Phinehas is one of the many characters in the Bible who are both famous and infamous. This Phinehas characteristics list identifies some of the best and worst traits and shows why some people love Phinehas and others don’t. Most know Phinehas as the courageous priest in the Bible who slew Zimri and Cozbi for their apostasy, but is that all there is to his story? Is Phinehas more than a mere pre-Mosaic zealot? Just how many parallels can be drawn between Phinehas and Jesus Christ?
In the book of Numbers, Phinehas is a man who lived in a time of idolatry, murder and immorality. He played an amazing role in helping his people find salvation by standing up to protect God’s people from a plague. His name literally means “the mouth of God” and rightly so. He carried a message directly from God himself to the people of Israel. Phinehas is a Biblical character who is mentioned in the Book of Numbers. He is the son of Eleazar, the grandson of Aaron, and the great-grandson of Moses. Phinehas was a priest during a period when Israelites were living in the wilderness after leaving Egypt.
While Moses was away on Mount Sinai, God told him that the Israelites had committed a sin so serious that he would wipe out everyone but Phinehas and his family if they did not repent. The reason Phinehas was spared was because he killed an Israelite man who had slept with a Midianite woman while Moses was away on Mount Sinai getting guidance from God. This action saved the rest of Israel from being destroyed by God’s wrath.
Phinehas In The Bible
By slaying an Israelite man and a Midianite woman to stop a plague, Eleazar’s son Phinehas gains God’s special favor and a covenant of perpetual priesthood for himself and his descendants.
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, is so incensed at the sight of an Israelite consorting with a Midianite woman that he kills them both, thus ending a plague that has broken out and earning God’s special favour: a covenant of perpetual priesthood with him and…
The story can be found in Numbers 25:1-15
Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron, brother of Moses and first high priest of Israel. He lived during the time of Moses and Joshua, and is mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 25:10-13, when Phinehas killed an Israelite man and a Midianite woman who were having sexual relations, thus preventing an Israelite plague. Phinehas is also mentioned in connection with an incident at Mount Sinai. After the people had made a golden calf to worship instead of God, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he found that Phinehas had impaled two Israelites who were engaging in sexual relations with Moabite women. Phinehas was praised for taking swift action against these sinners; God promised him that his descendants would always be priests (Numbers 25:11).
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Are There Two Phinehas In The Bible
Eleazar’s son Phinehas is so outraged by the sight of an Israelite with a Midianite woman that he kills them both, ending a plague and earning God’s special favor in the form of a covenant of perpetual priesthood with him and his descendants.
The grandson of Aaron through his second son, Eleazar
Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron through his second son, Eleazar. He was also the great-grandson and great-great-grandson of Levi, who was one of Jacob’s 12 sons. (Genesis 31:18; Numbers 3:17)
Phinehas means “the son of a man.” Phinehas is mentioned only once in the Bible. (Numbers 25:7; Joshua 13:14)
Phinehas was with Moses as God’s spokesman on Mount Sinai
Phinehas was a priest, and grandson of Aaron. When Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, Phinehas was among those who went with him (Exodus 32:26). He was also among those who were sent as spies to explore Canaan (Numbers 13:6).
Phinehas’ wife died after giving birth to a son, who was named Ichabod
The son of Phinehas was named Ichabod, meaning “The glory has departed from Israel”. This name was a sign of what was to come. Ichabod had been a prophet and he prophesied that if Israel continued with their sinful ways, God would leave them alone. This happened when the army of Israel were destroyed by the Philistines in battle. The people thought they were winning but God had already sent his angel to fight for them and help them win the battle but when they found out about this, they stopped trusting in Him, so He left them alone and let their enemies defeat them!
what did phinehas do in the bible
Phinehas was the priest and leader of the Israelites when they made a golden calf for worship
- Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron, who was Moses’ brother.
- He was a priest.
- He was a leader among God’s people.
- Phinehas was the leader of the Israelites when they made a golden calf for worship.
Phinehas helped Moses at the Tent of Meeting, keeping records of the tribes of Israel
Phinehas was the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron and a grandson of Aaron. He became known as Phinehas because he had a bright countenance, like that of his grandfather Aaron (Num 6:27). The Bible indicates that he was a chief priest and the leader of the Israelites when they made a golden calf for worship. After Moses came back from Mount Sinai with instructions from God to destroy those who worshipped this idol, Phinehas went out among them and killed three thousand men. Because he saved so many lives through this act, he received eternal honor as an everlasting memorial in Israel (Num 25:10-13).
