Numbers 25:8
And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Into the tent.—The word kubbah (tent, or alcove) occurs only in this place. The reference may be to the inner part of the ordinary tent which was occupied by the women; or it may denote an arched or vaulted tent (probably of skins), which the Israelites had erected whilst joining with the Moabites and Midianites in the lascivious worship of Baal-peor. The LXX. has kaminos, the Vulgate lupanar.

Through her belly.—Or, within her tent. It is thought by some that the word which is here used was originally the same word which occurs in the earlier part of the verse, and which is there rendered tent.

So the plague was stayed . . . —It is probable that the judges were not duly obedient to the command of Moses, and, consequently, that a plague broke out from the Lord upon the people.

Numbers 25:8. Thrust them both through — Phinehas was himself a man in great authority, and did this after the command given by Moses to the rulers to slay these transgressors, and in the very sight, and no doubt by the consent of Moses himself, and also by the special direction of God’s Spirit.

25:6-15 Phinehas, in the courage of zeal and faith, executed vengeance on Zimri and Cozbi. This act can never be an example for private revenge, or religious persecution, or for irregular public vengeance.Into the tent - The inner recess in the tent, fashioned archwise, and appropriated as the sleeping-chamber and women's apartment. 8. the plague—some sudden and widespread mortality. Into the tent, or brothel house; for since they gave way to such lewd practices, no doubt they singled out convenient places for their wickedness.

Thrust both of them through; which is no warrant for private persons to take upon them the execution of justice upon any, though the greatest malefactors, because Phinehas was himself a man in great authority and power, and did this after the command given by Moses to the rulers to slay these transgressors, and in the very sight, and no doubt by the consent of Moses himself, and also by the special instinct and direction of God’s Spirit.

Through her belly, or in her brothel house, for the word is the same before used, and translated tent, and it may be called hers, because she chose or used that place for her wicked purposes, as the rest doubtless hid other places of like nature. The

plague; either the pestilence, or some other sudden and grievous mortality.

And he went after the man of Israel into the tent,.... Into which he went with his harlot; the word here used is different from what is commonly used for a tent: Aben Ezra observes that in the Kedarene or Arabic language there is a word near to it, which Bochart, putting the article "al" to it, says (a), is "alkobba", from whence is the word "alcove" with us; and Aben Ezra says, there was some little difference between the form of a tent and this, as well as others observe (b) there was in the matter of it, this being of skins and leather, and the other of hair, boughs of trees, &c. the author of Aruch (c) says, it was short, or narrow above and broad below, and interprets it a place in which whores were put; and so it is used in the Talmud (d) for a brothel house, and is so translated here by some interpreters (e):

and thrust both of them through; with his javelin, spear, or pike:

the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly; by which, it seems, they were killed in the very act of uncleanness; this was an extraordinary action, done by a person of public authority, and under a more than common emotion of spirit, and not to be drawn into an example by persons of a private character:

so the plague was stayed from the children of Israel; which had broke out among them and carried off many; even a disease, the pestilence, according to Josephus (f); it ceasing upon this fact of Phinehas, shows that that was approved of by the Lord.

(a) "conclave est camerati operis, quo lectus circumdatur", Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 4. c. 8. col. 1092. Vid. Schultens Animadv. Philolog. in Job. p. 183. (b) Castel. Lex. Heptaglot. col. 3261. (c) Baal Aruch, fol. 133. 4. (d) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 17. 2.((e) "in lupanar", V. L. "ad lupanar", Montanus; "in lupanar ipsum", Junius & Tremellius; "in fornicem", Tigurine version. (f) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 4. c. 6. sect. 12.)

And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. the pavilion] Heb. ḳubbâh; a large vaulted tent; ‘alcove’ (R.V. marg.) has gained a different significance, but it is only the Arabic equivalent to the Heb. word with the article al prefixed. The word is not found elsewhere in the O.T. and its meaning is doubtful.

And the plague was stayed] The expression is quoted in Psalm 106:30 where the incident is referred to.

Verse 8. - Into the tent. אֶל־הַקֻּבָּה. Septuagint, εἰς τὴν κάμινον. The word signifies an arched recess (cf. the Arabic "alcove," from the same root, and the Latin fornix), and means probably the inner division which served as the women's room in the larger tents of the wealthier Israelites. There is no sufficient ground for supposing that a special place had been erected for this evil purpose; if it had been, it would surely have been destroyed. Through her belly. אֶל־קָבָתָהּ. Septuagint, διὰ τῆς μήτρας αὐτῆς. So the plague was stayed. No plague has been mentioned, but the narrative evidently deals with an episode the details of which were very fresh in the memory of all, and is extremely concise. That a plague would follow such an apostasy might be certainly expected from the previous experiences at Kibroth-hattaavah, at Kadesh, and after the rebellion of Korah. Numbers 25:8Through this judgment, which was executed by Phinehas with holy zeal upon the daring sinners, the plague was restrained, so that it came to an end. The example which Phinehas had made of these sinners was an act of intercession, by which the high priest appeased the wrath of God, and averted the judgment of destruction from the whole congregation ("he was zealous for his God," ויכפּר, Numbers 25:13). The thought upon which this expression is founded is, that the punishment which was inflicted as a purifying chastisement served as a "covering" against the exterminating judgment (see Herzog's Cyclopaedia).

(Note: Upon this act of Phinehas, and the similar examples of Samuel (1 Samuel 15:33) and Mattathias (1 Macc. 2:24), the later Jews erected the so-called "zealot right," jus zelotarum, according to which any one, even though not qualified by his official position, possessed the right, in cases of any daring contempt of the theocratic institutions, or any daring violation of the honour of God, to proceed with vengeance against the criminals. (See Salden, otia theol. pp. 609ff., and Buddeus, de jure zelotarum apud Hebr. 1699, and in Oelrich's collect. T. i. Diss. 5.) The stoning of Stephen furnishes an example of this.)

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