Israel at Peor

1. While the Israelites were camped near Acacia, the men committed sexual sins with Moabite women.

2-3. The 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.

4. The Lord said to Moses, “Get all the leaders of these people. Then kill them so that all the people can see. Lay their bodies before the Lord. Then the Lord will not show his anger against all the Israelites.”

5. So 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.”

6. At 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. He did this where Moses and all the leaders could see. Moses and the leaders were very sad.

7. Phinehas 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.

8. He followed the Israelite into the tent. Then he used the spear to kill the Israelite man and the Midianite woman in her tent. 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.

9. A total of 24,000 people died from that sickness.

10. The 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.

12. Tell Phinehas that I am making a peace agreement with him.

13. This 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.”

14. The 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.

15. And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi. She was the daughter of Zur. Zur was the head of a family and leader of a Midianite tribe.

16. The Lord said to Moses,

17. “The Midianites are your enemies. You must kill them.

18. They 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.”

Chapters in Numbers:

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