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One day some of the men in God’s nation began sinning with women from another nation. (This happened because Balaam told the enemy king he should try to trick God’s men into disobeying.)
The women invited them to the sacrifices to their false gods, and the men went! The men in God’s family began to worship the false god, and the Lord got very angry at them. They knew better than to do that.
So God said to Moses, “Get all the leaders of the people and kill them in open daylight right in front of Me. Then I won’t be angry anymore.”
So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death your people who have become worshipers of that false god.”
Moses and the Israelites were gathered at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. They were crying because they had made God angry.
Would you believe that right then, at that exact moment, one of the sinful men walked by with one of those sinful false-god-worshipping women! Right there in plain sight of Moses and all the crying people.
Well, a priest named Phinehas saw what was happening. And wooooooo-weeeeeee did he get angry with a God-Like anger. He got up, leaving the other crying men, and went to get his spear.
He followed that sinning man and woman into their tent and put his spear right through both of them.
There had been a terrible sickness among the Israelites because of this sin. That sickness had killed twenty-four thousand people. But, right then it stopped.
The Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has saved My people from My anger because Phinehas hates sin as much as I do. Since he tried to save My honor among them, I will not have anyone else killed.
“Tell Phinehas that I am making My peace agreement with him. He and his children and their children and on and on will always be priests, because he had great concern for the honor of his God. He removed the sins of the people, so they would belong to God.”