Pinchas

Numbers 25:10 – 30:1: Haftarah: I Kings 18:46 – 19:21

External Sources

Targum Jonathan on Exodus 6:18
And the sons of Kehath, Amram, and Jitshar, and Hebron, and Uzziel. And the years of the life of Kehath the saint, a hundred and thirty and three years. He lived to see Phinehas, who is Elijah, the Great Priest, who is to be sent to the captivity of Israel at the end of the days.
(Num 25:8) 
Gregory of Nyssa – On the Baptism of Christ
Now if we have been conformed to his death, sin henceforth in us is surely a corpse, pierced through by the javelin of baptism, as that fornicator was thrust through by the zealous Phinehas.
Ephrem the Syrian – The blessings of Jacob
“I will divide them in Jacob,” (Gen 49:7) that is, one against the other. For they did not possess, after the curse, the unity that they had had before the curse. They had been united to such a degree that they did not even inform their [other] brothers when they went in to be avenged for the shame committed against Dinah. “I will divide them in Jacob,” that is, among the descendants of Jacob, “and I will scatter them in Israel,” (Gen 49:7) that is, among the offspring of Israel. They became divided from their descendants: Zimri from the tribe of Simeon and Phineas from the tribe of Levi. Because Levi had enlisted Simeon as an accomplice to kill many because of a woman, after the curse, Phineas, because of a woman, killed the son of Simeon together with that woman.
(Num 25:12-13) Origen – Comm. Jo. 6.7
Thus in the case of the Saviour, while many knew of His birth from Mary, others were under a mistake about Him; and so in the case of John, there is no wonder if, while some knew of his birth from Zacharias, others were in doubt whether the expected Elijah had appeared in him or not. There was not more room for doubt about John, whether he was Elijah, than about the Saviour, whether He was John. Of the two, the question of the outward form of Elijah could be disposed of from the words of Scripture, though not from actual observation, for we read,4 “He was a hairy man, and girt with a leather girdle about his loins.” John’s outward appearance, on the contrary, was well known, and was not like that of Jesus; and yet there were those who surmised that John had risen from the dead, and taken the name of Jesus. As for the change of name, a thing which reminds us of mysteries, I do not know how the Hebrews came to tell about Phinehas, son of Eleazar, who admittedly prolonged his life to the time of many of the judges, as we read in the Book of Judges,5 to tell about him what I now mention. They say that he was Elijah, because he had been promised immortality (in Numbers6), on account of the covenant of peace granted to him because he was jealous with a divine jealousy, and in a passion of anger pierced the Midianitish woman and the Israelite, and stayed the wrath of God as it is called, as it is written, “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them.” No wonder, then, if those who conceived Phinehas and Elijah to be the same person, whether they judged soundly in this or not, for that is not now the question, considered John and Jesus also to be the same. This, then, they doubted, and desired to know if John and Elijah were the same.
(Num 26:5) Procopius of Gaza – Catena on the Octateuch
After Scripture has indicated that the people arrived at the border established by God, God again asks for a census of the men suitable for military service. For, since the fathers who had been counted previously had died, their sons are summoned for a census. David attests that the Lord said, “If they shall enter into my rest” (Ps 95:11; Heb 3:11) and what follows. Their sons were the type of the faithful people who receive Christ, the end of the law.
There is a spiritual stain of blood that is also circumcision, as Paul attests: “For we,” he says, “are the circumcision, as many of us as worship God in spirit.” (Phil 3:3)  And again, “You have been circumcised without the ministry of hands.” (Col 2:11) Joshua is the type of these men, for he circumcises those who came after him. But because that circumcision was not the true one, Scripture says elsewhere, “Cut away the hardness of your hearts.” (Joel 2:13)
So Moses counts the sons of the dead but not in the way it had been done previously—that is, first counting the tribes that come from free women and then those born of slave women. He has no reason to distinguish these two sorts. He first enumerates the five sons of Leah, apart from the beloved tribe of Levi, since that tribe is destined to have its own place, namely, that of sacred ministry. Then he counts Gad and Asher,8 sons of the slave girl. Then he counts the three sons of the free woman Rachel, among whom he first counts the sons of Joseph, according to the order of their generation: Manasseh and Ephraim, and then Rachel’s last son, Benjamin. To these he adds the sons of the slave girl, Dan and Naphtali. He has before his eyes the union of Israel, who was led by the spirit of servitude, and us, who are called through adoption into the spirit of freedom. Thus the words of Moses, “The nations rejoiced with this people.” (Deut 32:43 LXX) And the Savior said, “There will be one flock and one shepherd.” (Jn 10:16) The numbers of the remaining tribes decreased from the previous census, but the tribe of Levi increased.15 For the elect people always grows, while the people opposed to them diminishes..
(Num 27:3) Babylonian Talmud – b. Shabb. 11:1, I.5.A

Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority:
 “The gatherer of wood was Zelophahad. Here the word ‘wilderness’ occurs, ‘and while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks’ (Num. 15:32), and elsewhere the word ‘wilderness’ occurs, ‘our father died in the wilderness’ (Num. 27:3). Just as in the latter context reference is to Zelophahad, so here the same meaning pertains,”

About the author, NCIC

Leave a Comment