The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Numbers
Meanwhile, the Israelites were dwelling at Settim; and here they fell a-whoring with the women of Moab.
These bade them come and partake of their own sacrifices, and worship their own gods;
so that sons of Israel learned the rites of Beelphegor. And the Lord was indignant;
he would have had all the clan chiefs hanged on gibbets in the sun’s heat, to avert the divine vengeance from the people.
But Moses quickly bade the rulers of the people slay all those who had learned Beelphegor’s worship.
And now, in full sight of Moses, and of the whole multitude that stood weeping at the tabernacle door, one of the Israelites brought in a Madianite woman to shame his brethren.
Whereupon Phinees, son of Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron, left his place among the multitude weapon in hand,
and followed this Israelite into the place of shame; man and woman both he pierced through, groin to groin. With that, the Israelites were rid of the plague that had befallen them;
but not till twenty-four thousand of them had perished.
And the Lord said to Moses,
It is Phinees, son of Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron, who has averted my vengeance from the sons of Israel; a man roused to such indignation in my cause, that my own indignation has spared them from utter overthrow.
Tell him, then, that I pledge him my favour;
the priesthood is secured by covenant to him and to his heirs for ever, in return for this zeal on his God’s behalf, that atoned for Israel’s sin.
(The Israelite who was killed with the woman of Madian was one Zambri, son of Salu, a clan chief of Simeon;
and the woman who died with him was called Cozbi, daughter to Sur, a man of high rank among the Madianites.)
And now the Lord said to Moses,
Treat the Madianites as enemies, and smite them down;
it was as enemies they treated you, when they baited a trap for you with Phogor’s rites, and with their countrywoman, the Madianite princess Cozbi, that died when the plague came to punish Phogor’s worshippers.
The Holy Bible