I would think the Israelites would be happy now since they won all those wars.
Will they behave now?
“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.
And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye everyone his men that were joined unto Baal-peor.
And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel” (Num 25:1-13).
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Vex the Midianites, and smite them:
For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake (Num 25:16-18).
“And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,
Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel.
And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho” (Num 26:1-3).
The amount came to be:
Reubenites – 43,730
Simeonites – 22,200
Gad – 40,500
Judah – 76,500
Issachar – 64,3600
Zebulunites – 60,500
Manasseh – 52,700
Ephraim – 32,500
Benjamin – 45,600
Shuhamites – 64,400
Asher – 53,400
Naphtali – 45,400.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and too few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.
Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit” (Num 26:52-55).
The amount of Levites – 23,000.
All of these people, aside from Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, would die, never seeing the Promised Land.
Shittim, abbreviated from Abel Shittim (“brook of acacias”),was the Israelitess final wilderness encampment before they crossed the Jordan River.
From this location in the plains of Moab Moses ascended Mount Nebo to view the promised land and Joshua sent spies to Jericho.
At Shittim, Israel also fell into the immorality associated with the worship of Baal of Peor, suffering severe casualties as a result of God’s anger.
Shittim can probably be identified with the present archaeological site of Tell el- Hammam, 8.5 miles (13.7 km) east of the Jordan River, opposite the ancient city of Jericho.
This excavation site is covered with the ruins of houses, as well as of an Iron I-period fortress with towers at both ends.
The fortress walls were 4 feet (1.2 m) thick and surrounded by a massive glacis (slope running downward from a fortification).
This site was strategically located 100 feet (30.5 m) above the plains of Moab, no doubt enabling its ancient inhabitants to control access from the mountains.
A perennial stream nearby, the Wadi el-Kefrein, could have provided an adequate water supply for the encamped Israelites.
The meaning of the name Shittim suggests that acacia trees grew there, watered by the nearby stream—although the acacia is known to survive in arid regions.
Its wood, light but hard and moisture resistant, had been used to construct both the tabernacle and its furnishings.