Verse 12. "- 13. My covenant of peace-of an everlasting priesthood" - As the word peace implied all kinds of blessings, both spiritual and temporal, it may mean no more here than the promise of God, to grant him and his family the utmost prosperity in reference to both worlds. The everlasting priesthood refers properly to the priesthood of Christ which was shadowed out by the priesthood under the law; no matter in what family it was continued. Therefore the µlw[ tnhk kehunnath olam, or eternal priesthood, does not merely refer to any sacerdotal ministrations which should be continued in the family of Phinehas, during the Mosaic dispensation, but to that priesthood of Christ typified by that of Aaron and his successors. The priesthood alone is everlasting, and a covenant or grant of that was made to Phinehas, and his descendants. The Jews reckon twelve high priests of the race of Phinehas, from this time to the days of Solomon, nine more from that time to the captivity, (see 1 Chron. vi. 4, 15,) and fifteen from their return to the time of Antiochus Eupator, the last of whom was Onias, slain by Lysias. Ezra, the great priest and scribe, was of this line, Ezra vii. 1, 5. The family of Ithamar, uncle of Phinehas, had the priesthood for about 150 years; but it was restored to the family of Phinehas in the person of Zadok the priest, 1 Chron. vi. 50, in which it continued in the whole about 950 years. Probably the Maccabees were of the same family; but though this is not certain, there is no evidence against it. See Calmet. God therefore sufficiently fulfilled his promise; he gave to him and his descendants almost the utmost temporal length that could be given of that priesthood which is, in its own nature, eternal. Here then the word µlw[ olam means, not a limited time, but what is eternal in its duration. See the note on "Genesis xxi. 33".
Verse 17. "Vex the Midianites, &c." - See this order fulfilled, chap. xxxi. 1-20. Twelve thousand Israelites attacked the Midianites, destroyed all their cities, slew their five kings, every male, and every grown up woman, and took all their spoils.