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Numbers 31

Vengeance on Midian

1 And the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

3 So Moses told the people, “Arm some of your men for war, that they may go against the Midianites and execute the LORD’s vengeance on them. 4 Send into battle a thousand men from each tribe of Israel.”

5 So a thousand men were recruited from each tribe of Israel—twelve thousand armed for war. 6 And Moses sent the thousand from each tribe into battle, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, who took with him the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling.

7 Then they waged war against Midian, as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. 8 Among the slain were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.

9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and their children, and they plundered all their herds, flocks, and goods. 10 Then they burned all the cities where the Midianites had lived, as well as all their encampments, 11 and carried away all the plunder and spoils, both people and animals.

12 They brought the captives, spoils, and plunder to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of Israel at the camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho. 13 And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp.

14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who were returning from the battle. 15 “Have you spared all the women?” he asked them. 16 “Look, these women caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to turn unfaithfully against the LORD at Peor, so that the plague struck the congregation of the LORD. 17 So now, kill all the boys, as well as every woman who has had relations with a man, 18 but spare for yourselves every girl who has never had relations with a man.

19 All of you who have killed a person or touched the dead are to remain outside the camp for seven days. On the third day and the seventh day you are to purify both yourselves and your captives. 20 And purify every garment and leather good, everything made of goat’s hair, and every article of wood.”

21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone into battle, “This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded Moses: 22 Only the gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, and lead— 23 everything that can withstand the fire—must be put through the fire, and it will be clean. But it must still be purified with the water of purification. And everything that cannot withstand the fire must pass through the water. 24 On the seventh day you are to wash your clothes, and you will be clean. After that you may enter the camp.”

Division of the Spoils

25 The LORD said to Moses, 26 “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the congregation are to take a count of what was captured, both of man and beast. 27 Then divide the captives between the troops who went out to battle and the rest of the congregation.

28 Set aside a tribute for the LORD from what belongs to the soldiers who went into battle: one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, or sheep. 29 Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the LORD.

30 From the Israelites’ half, take one out of every fifty, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep, or other animals, and give them to the Levites who keep charge of the tabernacle of the LORD.”

31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD had commanded Moses, 32 and this plunder remained from the spoils the soldiers had taken:

675,000 sheep,

33 72,000 cattle,

34 61,000 donkeys,

35 and 32,000 women who had not slept with a man.

36 This was the half portion for those who had gone to war:

337,500 sheep, 37 including a tribute to the LORD of 675,

38 36,000 cattle, including a tribute to the LORD of 72,

39 30,500 donkeys, including a tribute to the LORD of 61,

40 and 16,000 people, including a tribute to the LORD of 32.

41 Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as an offering for the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

42 From the Israelites’ half, which Moses had set apart from the men who had gone to war, 43 this half belonged to the congregation:

337,500 sheep,

44 36,000 cattle,

45 30,500 donkeys,

46 and 16,000 people.

47 From the Israelites’ half, Moses took one out of every fifty persons and animals and gave them to the Levites who kept charge of the tabernacle of the LORD, as the LORD had commanded him.

The Voluntary Offering

48 Then the officers who were over the units of the army—the commanders of thousands and of hundreds—approached Moses 49 and said, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one of us is missing. 50 So we have brought to the LORD an offering of the gold articles each man acquired—armlets, bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD.”

51 So Moses and Eleazar the priest received from them all the articles made out of gold. 52 All the gold that the commanders of thousands and of hundreds presented as an offering to the LORD weighed 16,750 shekels. a  53 Each of the soldiers had taken plunder for himself. 54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting as a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD.



52 a 16,750 shekels is approximately 420.8 pounds or 190.9 kilograms.

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