Phinehas — mouth of brass, or from old Egypt, the negro. (1.) Son of Eleazar, the high priest (Ex. 6:25). While yet a youth he distinguished himself at Shittim by his zeal against the immorality into which the Moabites had tempted the people (Num. 25:1–9), and thus “stayed the plague” that had broken out among the people, and by which twenty-four thousand of them perished. For his faithfulness on that occasion he received the divine approbation (10–13). He afterwards commanded the army that went out against the Midianites (31:6–8). When representatives of the people were sent to expostulate with the two and a half tribes who, just after crossing Jordan, built an altar and departed without giving any explanation, Phinehas was their leader, and addressed them in the words recorded in Josh. 22:16–20. Their explanation follows. This great altar was intended to be all ages only a witness that they still formed a part of Israel. Phinehas was afterwards the chief adviser in the war with the Benjamites. He is commemorated in Ps. 106:30, 31. (See ED.)
(2.) One of the sons of Eli, the high priest (1 Sam. 1:3; 2:12). He and his brother Hophni were guilty of great crimes, for which destruction came on the house of Eli (31). He died in battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:4, 11); and his wife, on hearing of his death, gave birth to a son, whom she called “Ichabod,” and then she died (19–22).