28 They joined themselves also to [the idol] Baal of Peor, And ate sacrifices offered to the dead. 29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their practices, And a plague broke out among them. 30 Then Phinehas [the priest] stood up and [a]interceded, And so the plague was halted. 31 And that was credited to him for righteousness, To all generations forever.
Psalm 106:30The exact meaning of the Hebrew here has been debated since ancient times. The term interceded probably is best because it could refer to Phinehas’ intervention by executing the guilty couple (Num 25:7f), or to his interceding through prayer in behalf of Israel. No such prayer is recorded, but it is certainly possible that Phinehas prayed for relief before or after the execution. The ancient rabbis mostly understood the intercession as a prayer, but some of them took the meaning of the Hebrew to be that Phinehas interceded essentially by arguing with God as to whether it was fair to destroy so many people for the sins of two.
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