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Numbers 25:6-8

Context

25:6 Just then 1  one of the Israelites came and brought to his brothers 2  a Midianite woman in the plain view of Moses and of 3  the whole community of the Israelites, while they 4  were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 25:7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, 5  he got up from among the assembly, took a javelin in his hand, 25:8 and went after the Israelite man into the tent 6  and thrust through the Israelite man and into the woman’s abdomen. 7  So the plague was stopped from the Israelites. 8 

Numbers 25:14-15

Context

25:14 Now the name of the Israelite who was stabbed – the one who was stabbed with the Midianite woman – was Zimri son of Salu, a leader of a clan 9  of the Simeonites. 25:15 The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi daughter of Zur. He was a leader 10  over the people of a clan of Midian. 11 

1 tn The verse begins with the deictic particle וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh), pointing out the action that was taking place. It stresses the immediacy of the action to the reader.

2 tn Or “to his family”; or “to his clan.”

3 tn Heb “before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of.”

4 tn The vav (ו) at the beginning of the clause is a disjunctive because it is prefixed to the nonverbal form. In this context it is best interpreted as a circumstantial clause, stressing that this happened “while” people were weeping over the sin.

5 tn The first clause is subordinated to the second because both begin with the preterite verbal form, and there is clearly a logical and/or chronological sequence involved.

6 tn The word קֻבָּה (qubbah) seems to refer to the innermost part of the family tent. Some suggest it was in the tabernacle area, but that is unlikely. S. C. Reif argues for a private tent shrine (“What Enraged Phinehas? A Study of Numbers 25:8,” JBL 90 [1971]: 200-206).

7 tn Heb “and he thrust the two of them the Israelite man and the woman to her belly [lower abdomen].” Reif notes the similarity of the word with the previous “inner tent,” and suggests that it means Phinehas stabbed her in her shrine tent, where she was being set up as some sort of priestess or cult leader. Phinehas put a quick end to their sexual immorality while they were in the act.

8 sn Phinehas saw all this as part of the pagan sexual ritual that was defiling the camp. He had seen that the Lord himself had had the guilty put to death. And there was already some plague breaking out in the camp that had to be stopped. And so in his zeal he dramatically put an end to this incident, that served to stop the rest and end the plague.

9 tn Heb “a father’s house.” So also in v. 15.

10 tn Heb “head.”

11 sn The passage makes it clear that this individual was a leader, one who was supposed to be preventing this thing from happening. The judgment was swift and severe, because the crime was so great, and the danger of it spreading was certain. Paul refers to this horrible incident when he reminds Christians not to do similar things (1 Cor 10:6-8).



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