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Israel Worships Baal

25 While Israel stayed in Shittim,[a] the people started to commit sexual immorality with the women of Moab. The women invited the people to the sacrifices for their gods. The people ate and bowed down to their gods. The Israelites attached themselves to[b] the Baal of Peor. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the heads of the people and impale them before the Lord in broad daylight so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.”

Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you must kill any of his men who have attached themselves to the Baal of Peor.”

The Result of the Baal Worship

Just then, an Israelite man came and brought a Midianite woman to his brothers in the sight of Moses and the entire Israelite community, while the people were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he rose up from the middle of the assembly and took a spear in his hand. He followed the Israelite man into the large tent and ran both of them through, the Israelite man and the woman, right through her belly. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped. Those who died by the plague were 24,000.

10 The Lord spoke to Moses: 11 “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned my wrath away from the Israelites, because he was very zealous for me among you. So I did not put an end to the Israelites in my zeal. 12 Therefore say, ‘Look, I myself will give to him my covenant of peace. 13 He and his descendants after him will have the covenant of a permanent priesthood, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.’”

14 The name of the Israelite man who was struck dead, who was struck dead with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, a tribal chief of the father’s house for the Simeonites. 15 The name of the Midianite woman who was struck dead was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur, who was a tribal head of a father’s house in Midian.

16 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ⎣“Speak to the Israelites, saying,⎦[c] 17 ‘Treat the Midianites as enemies and strike them dead. 18 For they treated you as enemies when they deceived you with their treachery in the incident involving Peor and Cozbi, the daughter of the Midianite tribal chief, their sister, who was struck dead on the day of the plague in the Peor incident.’”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 25:1 Shittim means Acacia Trees.
  2. Numbers 25:3 Literally yoked themselves to
  3. Numbers 25:16 The words marked by half-brackets, Speak to the Israelites, saying, are not in the Hebrew text but are present in the Greek Old Testament. These words may have been accidentally omitted from the Hebrew text as the scribe’s eye skipped from one occurrence of saying to another.

Moab Seduces Israel

25 While Israel was staying in Shittim,(A) the men began to indulge in sexual immorality(B) with Moabite(C) women,(D) who invited them to the sacrifices(E) to their gods.(F) The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to(G) the Baal of Peor.(H) And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders(I) of these people, kill them and expose(J) them in broad daylight before the Lord,(K) so that the Lord’s fierce anger(L) may turn away from Israel.”

So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death(M) those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”(N)

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite(O) woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping(P) at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas(Q) son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear(R) in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped;(S) but those who died in the plague(T) numbered 24,000.(U)

10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites.(V) Since he was as zealous for my honor(W) among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace(X) with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood,(Y) because he was zealous(Z) for the honor(AA) of his God and made atonement(AB) for the Israelites.”(AC)

14 The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman(AD) was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite family.(AE) 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Kozbi(AF) daughter of Zur, a tribal chief of a Midianite family.(AG)

16 The Lord said to Moses,(AH) 17 “Treat the Midianites(AI) as enemies(AJ) and kill them.(AK) 18 They treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the Peor incident(AL) involving their sister Kozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of that incident.”

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