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Numbers - Chapter 25

1 Israel settled at Shittim. The people gave themselves over to prostitution with Moabite women.

2 These invited them to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down before their gods.

3 With Israel thus committed to the Baal of Peor, Yahweh's anger was aroused against them.

4 Yahweh said to Moses, 'Take all the leaders of the people. Impale them facing the sun, for Yahweh, to deflect his burning anger from Israel.'

5 Moses said to the judges of Israel, 'Each of you will put to death those of his people who have committed themselves to the Baal of Peor.'

6 One of the Israelites came along, bringing the Midianite woman into his family, under the very eyes of Moses and the whole community of Israelites as they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

7 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, on seeing this, stood up, left the assembly, seized a lance,

8 followed the Israelite into the alcove, and there ran them both through, the Israelite and the woman, through the stomach. Thus the plague which had struck the Israelites was arrested.

9 In the plague twenty-four thousand of them had died.

10 Yahweh then spoke and said,

11 'The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron has deflected my wrath from the Israelites, he being the only one of them to have the same zeal as I have; for which reason, I did not make an end of the Israelites in my zeal.

12 For this reason I say: To him I grant my covenant of peace.

13 To him and his descendants after him, this covenant will assure the priesthood for ever. In reward for his zeal for his God, he will have the right to perform the ritual of expiation for the Israelites.'

14 The Israelite who had been killed (the one who was killed with the Midianite woman) was called Zimri son of Salu, leader of one of the Simeonite families.

15 The woman, the Midianite who was killed, was called Cozbi, daughter of Zur, chief of a clan, of a family, in Midian.

16 Yahweh then spoke to Moses and said,

17 'Harass the Midianites, strike them down,

18 for harassing you with their guile in the Peor affair and in the affair of their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, the woman who was killed the day the plague came on account of the business of Peor.'

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