Thursday, July 5, 2018

Pinchas “Covenant of Peace" Bamidbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1

Pinchas “Covenant of Peace"

Bamidbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1

This weeks parashah continues from last week after twenty-four thousand Yishraelites were required to be killed by Hashem for committing harlotry with the women of Moab. Hashem stopped His wrath against Yishrael after Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, had Hashem's zeal and put a javelin through an Israelite man and a Midianite woman.

This weeks parashah consist of a new covenant of peace, honouring Phinehas family line due to his zeal. Hashem instructed Moshe to say (25:12-13):

‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace;
‘and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’ ”

The Medianite woman that Phinehas put the javelin through was the daughter of chief Zur of Midian, and due to past events where the Medianites schemed and seduced the Yishraelites in Peor, Hashem told Moshe to harass the Medianites and attack them. 

Hashem asked Moshe and Eleazar to take a census of all the children of Israel from twenty years old and above so that the promised land could be divided amongst them - the total was six hundred and one thousand seven hundred and thirty, and of these only Caleb and Joshua survived from the original Yishraelites of the exodus as was numbered by Moshe and Aaron the priest when they counted the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai, for Hashem had said of them, “They shall surely die in the wilderness.” After this the daughters of Zelophehad petitioned Moshe that they be granted the portion of the land belonging to their father, who died without sons, and was not part of those who gathered together against the LORD, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin - God accepted their claim and incorporated it into the laws of inheritance, listing the way in which inheritances will be past on and not forgotten for all families.

Hashem commanded Moses to climb mount Abarim to see the land which He was giving to the children of Israel, though he was forbidden to enter it because he struck the rock twice at Kadesh. Hashem then told Moses to appoint Joshua bin Nun as his successor who would lead the people into the Promised Land.

Chapters 28 and 29 conclude with a detailed list of the various “communal offerings” that were to be brought to the Sanctuary when the people entered the land. Daily, weekly, and monthly sacrificial offerings are described, as well as the additional offerings that were offered on the major festivals of the Jewish year (i.e., Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret). In the NKJV Hashem is noted calling these “My offerings” repeatedly, describing to Moshe the importance and level of requirement that Israel must place on keeping these offerings.

Graeme Politanski

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