How is it that “the answer of the tongue is from the LORD” (verse 1)? I know it is not from the LORD when anger, fear, resentment, impatience, and pride come out of my mouth. On the other hand, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). God brings all things to light, even the depths of our hearts — possibly through our speech.
When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
This is a stark contrast to the New Testament idea that we will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed. And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.
It’s like a positive version of Ezekiel 22:30 — “I looked for someone … who would stand before me … on behalf of the land … but I found no one.”
The whole Old Testament (mirrored in this chapter) is not just a story of Israel, how they forget God, and how He redeems them. It’s a morality play of the results of sin (the curse) versus the results of righteousness (the blessing).