Phinehas is an example of zeal for God’s honor
Phinehas was an example of zeal for God’s honor. He was willing to risk his own life to defend the honor of God, and he was rewarded with a covenant of peace. In Numbers 25, Phinehas’ zeal is shown when he killed Zimri and Cozbi, who had committed adultery with a Midianite woman in front of the tabernacle (Numbers 25:6-8).
Phinehas’ action demonstrated that he would rather die than let sin go unjudged against God’s people. When Phinehas saw what had happened, “he rose from among the congregation” and took a spear in hand (Numbers 25:7). Seeing this, “the Lord spoke to Moses,” saying “Phinehas has turned my wrath away from the sons of Israel by manifesting such zeal for me among them.” The Lord then said that because Phinehas had acted so boldly against sin, He would grant him an everlasting covenant of peace with no one ever again being able to curse Israelites who lived in Shittim or Midian (Numbers 25:12-13).
In Numbers 25, Phinehas killed an Israelite man and his Midianite princess companion in an act of zeal for God. This act stopped a plague that had struck the Israelites.
Phinehas is a priest and grandson of Aaron. He is described as having zeal for God and faith in his heart (Numbers 25:11). In Numbers 25, Phinehas kills an Israelite man and his Midianite princess companion in an act of zeal for God. This act stopped the plague that had struck the Israelites.
The story begins with Moses sending spies into the Promised Land to scout out its inhabitants, including their military strength and their worship habits. The spies return with a negative report; they are shocked to find that some Israelites have been seduced by Moabite women to worship Baal-Peor instead of Jehovah (Numbers 25:1-13). God hears about this and decides it’s time for punishment: he raises up serpents against those who have sinned against him; anyone bitten by one dies instantly (Numbers 21:4-9).
Phinehas was a faithful leader among God’s people
Phinehas was a man of great zeal for God. He was a priest and leader of Israel, as well as the grandson of Aaron, Moses’ brother. His father’s name was Eleazar; his mother’s name was Ithamar (Exodus 6:23). Phinehas’ father had died during the time when he went into Egypt (Numbers 26:59-61), but his grandfather still led Israel with Joshua (Joshua 14:1).
Phinehas’ father had been one of two sons born after Levi’s death; they were named Gershon and Merari (Exodus 6:16). However, this didn’t stop Phinehas from being proud that he descended from Levi! When people criticized him for taking part in the war against Midianite men who were having sexual relations with Israelite women because they were married to foreigners instead of fellow Hebrews like them (Numbers 31:8), rather than just ignore them or get angry at what they said about him personally, Phinehas responded by pointing out how important it was for there to be leaders among all twelve tribes because otherwise someone might think “my sons will not inherit anything” or “my daughters will not marry anyone.”
Who Were the Two Priests Name Phinehas, and Why Did One Get Drunk with Power?
The Old Testament offers a look at the lives of two priests—both young, important, men of authority. But though these men named Phinehas share the same Old Covenant calling, they handle their duties in contrasting ways that can still provide direction to Christians today.
Who Was the Good Phinehas in the Bible and What Did He Do?
We first encounter the priest, Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron, in Numbers 25. Phinehas’s righteous acts follow a major encounter that Israel had with Balaam; a diviner hired by the King of Moab to curse Israel. Although Balaam refused the king’s commission, he still inflicted great harm upon God’s chosen people.
According to the historical book of Josephus and a reference to the event in the biblical book of Numbers, although Balaam refused to pronounce a curse upon Israel, he encouraged the Moabites to incite a manmade calamity against God’s people by tempting them to commit idolatry and sexual immorality.
Israel fell into the trap laid for them by the beautiful Moabite women. They yoked themselves to the pagan god, Baal of Peor, by participating in ritualistic sexual practices with the Moabites and eating their sacrificial foods. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel for these detestable acts. As punishment for their idolatry, He inflicted a plague upon His people and caused death to enter their camp. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel’” (Numbers 25:4).
Moses followed God’s command. He called an assembly together and instructed Israel’s judges to put to death anyone who had participated in the sinful behavior. While they were still gathered—weeping over Israel’s sin and God’s judgment, an Israelite named Zimri openly defied Moses by parading a Midianite princess through the assembly and ushering her into his private tent to have sexual relations with her. When Phinehas saw this act of rebellion he left the assembly, grabbed a spear, and followed Zimri and the woman into the tent.
Fueled by his zeal for the Lord and righteous indignation, Phinehas drove the spear into Zimri’s back and continued driving it until the blade also skewered the body of the Moabite princess beneath him (Numbers 25:6-8).
