Parashat Pinchas, Our Tents, Our Bodies, and Sexual Sin.


In this week’s reading from Parashat Pinchas (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:10-26:51) the Lord speaks to Moshe saying that Pinchas, the son of Eleazar, has turned away His wrath from the sons of Yisrael because he was zealous for the Lord.  Pinchas’ Jealousy for the Lord is found in sefer Bamidbar / Numbers 25:7-9.  Pinchas saw the sin of the sons of Yisrael and took action against a man of Yisrael ח וַיָּבֹא אַחַר אִישׁ-יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶל-הַקֻּבָּה וַיִּדְקֹר אֶת-שְׁנֵיהֶם אֵת אִישׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאֶת-הָאִשָּׁה אֶל-קֳבָתָהּ וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל: 25:8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. (NASB) 25:8 While studying these Scriptures, it is interesting that in 25:8 the expressions אֶל-הַקֻּבָּה and אֶל-קֳבָתָהּ are translated in the NASB as “into the tent” and “through the body,” respectively.  This catches our attention since the same word used here is translated in two entirely differing ways being used in the same sentence.  The first expression אֶל-הַקֻּבָּה is translated as “into the tent” in the KJV and NASB, “into the pavilion” in the RV version, “into the chamber” in the JPS, and “into the inner room” in the RSV.  The second expression אֶל-קֳבָתָהּ is translated “through her belly” in the KJV, RV, and JPS bible versions.  The word קֳבָתָהּ is from the root קבה meaning “stomach or belly” according to Brown-Drivers-Briggs Lexicon.  This word is used elsewhere as a noun in the Hebrew Scriptures such as in Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:3 ג   וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַכֹּהֲנִים מֵאֵת הָעָם מֵאֵת זֹבְחֵי הַזֶּבַח אִם-שׁוֹר אִם-שֶֹה וְנָתַן לַכֹּהֵן הַזְּרֹעַ וְהַלְּחָיַיִם וְהַקֵּבָה: 18:3 ‘Now this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. (NASB) is translated referring to the stomach of an ox or sheep.  In Bamidbar 25:8 קֳבָתָהּ used as a noun is written in the feminine sense translated as “through her belly” (KJV) and is very interesting in regards to the sin the man and woman were committing.  Specifically here in Parashat Pinchas the people are committing sexual sin with the women of Moab accompanied with idolatry.  How do these scriptures on Pinchas’ actions against the man and woman, coupled with the Hebrew word קבה translated as both tent and the belly, help us to understand sexual sin, and idolatry and the importance of walking in the spirit today?  Let’s look a little closer at these Scriptures. Read more here.