While Israel was staying in Shittim,1 the men began to indulge in sexual immorality2 with Moabite3 women,4
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who invited them to the sacrifices5 to their gods.6 The people ate and bowed down before these gods.
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So Israel joined in worshiping7 the Baal of Peor.8 And the LORD's anger burned against them.
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The LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders9 of these people, kill them and expose10 them in broad daylight before the LORD,11 so that the LORD's fierce anger12 may turn away from Israel."
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So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death13 those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor."14
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Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite15 woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping16 at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
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When Phinehas17 son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear18 in his hand
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and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them--through the Israelite and into the woman's body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped;19
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but those who died in the plague20 numbered 24,000.21
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The LORD said to Moses,
"Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites;22 for he was as zealous as I am for my honor23 among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.
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Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace24 with him.
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He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood,25 because he was zealous26 for the honor27 of his God and made atonement28 for the Israelites."29
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The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman30 was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite family.31
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And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Cozbi32 daughter of Zur, a tribal chief of a Midianite family.33
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The LORD said to Moses,34
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"Treat the Midianites35 as enemies36 and kill them,37
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because they treated you as enemies when they deceived you in the affair of Peor38 and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, the woman who was killed when the plague came as a result of Peor."
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