114. Because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel, to eat idol-sacrifices, and to commit whoredom, signifies that there are some among them who do hypocritical works, by which the worship of God in the church is defiled and adulterated. That by these things are meant they who do works by which worship is defiled and adulterated, is evident from the historical parts of the Word concerning Balaam and Balak king of Moab. For Balaam was a hypocrite, and a diviner; for he spoke well of the sons of Israel from Jehovah, when yet he cherished in his heart a desire to destroy them, and also he did destroy them by the counsel he gave Balak; from which it was evident that his works were hypocritical. That he was a diviner we read in Num. 22:7; 24:1; Josh. 13:22. That he spoke in favor of the children of Israel, by blessing them (see Num. 23:7-15, 18-24; 24:5-9, 16-19). But that he spoke these things from Jehovah (see Num. 23:5, 12, 16; 24:13). That he cherished in his heart a desire to destroy them, and also did destroy them by the counsel given to Balak (see Num. 31:16). The counsel which he gave is in Num. 25:1, 9, 18. This was the stumbling block which he cast before the sons of Israel, concerning which it is thus written:
In Shittim the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; the people did eat and bowed themselves down to their gods, especially they adjoined themselves unto Baalpeor: therefore there were slain of Israel twenty-four thousand (Num. 25:1-3, 9, 18).
By "the sons of Israel" is signified the church; by eating of their sacrifices, is signified the appropriation of what is holy; therefore by eating of the sacrifices of other gods, or idol-sacrifices, is signified the defilement and profanation of what is holy; by "committing whoredom," is signified to adulterate and pervert worship; that by "Moab," and therefore by its king, and its daughters, are also signified they who defile and adulterate worship, may be seen in The Arcana Coelestia, published at London (n. 2468). From hence it is evident, that this is the spiritual sense of these words.