KJ: Phinehas, the son of
Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the
children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I
consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
BN: Pinchas ben El-Azar, the grandson of Aharon the priest, has turned my wrath away from the Beney Yisra-El, in that he was very concerned for my sake among them, that I would not consume the Beney Yisra-El in my jealousy.
JEALOUSY: For YHVH your god is a jealous god - see my note to Exodus 20:4; once more confirmation that YHVH is not yet a monotheistic deity: you shall have no other gods before me infers, unequivocally, the existence of other, albeit lesser gods.
But that is long-term theology. In the short-term, Mosheh has a problem. Pinchas, his grand-nephew, has murdered a man and a woman in cold blood, for no obvious reason unless he thought the man, or perhaps the woman, or both, was personally responsible for bringing plague into the camp, which is not a reason acceptable in law anyway.
So Mosheh has a problem. He has a dead man and woman in his camp, and no doubt some family members seeking revenge for their loved ones, or even justice; and a king who didn't want these refugees and migrants and asylum seekers in his land, and now look what they've done. Mosheh, for whom hanging all the chiefs of Yisra-El because YHVH told him to is not a problem; for whom massacring and wiping out whole villages, towns, people, is not a problem, as we have seen. But this is Pinchas, his grand-nephew, Aharon's grandson, who he can't just hand over as a common criminal, and especially given that he too has a Midyani wife.
So Mosheh has a solution, and it will come to him in the Ohel Mo'ed, through the mouth of YHVH. See verse 12.
25:12 LACHEN EMOR HINENI NOTEN LO ET BERITI SHALOM
KJ: Wherefore say, Behold,
I give unto him my covenant of peace:
BN: Therefore say: Behold, I bestow on him my covenant of peace
A kind of divine "diplomatic immunity", the sort that sons and nephews of despotic leaders don't usually expect to get - do they? In fact, what he is getting is a divine reward; YHVH is supporting his action, commending him for it. Whatever next? Divine approval for the bulldozing of the girl's family-home, because obviously it was she who enticed the man, her fault, and probably a terrorist planning to Judith her Holofernes as he slept. I wonder if Mohammed re-read this passage before writing the "Declaration of Immunity" in Sura 9
25:13 VE HAYETAH LO U LE ZARO ACHARAV BRIT KETUNAT OLAM TACHAT ASHER KINEH L'ELOHIM VA YECHAPER AL BENEY YISRA-EL
KJ: And he shall have it,
and his seed after him, even the
covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and
made an atonement for the children of Israel.
BN: And it shall be to him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was concerned for his god, and made atonement for the Beney Yisra-El.
He is not just exonerated, he is even rewarded; apparently it is good to murder in the name of YHVH, as Christians for centuries have found it good to murder in the name of Christ, and Moslems in the name of al-Lah.
25:14 VE SHEM ISH YISRA-EL HA MUKEH ASHER HUKAH ET HA MIDYANIT ZIMRI VEN SALU NESI VEIT AV LA SHIM'ONI
KJ: And the name of the
Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi,
the daughter of Zur; he was head over
a people, and of a chief
house in Midian.
BN: And the name of the Bat Midyan who was killed was Kazbi bat Tsur; he was head of the people of a clan of Midyan.
ROSH: One of the challenges facing a translator, whether of the Tanach or any other text, is how to keep one's personal agenda out of the translation, to read the words as they are intended in their own cultural or ideological or theological or whatever perspective it might be. It doesn't matter what one would prefer the text to say; it doesn't matter if there are things one would rather leave out; if they are in the original, they must remain in the translation. This example is minor, but it serves to make the point. Kazbi's father Tsur is described here as ROSH UMOT BEIT AV BE MIDYAN, which means he wasn't just some "head of the people of a father's house", which is actually a meaningless phrase, he was "a very big clan-chief", which is to say "the head of his people in his father's house", and we know that "father" in such phrases means his god: so Kazbi was a princess. Not some ZONAH whoring with the Beney Yisra-El for some extra cash, but a princess. And the zenut, based on the opening verses of this episode, was not whoring anyway, but the rites and ceremonies of Anat in the sacred grove. Kazbi was a princess, and a priestess, killed by the son of the High Priest - Dinah and Shechem all over again! So Mosheh now has an even bigger problem.
25:16 VA YEDABER YHVH EL MOSHEH LEMOR
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר
KJ: And the LORD spake
unto Moses, saying,
BN: Then YHVH spoke to Mosheh, saying:
25:17 TSAROR ET HA MIDYANIM VE HIKIYTEM OTAM
צָרוֹר אֶת הַמִּדְיָנִים וְהִכִּיתֶם אוֹתָם
KJ: Vex the Midianites,
and smite them:
BN: Harass the Beney Midyan, and smite them
Presumably there was something else before this; the moment at which Prince Tsur learned that his daughter had been murdered by a Beney Yisra-El, and went to the king to demand the fulfillment of the go'el, the fulfillment of the duty of muruwah... and the king gathered his army, and launched an attack bent on revenge.
Whereas, as Mosheh promised, his people just wanted to pass peacefully through the land, and eat no fruit from the trees, and pluck no girls from the shrines, and murder no one... and anyway, it was all your fault... 25:18 KI TSORERIM HEM LACHEM BE NICHLEYHEM ASHER NICHLU LACHEM AL DEVAR PE'OR VE AL DEVAR KAZBI VAT NESI MIDYAN ACHOTAH HA MUKAH VE YOM HA MAGEPHAH AL DEVAR PE'OR
KJ: For they vex you with
their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the
matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was
slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake.
BN: For they harass you, by their wiles with which they have beguiled you in this matter of Pe'or, and in this matter of Kazbi, the daughter of the prince of Midyan, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague in the matter of Pe'or.
NESI MIDYAN: You see! I knew you didn't believe me. Here goes Prashker again, reading cynically into the text, making some streetwalker out to be a red carpeteer. But the text itself now confirms it and corroborates it. And as to the "beguiling"; is it feasible that they were so ignorant of the customs of the Anat worshippers that they really didn't know that the priestesses throughout history, like mediaeval nuns, were almost invariably the daughters of the aristocracy?