers of zenus, and concludes there that there were in fact a higher number of fatalities than just the 24,000 - sefaria.org/…
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 21:19
  • @Chatzkel You should bring this as an answer and not just a comment Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


The Gemarah in Sanhedrin (106A) says that Billam was killed in the Midyan war, because he had come to collect payment for the 24,000 Jews that were killed through his idea. This seems to indicate that 24,000 was the total amount, because if there was more, I'm sure Billam would of been the first to come collect for it. However, it's entirely possible more died subsequently and not during this exact plague.

As for those who served Ba'al Pe'or, Rashi says that the passuk means that each judge killed 2 people for a total of 172,000 people who got stoned for serving Ba'al Pe'or.

  • I have accepted the answer because you are undoubtedly correct about the source. However, this does not explain at all why Bilaam did not demand payment for the other 172,000 people he caused to die. That would be a valid question and I would ask it should you choose not to. I'll give you the chance first should you so desire.
    – Eliyahu
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 3:19
  • You could ask it. I thought about it. I don't have a source, I just assumed that his "idea" was the adultery. He specifically mentioned that Hashem hates adultery. The Ba'al Pe'or was possibly the Moabim own little addition, in which case he's not entitled to anything. But by asking I'm sure you'll get some good sources for answers.
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 3:24

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