Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal.” (Numbers 25:10-11)
The name Phineas (Hebrew pronunciation is Pinchas) can be translated as “mouth of brass” or “mouth of a serpent.” I find that interesting, especially considering that the Bible tells us of another notable, albeit infamous — Phineas. The less than honorable Phineas was also descended from a High Priest, in this case, Eli. (You can read about him and his two sons in 1 Samuel 1-4). The latter Phineas, along with his brother Hophni, are called “sons of Belial” (1 Samuel 2:12) who “did not know the LORD.” Instead of restraining the moral decline of the nation, they were in large part responsible. They were the cancer!
The former Phineas –- the grandson of Aaron – is said to be Elijah in that his motivation and zeal is comparable to that of the prophet. Of course, Elijah was the prophet at whose word the heavens refused to yield any rain to the earth, plunging a morally deficient Israel into a time of drought and famine. That the former Phineas is compared to him is indeed interesting considering how Elijah factors into God’s purposes then and His purposes in the future.
And so the point: Two men who shared the same name were diametrically opposed to one another in relation to God. One was indignant and profane while the other was zealous and respectful. As it relates to us, it is interesting that two people raised in the same house by the same parents can be so different — we see it time and again. As for us, let us make sure that we’re not those who “don’t know the LORD” but those who, like the former Phineas, act with proper regard to God’s House.
Blessings and Shalom,