Israel at Peor
1While the Israelites were camped near Acacia, the men committed sexual sins#25:1 sexual sins Sexual sin was often connected with temples for false gods. So this can mean that the men were unfaithful to their wives and also that they were unfaithful to God by going to their temples. with Moabite women. 2-3The Moabite women invited the men to come and join in their sacrifices to their false gods. So the Israelites joined in worshiping these false gods—they ate the sacrifices and worshiped these gods. There the Israelites began worshiping the false god, Baal of Peor. And the Lord became very angry with them.
4The Lord said to Moses, “Get all the leaders of these people. Then kill them so that all the people can see.#25:4 so that all the people can see Literally, “before the sun.” Lay their bodies before the Lord. Then the Lord will not show his anger against all the Israelites.”
5So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must find the men in your tribe who have led people to worship the false god, Baal of Peor. Then you must kill these men.”
6At the time Moses and all the elders of Israel were gathered together at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. An Israelite man brought a Midianite woman home to his brothers.#25:6 brothers Or “family.” He did this where Moses and all the leaders could see. Moses and the leaders were very sad. 7Phinehas was the son of Eleazar and the grandson of Aaron the priest. Phinehas saw this man bring the woman into camp. So he left the meeting and got his spear. 8He followed the Israelite into the tent. Then he used the spear to kill the Israelite man and the Midianite woman in her tent.#25:8 her tent This was probably a special tent that showed this woman was a prostitute serving the false god, Baal of Peor. He pushed the spear through both of their bodies. At that time there was a great sickness among the Israelites. But when Phinehas killed these two people, the sickness stopped. 9A total of 24,000 people died from that sickness.
10The Lord said to Moses, 11“I was so angry with the Israelites that I wanted to kill them. But Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest, has saved them from my anger. He did this by showing that he feels strongly, just as I do, that my people must worship only me. 12Tell Phinehas that I am making a peace agreement with him. 13This is the agreement: He and all of his family who live after him will always be priests, because he had strong feelings for his God. And he did what was needed to make the Israelites pure.”
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 killed was Cozbi.#25:15 Cozbi This name is like the Hebrew word meaning “my lie.” She was the daughter of Zur. Zur was the head of a family and leader of a Midianite tribe.
16The Lord said to Moses, 17“The Midianites are your enemies. You must kill them. 18They have already made you their enemies. They tricked you at Peor. And they tricked you with the woman named Cozbi. She was the daughter of a Midianite leader, but she was killed when the sickness came to the Israelites. That sickness was caused because the people were tricked into worshiping the false god Baal of Peor.”