156. "Now the name of the man of Yisrael that was slain" (Bemidbar 25:14). Rabbi Yitzchak said: This verse should have been written so: 'Now the name of the man of Yisrael whom Pinchas slew,' and not "that was slain, that was slain," simply WITHOUT EVEN MENTIONING THE ONE WHO DID THE SLAYING.
157. HE ANSWERS: This is how Rabbi Eliezer put it: Since the Holy One, blessed be He, had raised Pinchas to the level of High Priest, He did not want to mention Pinchas in the context of a man slaying, for this is not fitting for a High Priest. Before He elevated him to the high priesthood, He did mention him, and said: "And when Pinchas...saw...and took a spear...and thrust both of them through..." (Ibid. 7-8). But once he was elevated to the high priesthood, his name is not mentioned in the context of killing, for this is unbefitting, and the honor of the Holy One, blessed be He, had compassion on him because it is not right for a High Priest to be mentioned in the context of a killing. "And the name of the Midianite woman that was slain" (Ibid. 15) IS also GIVEN WITHOUT STATING WHO THE SLAYER WAS, FOR THE SAME REASON.