The Plague of Israel

When Israel dwelled in Shittim, the people began to prostitute[a] themselves with the daughters of Moab. And they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and worshiped their gods. So Israel was joined together to Baal Peor, and Yahweh became angry[b] with Israel. Yahweh said to Moses, “Take all the leaders[c] of the people and kill them before the sun, so the fierce anger of Yahweh will turn from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill his men who are joined together with Baal Peor.”

And behold, a man from the Israelites[d] came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of all of the community of the Israelites,[e] and they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of assembly. When Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest saw, he got up from the midst of the community and took a spear in his hand. He went after the man of Israel into the woman’s section of the tent, and he drove the two of them, the man of Israel and the woman, into her belly. And the plague among the Israelites[f] stopped. The ones who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.

10 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, turned away my anger from among the Israelites[g] when he was jealous with my jealousy in their midst, and I did not destroy the Israelites[h] with my jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I am giving to him my covenant of peace, 13 and it will be for him and his offspring[i] after him a covenant of an eternal priesthood because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.’”[j]

14 The name of the man of Israel who was struck with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, a leader of the family[k] of the Simeonites.[l] 15 The name of the Midianite woman who was struck was Cozbi daughter of Zur, a leader[m] of a tribe of the family[n] in Midian.

16 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Attack the Midianites and strike them 18 because they were attacking you with their deception, with which they have deceived you on the matter of Peor and on the matter of Cozbi the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was struck on the day of the plague because of the matter of Peor.”


  1. Numbers 25:1 Or “have sexual relations”
  2. Numbers 25:3 Literally “the nose of Yahweh became hot”
  3. Numbers 25:4 Literally “the heads”
  4. Numbers 25:6 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  5. Numbers 25:6 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  6. Numbers 25:8 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  7. Numbers 25:11 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  8. Numbers 25:11 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  9. Numbers 25:13 Literally “seed”
  10. Numbers 25:13 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  11. Numbers 25:14 Or “the father’s house” or “the ancestor’s house”
  12. Numbers 25:14 Hebrew “Simeonite”
  13. Numbers 25:15 Literally “a head”
  14. Numbers 25:15 Or “the father’s house” or “the ancestor’s house”