Numbers 25:17
New International Version
“Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them.

New Living Translation
“Attack the Midianites and destroy them,

English Standard Version
“Harass the Midianites and strike them down,

Berean Study Bible
“Attack the Midianites and strike them dead.

King James Bible
Vex the Midianites, and smite them:

New King James Version
“Harass the Midianites, and attack them;

New American Standard Bible
“Be hostile to the Midianites and attack them;

NASB 1995
“Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them;

NASB 1977
“Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them;

Amplified Bible
“Provoke hostilities with the Midianites and attack them,

Christian Standard Bible
“Attack the Midianites and strike them dead.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Attack the Midianites and strike them dead.

American Standard Version
Vex the Midianites, and smite them;

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Distress the Midianites and put them to the sword.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Plague the Madianites as enemies, and smite them,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Let the Madianites find you enemies, and slay you them:

Good News Translation
"Attack the Midianites and destroy them,

International Standard Version
"Attack the Midianites and execute them,

JPS Tanakh 1917
Harass the Midianites, and smite them;

Literal Standard Version
“Distress the Midianites, and you have struck them,

New American Bible
Treat the Midianites as enemies and strike them,

NET Bible
"Bring trouble to the Midianites, and destroy them,

New Revised Standard Version
“Harass the Midianites, and defeat them;

New Heart English Bible
'Harass the Midianites, and strike them;

World English Bible
"Harass the Midianites, and strike them;

Young's Literal Translation
'Distress the Midianites, and ye have smitten them,

Additional Translations ...
The Zeal of Phinehas
16And the LORD said to Moses, 17“Attack the Midianites and strike them dead. 18For they assailed you deceitfully when they seduced you in the matter of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of the Midianite leader, the woman who was killed on the day the plague came because of Peor.”…

Cross References
Numbers 22:4
So the Moabites said to the elders of Midian, "This horde will devour everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field." Since Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time,

Numbers 25:1
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with the daughters of Moab,

Numbers 25:16
And the LORD said to Moses,

Numbers 25:18
For they assailed you deceitfully when they seduced you in the matter of Peor and their sister Cozbi, the daughter of the Midianite leader, the woman who was killed on the day the plague came because of Peor."

Numbers 31:1
And the LORD said to Moses,

Treasury of Scripture

Vex the Midianites, and smite them:

vex you

Numbers 31:15,16
And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? …

Genesis 26:10
And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.

Exodus 32:21,35
And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? …


Genesis 3:13
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

2 Peter 2:14,15,18
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: …


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.

(17) Vex the Midianites, and smite them.--The Midianites appear to have been joint actors with the Moabites throughout the whole of the opposition which was offered to Israel, and the chief actors in the wiles by which the Israelites were seduced. As the descendants of Abraham, the father of the faithful, the Midianites ought to have feared and obeyed Abraham's God, and to have shown brotherly kindness to His people, who were their own kindred. The special judgments of God are directed against the sins of apostacy and of seduction. (Comp. Revelation 2:14; Revelation 18:6.) Although the Moabites were not to be smitten with the Midianites (see Deuteronomy 2:9), nevertheless they did not escape punishment, but were shut out, even to the tenth generation, from the congregation of the Lord. (See Deuteronomy 23:3-4.) Their exemption at this time from the judgment executed upon the Midianites was probably due, not to their descent from Lot (for the Midianites were descended from Abraham), but to the fact that the measure of their sin was not yet full. (Comp. Genesis 15:16.)

. . .

