Numbers 25:11
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
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(11) Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest . . . —The description of Phinehas, as in Numbers 25:7, is repeated in full, as if to denote that he was not a private individual, but one invested with public authority.

While he was zealous for my sake among them.—Better, in that he was jealous with my jealousy (or, in that he displayed my jealousy).

Numbers 25:11. That I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy — When God ascribes jealousy and the passions to himself, in Scripture, he speaks after the manner of men, and in conformity to our apprehension. The meaning is, that his own glory and the salvation of mankind render it necessary that he should proceed with severity against some particular crimes, like that wherewith men proceed when they are prompted by jealousy and other angry passions.

25:6-15 Phinehas, in the courage of zeal and faith, executed vengeance on Zimri and Cozbi. This act can never be an example for private revenge, or religious persecution, or for irregular public vengeance.Hath turned my wrath away - The signal example thus made of a leading offender by Phinehas was accepted by God as an expiation (literally in Numbers 25:13 "covering;" see the note at the typical significance Leviticus 1:4), and the exterminating wrath which had gone forth against the whole people was arrested Psalm 106:30.

The act of Phinehas must be regarded as exceptional. It was an extraordinary deed of vengeance, justified by the singular atrocity of the crime which provoked it; but it does not confer the right to every man to punish summarily any gross and flagrant breach of divine law committed in his presence. Compare the act of Mattathias (1 Macc. 2:24-26).

The act was its own justification. Its merit consisted in the evidence it gave that the heart of Phinehas was right before God. He was "zealous with God's zeal," and abhorred the presumptuous wickedness of Zimri, as God abhorred it. He therefore risked his own life by dealing according to their deserts with two influential and defiant evil-doers; and his act, done in the face of Moses and the people, and for them, was accepted by God as a national atonement; and rewarded by the people (compare the leadership assigned to him in Numbers 31:6; Joshua 22:13).

11-13. Phinehas … hath turned my wrath away—This assurance was a signal mark of honor that the stain of blood, instead of defiling, confirmed him in office and that his posterity should continue as long as the national existence of Israel. He was zealous, fervent and resolute and valiant,

for my sake, for my satisfaction and vindication.

Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest,.... His descent and genealogy is observed as before, partly to show that he was not a private person, but a man of public authority that did the above fact; perhaps one of the judges that Moses ordered to slay every man his man, and therefore what he did by the order of the supreme magistrate; and partly to show that he was heir apparent to the office of high priest, who in course was to succeed in it; nor should this action of his hinder it, but rather serve to secure and confirm it to him:

hath turned away my wrath from the children of Israel; caused the effects of it to cease, by slaying the two persons, as before related:

while he was zealous for my sake among you; for the glory of God, the honour of his law, the credit of religion, and the good of his people, which is a good cause to be zealously affected in, Galatians 4:18 in which he was a type of Christ, whose zeal for the house of God, for the doctrine, discipline, and worship of it, for the salvation of his people, and the glory of God thereby, ate him up, Psalm 69:9 as well as in his turning away wrath from Israel; sin is the cause of wrath, and for it is revealed from heaven; the people of God are deserving of it as others; but Christ has bore it for them, and so has delivered them from it and all the effects of it, and they are secure from its coming upon them:

that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy; by the plague sent among them, being so highly provoked with their shocking abominations.

Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he {f} was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

(f) He was zealous to maintain my glory.

11. jealous with my jealousy] His jealousy was so deep and real that it adequately expressed the jealousy of Jehovah, rendering it unnecessary for Jehovah to express it further by consuming Israel. Cf. the ‘godly sorrow’ felt by the Corinthians with regard to a similar sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). The divine ‘jealousy’ is that which makes Him claim an exclusive right over His people. This right was violated when they gave themselves up to whoredom. Cf. Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14, Nahum 1:2, James 4:5 (R.V. marg.).

Verse 11. - While he was zealous for my sake. Rather, "while he was zealous with my zeal" (אֶת־קִנְאָתִי. Septuagint, ἐν τῷ ζηλωσαί μου τὸν ζῆλον, where μου stands emphatically before ζῆλον). In my jealousy. Rather, "in my zeal;" the same word is used. Numbers 25:11For this act of divine zeal the eternal possession of the priesthood was promised to Phinehas and his posterity as Jehovah's covenant of peace. בּקנאו, by displaying my zeal in the midst of them (viz., the Israelites). קנאתי is not "zeal for me," but "my zeal," the zeal of Jehovah with which Phinehas was filled, and impelled to put the daring sinners to death. By doing this he had averted destruction from the Israelites, and restrained the working of Jehovah's zeal, which had manifested itself in the plague. "I gave him my covenant of peace" (the suffix is attached to the governing noun, as in Leviticus 6:3). בּרית נתן, as in Genesis 17:2, to give, i.e., to fulfil the covenant, to grant what was promised in the covenant. The covenant granted to Phinehas consisted in the fact, that an "eternal priesthood" (i.e., the eternal possession of the priesthood) was secured to him, not for himself alone, but for his descendants also, as a covenant, i.e., in a covenant, or irrevocable form, since God never breaks a covenant that He has made. In accordance with this promise, the high-priesthood which passed from Eleazar to Phinehas (Judges 20:28) continued in his family, with the exception of a brief interruption in Eli's days (see at 1 Samuel 1-3 and 1 Samuel 14:3), until the time of the last gradual dissolution of the Jewish state through the tyranny of Herod and his successors (see my Archologie, 38). - In Numbers 25:14, Numbers 25:15, the names of the two daring sinners are given. The father of Cozbi, the Midianitish princess, was named Zur, and is described here as "head of the tribes (אמּות, see at Genesis 25:16) of a father's house in Midian," i.e., as the head of several of the Midianitish tribes that were descended from one tribe-father; in Numbers 31:8, however, he is described as a king, and classed among the five kings of Midian who were slain by the Israelites.
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