Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.
(See Numbers 25:11-13.) "Phinehas, himself perhaps a judge in authority, became the type of a righteous zeal, exercising summary vengeance, informal and unbidden, against outrage on decency and on reverence for God" (Dr. Barry). "It is a picture of the one zealous man rising up from the midst of the inactive multitude, who sit still and make no effort." The incident occurred toward the close of the wanderings, when the Israelites were in the neighbourhood of Moab. Unable to gain the right to curse Israel - as Balsam wished, and as it would have paid him well to do - Balsam persuaded King Balak to allow free intercourse between his people and them. "Let the Israelites fall into immorality and sin, and then their God will destroy them, and your end will be accomplished." The scheme succeeded. The vice and iniquity of Israel was full in God's sight, and the immediate execution of the Divine judgment was commanded. Some great public act of vindication was called for; such a manifest upholding of the Divine authority and holiness as would make a sin-cover, occupy the Divine attention, gain the Divine approval, and be a basis on which judgment might be stayed. Phinehas was the man to do it. A flagrant case of unlawful intercourse had occurred, and when he saw the wicked couple he "rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel."
I. PHINEHAS WAS ZEALOUS FOR THE HONOUR OF JEHOVAH.
II. HIS PUBLIC ACT OF VINDICATION MADE A SIN-COVER.
III. BECAUSE OF THAT SIN-COVER, JEHOVAH'S JUDGMENT MIGHT BE STAYED. See, then, what we must look for in the great atonement, made for us by the Son of God, is some fitting vindication of the outraged honour of God our Father, and so restored relations. Reconciliation can only come with solemn honouring of God's authority and claim by some public act of loyalty. Scripture presents to us different things that made atonement. A man's prayer made atonement (case of Moses). An act of official duty made atonement (case of Aaron). An act of judgment made atonement (case of Phinehas). We are left to think what act of Christ's made atonement for us all. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.