Verse 17. - Vex the Midianites. The Moabites, although the evil began with them, were passed over; perhaps because they were still protected by the Divine injunction (Deuteronomy 2:9) not to meddle with them; more probably because their sin had not the same studied and deliberate character as the sin of the Midianites. We may think of the women of Moab as merely indulging their individual passions after their wonted manner, but of the women of Midian as employed by their rulers, on the advice of Balsam, in a deliberate plot to entangle the Israelites in heathen rites and heathen sins which would alienate from them the favour of God. NOTE ON THE ZEAL OF PHINEHAS. The act of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, in slaying Zimri and Cozbi is one of the most memorable in the Old Testament; not so much, however, in itself, as in the commendation bestowed upon it by God. It is unquestionably surprising at first sight that an act of unauthorized zeal, which might so readily be made (as indeed it was made) the excuse for deeds of murderous fanaticism, should be commended in the strongest terms by the Almighty; that an act of summary vengeance, which we find it somewhat hard to justify on moral grounds, should be made in a peculiar sense and in a special degree the pattern of the great atonement wrought by the Saviour of mankind; but this aspect of the deed in the eyes of God by its very unexpectedness draws our attention to it, and obliges us to consider wherein its distinctive religious character and excellence lay. It is necessary in the first place to point out that the act of Phinehas did really receive stronger testimony from God than any other act done proprio motu in the Old Testament. What he did was not done officially (for he held no office), nor was it clone by command (for the offenders were not under his jurisdiction as judge), nor in fulfillment of any revealed law or duty (for no blame would have attached to him if he had let it alone), and yet it had the same effect in staying the plague as the act of Aaron when he stood between the living and the dead with the hallowed fire in his hand (see on Numbers 16:46-48). Of both it is said that "he made an atonement for the people," and so far they both appear as having power with God to turn away his wrath and stay his avenging hand. But the atonement made by Aaron was official, for he was the anointed high priest, and, being made with incense from the sanctuary, it was mate in accordance with and upon the strength of a ceremonial law laid down by God whereby he had bound himself to exercise his Divine right of pardon. The act of Phinehas, on the contrary, had no legal or ritual value; there is no power of atonement in the blood of sinners, nor had the death of 24,000 guilty people had any effect in turning away the wrath of God from them that survived. It remains, therefore, a startling truth that the deed of Phinehas is the only act neither official nor commanded, but originating in the impulses of the actor himself, to which the power of atoning for sin is ascribed in the Old Testament: for although in 2 Samuel 21:3 David speaks of making an atonement by giving up seven of Saul's sons, it is evident from the context that the "atonement" was made to the Gibeonites, and not directly to the Lord. Again, the act of Phinehas merited the highest reward from God, a reward which was promised to him in the most absolute terms. Because he had clone this thing he should have God's covenant of peace, he and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. This promise must mean that he and his seed should have power with God for ever to make peace between heaven and earth, and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; and, meaning this, it is a republication in favour of Phinehas, and in more absolute terms, of the covenant made with Levi as represented by Aaron (see on Malachi 2:4, 5). Nor is this all. In Psalm 106:31 it is said of his deed that "it was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations forevermore." This word "counted" or "imputed" is the same (חָשַׁב) which is used of Abraham in Genesis 15:6, and the very words of the Septuagint here (ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην) are applied to the obedience of Abraham in James 2:23. It appears then that righteousness was imputed to Phinehas, as to the father of the faithful, with this distinction, that to Phinehas it was imputed as an everlasting righteousness, which is not said of Abraham. Now if we compare the two, it must be evident that the act of Phinehas was not, like Abraham's, an act of self-sacrificing obedience, nor in any special sense an act of faith. While both acted under the sense of duty, the following of duty in Abraham's case put the greatest possible strain upon all the natural impulses of mind and heart; in the case of Phinehas it altogether coincided with the impulses of his own will. If faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness, it is clear that zeal was imputed to Phinehas for righteousness for evermore. This being so, it is necessary in the second place to point out that the act in question (like that of Abraham in sacrificing his son) was distinctly one of moral virtue according to the standard then Divinely allowed. An act which was in itself wrong, or of doubtful rectitude, could not form the ground for such praise and promise, even supposing that they really looked far beyond the act itself. Now it is clear

(1) that under no circumstances would a similar act be justifiable now;

(2) that no precedent could be established by it then.

The Jews indeed feigned a "zealot-right," examples of which they saw (amongst others) in the act of Samuel slaying Agag (1 Samuel 15:33), of Mattathias slaying the idolatrous Jew and the king's commissioner (1 Macc. 2:24-26), of the Sanhedrim slaying St. Stephen. But the last-mentioned case is evidence enough that in the absence of distinct Divine guidance zeal is sure to degenerate into fanaticism, or rather that it is impossible to distinguish zeal from fanaticism. Every such act must of necessity stand upon its own merits, for it can only be justified by the coexistence of two conditions which are alike beyond human certainty: . . .

Parallel Commentaries ...

צָר֖וֹר (ṣā·rō·wr)
Verb - Qal - Infinitive absolute
Strong's 6887: To bind, tie up, be restricted, narrow, scant, or cramped

the Midianites
הַמִּדְיָנִ֑ים (ham·miḏ·yā·nîm)
Article | Noun - proper - masculine plural
Strong's 4084: Midianite -- a descendant of Midian

and strike them dead.
וְהִכִּיתֶ֖ם (wə·hik·kî·ṯem)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Hifil - Conjunctive perfect - second person masculine plural
Strong's 5221: To strike

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Numbers 25:17 NIV
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Numbers 25:17
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OT Law: Numbers 25:17 Harass the Midianites and strike them (Nu Num.)
Numbers 25:16
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