Parashah 41: Pinchas (Phinehas) "mouth of brass""
B'midbar '(Numbers) 25:10-30:1 Psalm 106
M'lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 18:46-19:21 Yochanan (John) 2:13-25
by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley
10 Adonai said to Moshe
The LORD said to Moses … יהוה … the Great I AM … Creator of the heavens and earth … the Designer of DNA … the One Who holds our atoms together …
spoke to Moshe … conversed with him
and He continues to speak to, and converse with, people today
through His creatures and creation
through His written Word
God is not the author of disorder, unruliness, or confusion (1 Cor 14:33)
He is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind (Num 23:19, Titus 1:2)
He is the God of truth (Ps 31:5, Isa 65:16)
He is the God of honesty (Lev 19:36)
He is righteous (Ezra 9:15, Ps 11:7)
He can not contradict His own nature, and will not contradict His own Word
Any “direction,” “word,” or “revelation” we receive from the LORD will accord with His written Word and never contradict it.
If we ever receive any “direction,” “word,” or “revelation” that does not accord with His written Word or does contradict it, it can not be from the LORD.
11 Pinchas the son of El'azar, the son of Aharon the cohen, has deflected My anger from the people of Isra'el by being as zealous as I am, so that I didn't destroy them in My own zeal.
Strong's: apparently from פֶּה [peh] (mouth) and a variation of נָחָשׁ [na-khahsh] (snake, serpent); mouth of a serpent
BDB: “mouth of brass”
brass: נְחֹשֶׁת [neh-kho-shet]
Strong's: copper, hence, something made of that metal, i.e. coin, a fetter; figuratively, base (as compared with gold or silver)
BDB: copper, bronze (as a copper alloy); fetters (of copper or bronze); copper (as a value); lust, harlotry; the meaning is uncertain
Strong's: from אֵל [ehl] (strength; mighty; especially the Almighty [but used also of any deity]) and עָזַר [ah-zahr] (to surround, i.e. protect or aid)
BDB: “God has helped”
Closely related to עָזַר is the word עֵזֶר [ay-zehr], which comes from it, meaning aid; to help, to succor; one who helps. עֵזֶר is first used in Scripture to describe what the LORD God determined to make for the man because it is “not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18)
In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve, or men and women, were created to make the other person whole. One without the other was missing what it takes to conquer and rule in life. The misunderstanding of Eve's role has limited many men and women since them. Proverbs 31 and 1 Peter 3:7 make it clear that through understanding and trusting her that the husband's prayers will be answered and that he will not lack for spoils (will win the battles of life). Here is the original Hebrew meaning of the word used in the Bible for Eve as Adam's help.
The Hebrew word עֵזֶר e-zer or help (Strong's 5828) is often mistaken in English for a helper or a servant when it is used for Eve (and women) who was the help meet for Adam.
Although this may seem to make sense in English, it is in conflict to the Hebrew meaning. עֵבֶד e-ved is the word for a servant as in, 'the servant of God,' [describing Moses in 1 Ch 6:49; 2 Ch 24:9, etc.] but עֵזֶר e-zer means an ally, as in 'God is my help' [e.g. Ps 54:6 (אֱלֹהִים עֹזֵר) and its abbreviated form as the name El'azar (אֱלֹהִים - עֹזֵר = אֶלְעָזָר )]. God is obviously not my servant and the same word tells us that Eve was created to be a military ally, a rescuer, a defender and not a servant. [I.e. the one who is designed, ordained, anointed, and commissioned by the LORD to “watch the back” of her husband.] (Adapted from Dr. Frank T. Seekins, Hebrew Word Pictures; How does the Hebrew alphabet reveal prophetic truths? 2012, p. 124.)
BDB: “light bringer”
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia: meaning uncertain: Gesenius suggests “mountaineer”; Furst, “enlightened”; others give “rich,” “fluent.” Cheyne mentions Redslob's “ingenious conjecture” of ha-'aron - “the ark” - with its mythical, priestly significance Encyclopaedia Biblica s.v.
