March 28, 2008

Breadcrumb: Who's the priest?

In Judg. 20:28, we're right in the middle of the civil war between Israel and Benjamin. The Israelites ask for counsel from God via his priest, Phinehas. Wait a minute, here! This is the same Phinehas who's Aaron's grandson, who was alive during the desert wanderings and the conquest of Israel. But we've read in the book of Judges that whole generations (perhaps as much as 400 years) have passed since the conquest of Canaan. This means either the civil war takes place much earlier, and out of sequence, or that Phineas is a throw-back to the early Genesis genealogies, where people lived hundreds of years. Myself, I think the former is more likely.

5 comments:

DWByrd said...

I think the simple answer fits here best. Phinehas is a family name. Since the priests are all descendant from Aaron, it makes most sense that it's the same name but a different guy.

Julie said...

Normally I'd agree with you. But here's what the text says (Judg. 20:27-28, NIV): "In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it."

This isn't just another guy with the name Phinehas (like the Phinehas from 1 Sam. 1:3, who's the son of Eli, the high priest), but Aaron's actual grandson. This leads me to believe that the incident was just placed in the text out of order.

Agnostic Anarch said...

You mean God didn't have people to check chronology and continuity errors for Him? For shame!

Julie said...

Agnostic anarch: cute. I don't think anyone was arguing that God had legions of fact-checkers and proof-readers, though. I'm simply pointing out interesting features as they show up.

DWByrd said...

Boy, I wish I'd gotten out my Bible and looked before I posted. Now I feel like an idiot. :-)