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It is difficult in our age of diversity, tolerance, and equality to accept the prohibition of intermarriage between the Israelites and the peoples of the land and the command to eliminate the natives as the Israelites later occupy the land. Now this is not a command about ethnicity or purity of race; it is about shared purpose and complete devotion. The people cannot tolerate devotion to other deities and still serve the Lord. It is for their protection and well-being that God aggressively punishes those who pollute the faith.

Eternal One: 11 Phinehas (Eleazar’s son and Priest Aaron’s grandson) has done well. He saved the Israelites. Because he was so zealous on My account, tolerating no compromise, I did not consume the people of Israel with My jealousy. 12 So I want you to declare this: “I, your God, do pledge to Phinehas a covenant of peace, 13 not only for him but for his descendants too. I promise they will always be priests because in his jealousy for Me, Phinehas covered the wickedness of the Israelites.”

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