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Numbers Chapter 25
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Israel Sins with Moab
25:1 Israel was staying in Shittim when the people began to behave immorally with the Moabite girls.
25:2 [The girls] invited the people to their religious sacrifices, and the people ate and worshipped the [Moabite] gods.
25:3 Israel thus became involved with Baal Peor, and God displayed anger against Israel.
25:4 God said to Moses, 'Take the people's leaders, and [have them] impale [the idolators] publicly before God. This will reverse God's display of anger against Israel.'
25:5 Moses said to Israel's judges, 'Each of you must kill your constituents who were involved with Baal Peor.'
25:6 [The judges] were still weeping [in indecision] at the Communion Tent entrance, when an Israelite brought forth a Midianite woman to his brethren before the eyes of Moses and the Israelite community.
25:7 When Pinchas, a son of Eleazar and a grandson of Aaron the priest, saw this, he rose up from the midst of the assemblage and took a spear in his hand.
25:8 He followed the Israelite man into the tent's inner chamber, and ran them through, [driving the spear] through the Israelite man and woman's groin.

With that, the plague that had struck the Israelites was arrested.

25:9 In that plague, 24,000 people had died.

Pinchas' Reward
25:10 God spoke to Moses, saying,
25:11 'Pinchas (a son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest) was the one who zealously took up My cause among the Israelites and turned My anger away from them, so that I did not destroy them in My demand for exclusive worship.
25:12 Therefore, tell him that I have given him My covenant of peace.
25:13 This shall imply a covenant of eternal priesthood to him and his descendants after him. It is [given to him] because he zealously took up God's cause and made atonement for the Israelites.'
25:14 The name of the man who was killed along with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, a prince of the Simeonite paternal line.
25:15 The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Kazbi, the daughter of Tzur, governor of a paternal line in Midian.

Orders to Attack Midian
25:16 God spoke to Moses, saying,
25:17 'Attack the Midianites and kill them
25:18 since they attacked you through their plot with Peor, as well as through their sister, Kazbi, daughter of a Midianite prince, who was killed on the day of plague that resulted from Peor.'


  This is the 'stream of Shittim' mentioned in Joel 4:18 (Sefer HaYashar). This can also be translated 'Acacia Grove' (cf. Saadia); see Exodus 25:4. The Israelites remained here until they crossed the Jordan (Joshua 2:1, 3:1). See note on Numbers 22:1.

began to
  (Targum). Or, 'desecrated themselves' (Septuagint). This was done at Balaam's advice (Numbers 31:16; Sanhedrin 106a; Tanchuma 18; Rashi; Josephus, 4:6:6).

Moabite girls
  The Moabite girls may have initiated this, but it was the Midianite girls who were primarily involved; see Numbers 25:6, 31:2,15,16 (Josephus, Antiquities 4:6:7; cf. Bava Kama 38 a,b; Ramban on 25:18; Abarbanel; Malbim).

became involved
  Tzamad in Hebrew; literally, 'paired off' (Bachya).

Baal Peor
  An idol associated with Peor (see Numbers 23:28). According to Talmudic tradition, the worship of this idol involved scatological practices (Sifri; Sanhedrin 60b, 64a; Rashi).

God displayed anger...
  This involved the plague mentioned in Numbers 25:9 (Rashi).

  Hoka in Hebrew, from the root yaka. Related to taka, to impale. Or, 'hang' (Sanhedrin 34b; Rashi); 'kill' (Targum); or, 'judge' (Septuagint).

the idolators
  (Targum; Rashi; Ibn Ezra; cf. Sanhedrin 35b). This was never accomplished (Ramban; see Numbers 25:6).

  (Rashi; Ibn Ezra; Lekach Tov). Literally, 'before the sun.' Or, 'through witnesses' (Lekach Tov). Cf. note on Exodus 22:2. Josephus also notes that Moses assembled all the people (Antiquities 4:6:10).

  (cf. Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 10:2). Literally, 'his men'. Or, 'his neighbors' (Saadia).

in indecision
  (cf. Ramban; Sanhedrin 82a). Or, 'the people were weeping in prayer' (Ibn Ezra), because the plague had begun (Bachya), or because they had been commanded to kill (Chizzkuni).

an Israelite
  See Numbers 25:14. The man, Zimri, publicly confronted Moses (Josephus,Antiquities 4:6:11), pointing out that Moses was vulnerable because Moses had married a Midianite woman (Exodus 2:16,21; Numbers 12:1; Sanhedrin 82a; Targum Yonathan; BeMidbar Rabbah 20:25).

  See Numbers 25:1, 25:15.

  See Exodus 6:25.

inner chamber
  Kubbah in Hebrew, like the womb of a woman, which is also called kubbah (cf. Radak, Sherashim; Septuagint).

  Also kubbah. (see Radak; Lekach Tov; Chizzkuni). Or, 'in her tent' (Ibn Ezra).

exclusive worship
  See Exodus 20:5 (cf. Ibn Ezra).

eternal priesthood
  This implies that his line of descendants would never die out (Ralbag). It was descendants of Pinchas who served as high priests in the first and second Temples (1 Chronicles 5:30-40, 6:34-38; Ibn Ezra; Ralbag; Chizzkuni).

Zimri son of Salu
  The Talmud identifies him with Shelumiel son of Tzuri-Shaddai in 1:6 (Sanhedrin 82b). He was head of the Saulite family in the tribe of Simeon (26:13; Sanhedrin ibid.; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah on Genesis 46:10).

  See note on Numbers 26:14.

  Or Kozbi. Talmudic sources state that her name was also Sh'vilani (Sanhedrin 82b), Shelonai (Targum Yonathan) or Shulani (Arukh).

  a king of Midian; see Numbers 31:8, Joshua 13:21 (Lekach Tov). There is a Midrashic teaching that Kazbi was a daughter of Balak (Numbers 22:2; Targum Yonathan; BeMidbar Rabbah 20:24; Midrash Aggadah on 25:6). Some say that Kazbi was a grand-daughter of Tzur on her mother's side (cf. Tzafanath Paneach). It is also possible that Balak was her maternal grandfather.

  Literally, 'head of nations.'

  Although Peor was a Moabite god, it was the Midianites' idea to use it as a means of harming the Israelites (Tzafanath Paneach).

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