Then the Lord said to Moses, “‘Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites’” (Numbers 25:11-13).
Because of Phinehas’s bold and righteous act, the plague against the Israelites ended, and God rewarded Phinehas with a covenant of peace that would extend to his family for all eternity.
Who Was the Bad Phinehas in the Bible, and What Did He Do?
The book of 1 Samuel begins with the story of a barren woman named Hannah, who during her annual pilgrimage to Shiloh went to the Temple of the Lord and prayed fervently for a son. The High Priest, Eli, took notice of Hannah. Thinking she was drunk because of her anguished posture, he rebuked the woman. But when he discovered Hannah’s genuine state of petition, he offered her a blessing of favor from the Lord instead.
God granted Hannah’s request for a child, and she soon bore a son and named him Samuel, meaning “God has heard”. After the boy was weaned, Hannah dedicated him to the Lord and left him with the High Priest for service. Eli gladly took Samuel into his care for training. But the priest also had two older sons, who he had neglected to train in the service of the Lord.
The King James Bible describes Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, as “sons of Belial” (1 Samuel 2:12) a Hebrew word that means wicked or worthless. Eli’s sons were the acting Levitical priests in Shiloh—yet they continually treated their duties with dishonesty and contempt. Their sin was great in the Lord’s sight because of their shameless mishandling of sacred things.
Phinehas and Hophni gorged themselves on choice meats intended for sacrifices. Even before the sacrifices were prepared for offering, they had their forks in the pot. Whenever anyone would question the men about this despicable practice—saying, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” they would respond with threats and forcefully take what they desired. Phinehas and Hophni also participated in lude sexual acts with women connected to the service of the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22).
As a result of Phinehas and Hophni’s abhorrent practices and the fact that their father, Eli, refused to restrain his sons, the Lord pronounced judgment upon Eli’s house forever through Samuel.
“The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life. And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day”.(2 Samuel 2:32-34).
God’s judgment comes to pass shortly after the pronouncement of judgment when Phinehas and Hophni enter into battle against the Philistines. When the Israelite army realizes that the odds are stacked against them, “Phinehas and his wicked brother decide to turn the tide of the battle. They bring out the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25), a housing vessel for the Lord God himself during Old Testament times. This battle strategy fails,” explains Hope Bolinger in 3 Hopeful Truths from the Ichabod Bible Story
Not only does Phinehas and Hophni’s vile disregard for God cost them their lives on the battlefield, but it also causes Israel to lose possession of the Ark of the Covenant. When Eli hears about the turn of events, he has a heart attack and dies. That same day Phinehas’s wife also dies after giving birth to a son she names Ichabod, which means “The glory has departed from Israel.”
Why Was it so Bad that Hophni and Phinehas Abused the Priesthood?
“Under Mosaic Law, the Tribe of Levi was set apart to be priests and dedicated to serving God (Exodus 23:26-29). Priests were responsible for mediating between sinful people and their Holy God by offering sacrifices,”
The calling of the Priesthood in the Old Testament was a weighty and sacred honor. God commanded that the role be taken seriously because the picture of that role was intended to reflect a greater truth yet to come—Jesus as our High Priest.
When Hophni and Phinehas defiled their priestly calling through blatant rebellion and sinfulness, their actions maligned the image of a Holy and righteous God.
What Can We Learn Today from Both Priests Named Phinehas?
Both priests named Phinehas can teach us something about sin, idolatry, and repentance. In Moses’ era, when Idolatry entered the Israelite camp through the seduction of the Moabites, God’s wrath burned against His people. At that time one man—a young priest—intervened on behalf of God’s righteousness. Through a swift and immediate penitent act, he took a stand against the sin of idolatry and immorality and stayed the plague that had already killed over 30,000 Jews.
During Eli’s time one man—a young priest—brought shame and judgment upon Israel through his unrepentant acts of immorality and idolatry. He blatantly mishandled the role of a priest by placing himself on God’s throne to serve his own lustful desires just like his father Eli had.
In the book of Revelation, we see a further warning about lapsing into the same temptations faced by both of these men. The sins of idolatry and sexual immorality are as old as time, and God’s unwavering warning against them remains clear, as we see in John’s letter to the Church in Pergamum.
“But I have a few things against you, because some of you hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block before the Israelites so they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality. In the same way, some of you also hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent! Otherwise I will come to you shortly and wage war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:14-16).
When we put God on the throne of our hearts, and trust Him to guide us into His righteousness, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to live the new life in Christ that is our priestly calling. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).