Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Phinehas’ Zeal and the Death of Cozbi: Unearthing a Human Scapegoat Tradition in Numbers 25:1-18

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Vetus Testamentum

AbstractScholars have long noted that Numbers 25, the story of Phinehas’ murder of Cozbi the Midianite and her Israelite partner in crime, contains inconsistencies and tensions that reflect a complicated history of composition and transmission. This paper offers new perspective on the evolution of this text by comparing it with two Hittite military ritual texts (CTH 407 and 394) that describe the selection and sacrifice of human, female scapegoats. Scholars have discussed these texts as they relate to biblical rites for the Day of Atonement; however, the Hittite evidence has never been considered systematically in relation to Numbers 25. Such a comparison illuminates unrecognized sacrificial dynamics operative in Numbers 25, and clarifies certain inherent ambiguities in the biblical text. Parallels with the Hittite evidence point to Numbers 25 as an additional witness to the way scapegoat rituals operated within the ancient Israelite literary imagination, if not in actual practice.

Affiliations: 1: Cornell University, Email:, URL:


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Vetus Testamentum — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation