And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
Read Chapter 25
George Leo Haydock
One, Zambri, ver. 14. (Menochius)
Went in. Hebrew, "brought unto his brethren, or came. With a woman of Madian. "Septuagint, "introduced one of his brethren to a Madianite woman. "But the Samaritan copy agrees with the Vulgate; and the ancient edition of the Septuagint must have done so too, since the Fathers explain it in the same sense. (Philo, de vita Mos.; Origen;) Josephus ( iv. 6,) pretends, that Zambri had married the most noble Cozbi, and that Moses finding fault with such infractions of his laws, this prince of the house of Simeon, arraigned him publicly of cruel tyranny and imposture in thus imposing his own laws upon a free people, and that for his part, he would retain his wife and ingratiate himself with many gods, that he might discover the truth. Phinees heard this with just indignation, and following him to his tent, transfixed him with Cozbi, his wife, while those young men who were desirous of imitating his zeal, treated similar offenders in like manner. "God destroyed the rest by the plague, so that not less than 14,000 perished "as Epiphanius translates, omitting dis, or ten thousand, though many copies have only 23,000, which agrees with the number specified by St. Paul, if indeed he allude to this transaction, 1 Corinthians x. 7. Philo observes, that Phinees slew the Israelite who had sacrificed to the idols, and was in the company of the harlot; and , "that 24,000 perished in one day. "(Haydock)
Perhaps 1000 of the heads might be gibbeted, and 23,000 of the common people slain. (Du Hamel)