Israel Worships Baal at Peor
1While the people of Israel were still camped at Acacia, the men began sinning sexually with Moabite women. 2The women invited them to their sacrifices to their gods, and the Israelites ate food there and worshiped these gods. 3So the Israelites began to worship Baal of Peor, and the Lord was very angry with them.
4The Lord said to Moses, “Get all the leaders of the people and kill them in open daylight in the presence of the Lord. Then the Lord will not be angry with the people of Israel.”
5So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death your people who have become worshipers of Baal of Peor.”
6Moses and the Israelites were gathered at the entrance to the Meeting Tent, crying there. Then an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman to his brothers in plain sight of Moses and all the people. 7Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, so he left the meeting and got his spear. 8He followed the Israelite into his tent and drove his spear through both the Israelite man and the Midianite woman. Then the terrible sickness among the Israelites stopped.
9This sickness had killed twenty-four thousand people.
10The Lord said to Moses, 11“Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has saved the Israelites from my anger. He hates sin as much as I do. Since he tried to save my honor among them, I will not kill them. 12So tell Phinehas that I am making my peace agreement with him. 13He and his descendants will always be priests, because he had great concern for the honor of his God. He removed the sins of the Israelites so they would belong to God.”
14The Israelite man who was killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu. He was the leader of a family in the tribe of Simeon. 15And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Cozbi daughter of Zur, who was the chief of a Midianite family.
16The Lord said to Moses, 17“The Midianites are your enemies, and you should kill them. 18They have already made you their enemies, because they tricked you at Peor and because of their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader. She was the woman who was killed when the sickness came because the people sinned at Peor.”