Worthy of Peace? by Doniel Sherman

(2006/5766) Parshat Balak concludes with the story of Pinchas
killing Zimri, the prince of the tribe of Shimon, for behaving

promiscuously with a Moabite.  In Parshat Pinchas,
Hashem rewards Pinchas for his zealousness by giving
him a “covenant of peace.”  Hashem usually punishes
and rewards Midah KeNegged Midah, a response
befitting the action.  Why would Hashem reward
someone who has just killed another man by giving him a
covenant of peace?  Furthermore, Pinchas was the
grandson of Aharon, who was known as an “Ohev
Shalom VeRodeph Shalom,” one who loves and pursues
peace.  One would expect that an individual raised in
such a peaceful atmosphere would himself be peaceful
and not involved with acts of murder and revenge.
The Ibn Ezra posits that the promise of peace
Pinchas received was necessary to protect him from the
other members of the tribe of Shimon.  Having just killed
the leader of the tribe, Pinchas might have been attacked by
the members of the tribe in reprisal.  Hashem therefore
assured Pinchas of his safety.
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein offers a second
answer.  He quotes a Gemara in Sanhedrin (82a), which
derives from “And he got up from amongst the
congregation and he took a spear in hand” (25:7) that it is
forbidden to enter a Beit Midrash with a weapon. 
Because Pinchas had to get up to take a weapon, the
Gemara assumes that he generally stayed in the Beit
Midrash.  He rose from his normal conduct and spirit in
order to correct the immoral wrong that had been
committed by Zimri.  This teaches us another thing about
Pinchas.  He had the mettle to stand up do what was
required while the rest of the nation was in a state of
crisis.  Thousands of Bnei Yisrael had participated in the
idol worship of Peor, plague was rampant among the
nation, and the leadership had broken down.  Pinchas
realized that his radical act, a demonstration so contrary to
his innermost beliefs, was necessary to right the wrongs
and lead Bnei Yisrael back to a state of calm order.  It is
now understandable why Pinchas needed a promise of
peace.  He has just broken a psychological barrier within
himself by publicly killing another Jew.  Regardless of the
years he had spent living a tranquil life studying, there
was the danger that he had lost the sensitivity towards
human life as soon as he killed Zimri (see the comments of
the Netziv).  It was therefore imperative that he receive a
covenant of peace, an assurance that he would be able to
return to his natural and desired path.

In Hashem’s Hands by Nachi Friedman

Stay Away and Be Admired by Ilan Griboff