has deflected My anger
“deflected” here is from the Hebrew שׁוּב [shūv] meaning:
Strong's: to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again
BDB: (here in the Hiphil [the verb form of causation], perfect) to cause to return, to bring back
to bring back, to allow to return, to put back, to draw back, to give back, to restore, to relinquish, to give in payment
to bring back, to refresh, to restore
to bring back, to report to, to answer
to bring back, to make requital, to pay (as recompense)
to turn back or backward, to repel, to defeat, to repulse, to hinder, to reject, to refuse
to turn away (face), to turn toward
to turn against
to bring back to mind
to show a turning away
to reverse, to revoke
“anger” here is חֵמָה [khā-mah] meaning:
Strong's: heat; figuratively, anger, poison (from its fever) from יָחַם [yah-khahm] meaning:
Strong's: probably to be hot; figuratively, to conceive
BDB: to be hot, to conceive; to be hot, to become hot; to mate (of animals); to be or to become hot (figurative of anger)
BDB: heat, rage, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, poison, bottles; heat (fever; venom, poison (figurative)); burning anger, rage
12 Therefore say, 'I am giving him My covenant of shalom'
“covenant” here is בְּרִית [beh-riyt] meaning:
Strong's: a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh): -confederacy, [con-] feder [-ate], covenant, league
from בָּרָה [bah-rah]
Strong's: to select; also to feed; also to render clear
BDB: to eat, to consume
covenant, alliance, pledge
a treaty, an alliance, a league (man to man)
a constitution, an ordinance (monarch to subjects)
an agreement, a pledge (man to man)
an alliance (used of friendship; used of marriage)
between God and man
an alliance (used of friendship)
a covenant (divine ordinance with signs or pledges)
We see בְּרִית involving passing between animals in Genesis 15:7-21. In these verses we see the cutting of a covenant. Larger animals would be cut in two with each half on opposite sides of a shallow trench, the blood running down into the trench. Once the terms of the covenant were reached, each party would walk through the blood, between the animals. The sense being that if I violate the covenant, or do not hold up my part, you may do to me what we did to these animals.
This explains why “horror and great darkness came over” Avram: he knew there was no earthly way he could fulfill any part of this covenant. He didn't dare to even put a foot forward, or he was a good as dead.
God's covenant with Avram was totally reliant on יהוה to bring any of it about; let alone bringing it all to pass. So it is with us – there is nothing we can, or ever could do, to merit favor and right standing with the LORD: but He did it all for us through Yeshua.
בְּרִית is first used in Scripture in Genesis 6:17-18 when the LORD told Noach, “Then I Myself will bring the flood of water over the earth to destroy from under heaven every living thing that breathes; everything on earth will be destroyed. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; you will come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife and your sons' wives with you.”
Here the LORD is cutting between the world (its ways, system, philosophy, corruption, and rebellion – all brought on by unrepentant sin) and a single righteous man (and his family). The “blood” of heaven and earth (water) would flow between them bring both judgement and redemption. Redemption for those whose lives were borne by the work of the wood. Judgement for those who refused.
It is the same today. Redemption is available for all whose lives are borne by the work of Jesus on the wooden cross. Judgement awaits all who refuse.
“shalom” in Hebrew is שָׁלוֹם
Strong's: safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace; from שָׁלָם [shah-lahm] meaning
Strong's: to be safe (in mind, body or estate); figuratively, to be (causatively, make) completed; by implication, to be friendly; by extension, to reciprocate (in various applications)
to be in a covenant of peace, to be at peace
(in the Qal verb form) to be at peace; peaceful one (participle)
(in the Pual verb form) one in covenant of peace (participle)
(in the Hiphil verb form) to make peace with; to cause to be at peace
(in the Hophal verb form) to live in peace
to be complete, to be sound
(Qal) to be complete, to be finished, to be ended; to be sound, to be uninjured
(Piel) to complete, to finish; to make safe; to make whole or good, to restore, to make compensation; to make good, to pay; to requite, to recompense, to reward
(Pual) to be performed; to be repaid, to be requited
(Hiphil) to complete, to perform; to make an end of
BDB: completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
completeness (in number)
safety, soundness (in body)
welfare, health, prosperity
peace, quiet, tranquility contentment
peace, friendship (used of human relationships; with God especially in covenant relationship)
peace (from war)
peace (as adjective)
As I was sharing some of this with one lady, I loved her paraphrase: “Nothing broken, nothing missing!”
13 making a covenant with him and his descendants after him that the office of cohen will be theirs forever.' This is because he was zealous on behalf of his God and made atonement for the people of Isra'el.”
“forever” here is עוֹלָם [o-lahm] meaning:
Strong's: properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always; from עָלַם [ah-lahm] meaning:
Strong's: to veil from sight, i.e. conceal (literally or figuratively)
BDB: to conceal, to hide, to be hidden, to be concealed, to be secret
BDB: long duration, antiquity, futurity, forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world
ancient time, long time (used of the past)
(used of the future) forever, always; continuous existence, perpetual; everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity
This is where personal understanding, preconceptions, and bias can come into play. In dealing with the priesthood being a covenant that is עוֹלָם, does that mean “forever” as in “time without end,” or does that mean “time out of mind” as in beyond “the vanishing point” to where no human being can from this current point in time see or know? Only the LORD knows the beginning from the end (and everything in between). Only the LORD fully understands all His ways, means, intentions, and will. For only יהוה is Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Sovereign.
