Sunday, May 4, 2014

Faithful, Zealous Ambassadors (Joshua 22:13, 14)

Joshua 22

King James Version (KJV)

13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,
14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

Before the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh could be attacked for apostasy, it had to be made certain that such a thing actually took place. As the law states in reqards to a city suspected of apostasy: 
14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. (Deuteronomy 13)
Phinehas, along with ten princes, are sent as ambassadors. While proceeding verses indicate that they wrongfully assumed their brethren's guilt before giving them a hearing, as least they didn't attack first and ask questions later. This gave their brethren the opportunity to prove their innocence before war erupted.

 In such a tense situation, Phinehas was a wise choice for an ambassador. John Gill calls him 
a man zealous for the Lord of hosts, and his glory, of which there is an instance in (Numbers 25:7 Numbers 25:11 Numbers 25:13); and so a fit person to be employed in this affair, who would be faithful, bold, and zealous, as well as capable of giving advice and counsel to both parties, if needful.
As a man zealous for God, Phinehas was the kind of man who would neither refrain from war if God's honor was in fact being attacked, nor needlessly provoke war if his brethren's guilt was in doubt. It is this kind of man that nations should employ as ambassadors.