Moab Leads Israel Down the Wrong Path
1Israel was staying in Shittim. The men of Israel began to commit sexual sins with the women of Moab. 2The women invited the men to feasts and sacrifices in honor of their gods. The people ate and bowed down in front of the statues of those gods.
3So Israel joined in worshiping the god Baal that was worshiped at Peor. The Lord's anger burned against Israel.
4The Lord said to Moses, "Take all of the leaders of these people. Kill them. Put their dead bodies out in the open. I want to see you do it in the middle of the day. Then my anger will not burn against Israel."
5So Moses spoke to Israel's judges. He said, "Some of your men have joined in worshiping the god Baal that is worshiped at Peor. Each of you must kill the men in your tribe who have done that."
6Then a man of Israel brought a woman of Midian to his family. He did it right in front of the eyes of Moses and the whole community of Israel. They were sobbing at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
7Phinehas was a priest. He was the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron. When Phinehas saw what had happened, he left the people. He took a spear in his hand. 8He followed the man into a tent. Phinehas stuck the spear through both the man and the woman.
Then the Lord stopped the plague against the people of Israel. 9But the plague had already killed 24,000 of them.
10The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 11"Phinehas is a priest. He is the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron. Phinehas has turned my anger away from the people of Israel. I am committed to making sure I am honored among them. And he is as committed as I am. Even though I was angry with them, I did not put an end to them.
12"So tell Phinehas I am making my covenant with him. It promises to give him peace. 13He and his sons after him will have a covenant to be priests forever. That is because he was committed to making sure that I, his God, was honored. In that way he paid for the sin of the people of Israel."
14The name of the man of Israel who was killed was Zimri. He was the son of Salu. Zimri was killed along with the woman of Midian. Salu was a family leader in the tribe of Simeon. 15The name of the woman of Midian who was killed was Cozbi. She was the daughter of Zur. Zur was the chief of a family in Midian.
16The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 17"Treat the people of Midian just as you would treat enemies. Kill them. 18After all, they treated you like enemies. They tricked you into worshiping the god Baal that is worshiped at Peor. They also tricked you because of what Cozbi did. She was the woman who was killed when the plague that was connected with Peor came. Cozbi was the daughter of a leader of Midian."