There are many who say that when the LORD says something is forever, it is forever, and this is true. The only problem here is that He spoke these words in Hebrew, not English. So the word is not “forever,” it is עוֹלָם, which carries various English meanings.
There are others that use verses, especially from the book of Hebrews, to state emphatically that Yeshua / Jesus is now God's High Priest forever, and this is true (e.g. Heb 5:6, 6:20; 7:3, 17, 21, 24, 28). Therefore, that entire priesthood is forever done away with. Oh? Is it really? Hebrews 7:12 mentions the priesthood being changed or transformed, but does that necessarily mean that every element of it has been obliterated “forever”? The priesthood served in the Temple in Jerusalem. Part of the worship in Jerusalem included all the feasts and festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23. Zechariah 14, speaking of a time yet to come, specifically mentions going up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD and keep the festival of Sukkot.
Granted, as Romans 10:4 says, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (NKJV). But even the NASB has a footnote on the word “end” that reads “or goal.” Looking at the original Greek of the B'rit HaDashah (New Testament) we see that the word here is τέλος [télos] which can mean the limit, termination, or conclusion of something (Strong's). Τέλος can also mean “the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose” (Thayer's). And so this verse can be understood as saying, “For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, Who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts” (CJB).
How will the LORD work it all out? “... Our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy is partial; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. 12 For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me. 13 But for now, three things last – trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love. 14A Pursue love!” (1 Cor 13:10-14a)
This is because he was zealous on behalf of his God
Zeal for the LORD is good, but must always be tempered with knowledge
Brothers, my heart's deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra'el is for their salvation; 2 for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding [knowledge]; 3 for, since they are unaware of God's way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God's way of making people righteous. 4 For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, Who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. (Rom 10:1-4, emphasis original)
In the Greek of the New Testament, there are six words that can be translated into English as “know,” and “knowledge.” Let me highlight two of them, quoting from the Discovery Bible New Testament's synonym glossary:
γινώσκω [ginōskō] meaning to know through experience; to perceive through the senses; “subjective knowledge” (Green); the knowing comes from “an active relation” between the one who knows and the person or thing known (Vine); effectively coming to know, or the entering into knowing through firsthand or personal interaction; knowledge usually gained through personal acquaintance or some relationship if intimacy or connection
ἐπιγινώσκω [epiginōskō] meaning to know (or its noun form epignosis, no. 1922, “true knowledge”) adequately; to come to a “fuller, clearer, and more thorough knowledge” (Berry); an adequate or valid knowledge; an intensified form of [ginōskō]
This is the “correct understanding [knowledge]” mentioned in Romans 10:2 above
and made atonement for the people of Isra'el
How did Pinchas (Phinehas) make atonement for the people of the covenant when they had sinned?
As an Israelite leader and a Moabite princess were presumably sexually engaged the priest executed righteous judgement by running them through with a spear.
Scripture plainly tells us that two become “one flesh” in the act of sexual intercourse (cf e.g. Gen 2:24; Mark 10:8; 1 Cor 6:16). Sexual intercourse is thought by many to be solely a physical act of the moment. It is in reality a spiritual act (involving the mind, emotions, will, and body) which carries eternal ramifications.
So in executing these two, in a sense, Phinehas was executing “one”
The man involved was the son of the leader of the tribe of Simeon [Shim'on]
Then she [Leah] conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon [“heard”]. (Gen 29:33)
שָׁמַע [shah-mah] is masculine, 3rd person, singular for hear, listen, harken, obey
שִׁמְעוֹן is Shim'on (English Simeon)
notice the first three letters are the same (Hebrew reads right-to-left)
This man was a leader: what was he going to be leading the people into?!
The man executed was the only son (mentioned in Scripture) of the leader, and was
from the tribe named for God hearing
Pinchas pierced them with his spear (Num 25:8)
a spear is typically made of wood with a metal tip
How did Pinchas (Phinehas) make atonement for the people of the covenant when they had sinned?
