6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
our examples (v.6) = lit. “these things came to pass as examples for us” — showing what will happen if the Corinthians did as the Israelites did. (as was the entire law)
lust (v.6) — Numbers 11:4
The quote in verse 7 is from Exodus 32:6 in the Septuagint — in relation to worshiping the golden calf
twenty-three thousand (v.8) — That Balaam was Satan’s instrument in seducing Israel, as narrated in Numbers 25, is recorded in Numbers 31:16. In Numbers 25:9 the number mentioned is 24,000. The fact that the apostle mentions 23,000 here affords no real difficulty. We do not agree with those who suppose that Paul was quoting from memory. Nor is there any question of a difference in readings in the original. The passage in Numbers does not say 24,000 fell in one day. Accordingly the apostle may be giving the immediate result here, while the record given by Moses mentioned the full result. — Vine, page 68.
tempt (v.9) = try, challenge
Christ (v.9) — Jehovah of the Old Testament is Christ of the New Testament
murmur (v.10) — Numbers 16:14-47
Paul wasn’t saying that the Corinthians would be killed if they sinned. But he was pointing to the Old Testament as an example of sin and its consequences. If the Corinthians did what the Israelites did, they would certainly suffer spiritual consequences and even some natural consequences, although those who were saved wouldn’t lose their salvation.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20).