Aaron’s son Eleazer married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites according to their families. Exodus 6:25
Aaron died before crossing the Jordan and entering the Promised Land. His son, Eleazar, was High Priest during that crossing. His son, Phinehas, was a leader of Israel at that time. Just after the death of Aaron, Balaam advised Balak, the King of the Midianites, on a strategy to destroy Israel when the Lord refused to curse Israel for Balaam’s sake. The Midianites were also children of Abraham through Keturah. Balaam advised Balak to take Midianite women to seduce Israelite men into idolatry. At first the seduction was successful.
So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor. Numbers 25:1-5
The Lord Himself intervened in this sin. The people repented. But Balak would not give up.
Then behold, one of the sons of Israel come and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. Those who died by the plague were 24,000. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Phinehas the son Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy amon them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’” Numbers 5:7-13
We should be aware that a spear is not the nearly useless primitive weapon depicted by modern secular humanists. The spear is found in every culture all over the world, on every continent and in every tribe. It was the primary offensive weapon of the Babylonians, the Persians, Alexander the Great and the Greeks and the Romans. It is used with a powerful overhand thrust which can penetrate armor. Spears are at least 10 feet long and can be 3 times that. It does not have to be reloaded and can continue to inflict damage as long as the person wielding it has strength. Phinehas used the spear as a priest exercising the judgment of God. The Lord had already commanded that those engaged in this sin should be executed.
Soon after the sin of Baal Peor, Phinehas goes to war with an elite unit under the command of Moses against Midian.
Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son Eleazar the priest, to the war with them, and the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. So they made war against Midian, just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. Numbers 31:5-7
With most people, this is the end of the historical record of Phinehas. After Joshua dismissed the sons of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, these tribes build a heap of stones. Phinehas is sent at the head of a delegation to investigate this possible idolatry. Finding that this was not a case of idolatry, he brings back a good report to Joshua and the rest of the tribes.
Phinehas leads the children of Israel one more time after the death of Joshua, his father Eleazar and the rest of their generation. Modern Christians rarely mention the lengthy account of the Levite’s concubine who was raped by Benjaminites until she died. The few that do mention it notice that it occurs near the end of the book of Judges, so they assume that this occurs just before the time of Samuel. This great sin actually occurred soon after the death of Joshua.
The sons of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas the son Eleazar, Aaron’s son stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”
While there is some disagreement as to the exact numbers, it seems that over 80,000 Israelites died during this time of judgment. The life and ministry of Phinehas is that of blessing by God for judging sin by killing the sinner.
Christianity in America is overrun by the belief that “no one can judge what I do.” People call themselves Christians while committing sins condemned by Word of God.
How can we reconcile our selfish lifestyles with God’s command to destroy idolatry?
But thus you shall do to them; you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim (totem poles) and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:5, 6