He zealously pictured the LORD Himself as he
executed one representing the sin of many (cf e.g. Heb 10:10; 1 Pet 3:18)
executed the son of the leader (cf e.g. John 20:31; Rom 1:4)
executed him (them) with piercing (cf e.g. John 19:34-37; Rev 1:7)
executed him (them) with wood (cf e.g. Matt 27:32-35; Mark 15:21-25)
He wiped away the bill of charges against us. Because of the regulations, it stood as a testimony against us; but He removed it by nailing it to the execution-stake. 15 Stripping the rulers and authorities of their power, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by means of the stake.” (Col 2:14-15)
Notice it was the “bill of charges against us” that was nailed to the cross. The original Greek of this passage is*
ἐξαλείψας τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμων χειρόγραφον τοισ δόγμασιν ὅ ην ὑπεναντίον ἡμιν,
exaleípsas tó kath' hēmṓn cheirógraphon toís dógmasin hó ḕn hupenantíon hēmín
obliterate that against us handwriting the dogma which was contrary to us
blot out opinion opposed
wash away judgment against
καί αὐτό ηρκεν ἐκ του μέσου προσηλώσας αὐτό τω σταυρω
kaí autó ḕrken ek toú mésou prosēlṓsas autó tṓ staurṓ
and it raise up from the middle nailing it to stake
take away out of midst post
lift off, remove cross
*My apologies to any Greek scholars, I could not include all the accent marks as my fonts do not include all of them for the Greek.
• This accords with Romans 6 in that it was the old body of evidence against us that was crucified with Christ. The “old man” was our guilty status in Adam, which, in Messiah, has been dealt with and done away with. Because of all Yeshua has done for us we are now stand justified in His righteousness as an innocent “new man” before the Judge of all the earth: a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17)!
• In all of God's Word only three “things” are ever said to have been nailed to the cross:
◦ Jesus Himself (e.g. Matt 27:35; Luke 23:33; Acts 2:23; Heb 6:6),
◦ The flesh with its affections and lusts (Gal 5:23), and
◦ This “bill of charges against us” (Col 2:14-15).
The actions of Pinchas stopped a deadly plaque (cf e.g. Rom 6:23; 8:2)
his actions resulted in a covenant of שָׁלוֹם [shalom] (cf e.g. John 14:27; Rom 5:1)
In the hand-copied Torah scrolls (and some copies of the Tanakh printed by Jewish publishers) there is a “broken vav” in Numbers 25:12. This anomaly appears in the word “shalom” which is generally translated “peace.” As a result, this broken vav (ו) looks like a yud (י) and something similar to a vav without the top of the letter ( ǀ ) (which is why it still looks like a vav [pictured here in two different fonts]). The yud can represent that which is heavenly and vav can mean “hook” or “nail.” Perhaps we could infer from the word “shalom” in Numbers 25:12 that that which was heavenly was nailed to a stake for us so that we can have peace with God. In this case, the broken vav in this verse could refer prophetically to what Yeshua did for us when He died for us and became our eternal High Priest. (Adapted from a weekly parashah introduction and readings email sent to us by Mike Schwab.)
Some will look at this incident and wonder why a man who killed two people would be honored.
Pinchas was zealous for the LORD, for His honor, for His holiness, and for His ways
Because of his quick and decisive action, the righteous anger of the LORD was deflected from the people of Isra'el, so that the LORD did not destroy them in His own zeal (verse 11)
Because of his actions the plaque was stopped; a plaque that had already killed 24,000 people (verse 9)
Put in more modern terms, Dietrich Bonhoeffer used an analogy (directed toward Hitler), asking, if an out of control drunken driver were killing pedestrians on the main street of a large city, would it be a greater mercy to pray for the families of the victims, or to wrestle the driver out of the car? (Alluded to at https://publicchristianity.org/library/bonhoeffer-pastor-martyr-prophet-spy-a-righteous-gentile-vs-the-third-reich#.VaFkCYsUVcA, accessed 11 Jul 15.)
Obviously, it would be much better to stop the cause of the problem. Better and much easier than trying to “clean up the mess” after the fact.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A stitch in time, saves nine.
Better to righteously execute two leaders involved in spiritual adultery, idolatry, sin, and open rebellion against God, His ways, and His Word, than to allow the LORD's righteous judgement kill all the people: thus giving many of them an opportunity to come to their senses and repent.
14 The name of the man from Isra'el who was killed, put to death with the woman from Midyan, was Zimri the son of Salu, leader of one of the clans from the tribe of Shim'on.
• Zimri [זִמְרִי] with the י . ending is a personal possessive form of זָמַר meaning
◦ Strong's: properly, to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, i.e. play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music
◦ BDB: to sing, to sing praise, to make music; additionally in Piel to play a musical instrument
▪ Given the meaning and form we could say that the name זִמְרִי carries the meaning of “my song”
• Salu (meaning “weighed”) was a נְשִׂיא [“neh-see”] of the tribe of Shim'on, meaning
◦ Strong's: properly, an exalted one, i.e. a king or sheik; also a rising mist
◦ BDB: one lifted up, a chief, a prince, a captain, a leader; a rising mist, a vapor
• We might say that Zimri was the pride and joy of an exalted Simeonite leader
15 The name of the woman from Midyan who was killed was Kozbi the daughter of Tzur, and he was head of the people in one of the clans of Midyan.
• Strong's defines Kozbi [כָּזְבִּי (“kahz-bee”)] as “false.” BDB, being mindful of the personal possessive ending defines כָּזְבִּי as “my lie.”
• Tzur [צוּר] means “rock.”
16 Adonai said to Moshe, 17 “Treat the Midyanim as enemies and attack them; 18 because they are treating you as enemies by the trickery they used to deceive you in the P'or incident and in the affair of their sister Kozbi, the daughter of the leader from Midyan, the women who was killed on the day of the plague in the P'or incident.”
Don't delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of God! A person reaps what he sows. (Gal 6:7)
Even small seeds can produce huge plants, which themselves can reproduce.
We should all be very careful about the types of things we plant in the lives of others.
Those who keep sowing in the field of their old nature, in order to meet its demands, will eventually reap ruin; but those who keep sowing in the field of the Spirit will reap from the Spirit everlasting life. 9 So let us not grow weary of doing what is good; for if we don't give up, we will in due time reap the harvest. 10 Therefore, as the opportunity arises, let us do what is good to everyone, and especially to the family of those who are trustingly faithful. (Gal 6:8-10)
The world says things like “payback is a medi-vac,” and “I don't get even, I get ahead.”
But if we respond in kind, we are “sowing” the same type of “seeds” they are.
How, then, are we any better than the ignorant, sin-filled, hell-bound, pagans we are dealing with?
Vengeance and payback are Mine for the time when their foot slips; for the day of their calamity is coming soon, their doom is rushing upon them. 36 Yes, Adonai will judge His people, taking pity on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone …. (Deut 32:25-26a)
Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God's anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, “Adonai says, 'Vengeance is My responsibility; I will repay.'” (Rom 12:20)
For the One we know is the One who said, “Vengeance is My responsibility; I will repay,” and then said, “Adonai will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Heb 10:30-31)
It is possible that the LORD will use us as His instrument of judgement, as in Numbers 25:16-17, but we had better know that we know, that it is His leading. Otherwise we may well find ourselves assuming to take the place of God in the matter, and that is a very dangerous place to put ourselves.
It is God's prerogative how, and when, He deals with situations; not ours. Just as His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9), so His timing is not our timing.
We are currently locked in “time” and “space” as we know them, and so our perspective is very limited.
The LORD is in no way bound by any of His creations, including “time” and “space,” and His perspective is unhindered, unlimited, and perfect.
We also need to understand that we can't “sow wild oats,” and then pray for “crop failure”!
19 After the plague, 26:1 Adonai said to Moshe and El'azar, the son of Aharon the cohen, 2 “Take a census of the entire assembly of the people of Isra'el twenty years old and over, by their ancestral clans, all who are subject to military service in Isra'el.”
• Adonai had ordered a census to be taken of everyone over twenty years of age in Exo 30:11. The result was 603,550 men (Exo 38:26).
• The LORD said everyone included in the census “who have complained against Me,” would would die in the wilderness (Num 14:29).
• Now a new census was to be taken, resulting in 601,730 (Num 26:51).
◦ The losses of the first census being replaced by those younger than twenty at the time now maturing, and by birth.
52 Adonai said to Moshe, 53 “The land is to be parceled out among these as a possession to be inherited, according to the number of names. 54 To those families with more persons you are to give a greater inheritance, and to those with fewer you are to give a smaller inheritance – each family's inheritance is to be given according to the number counted in it.
• In this way the entire land is more evenly inhabited in order to take care of it.
◦ Part of mankind's original commission was to “rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creatures that crawls on the earth.” (Gen 1:26)
◦ This human rule was to be as God Himself rules. It was to be in His image (Gen 1:27), e.g.
▪ With His concern for even the smallest of details
▪ With God's love, grace, mercy, justice, righteousness, purity, etc., etc., etc. ….
55 However, the land is to be awarded by lot. They will inherit according to the names of the tribes of their ancestors, 56 but the inheritance is to be parceled out by lot between the families with more and those with fewer.”
• The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Prov 16:33)