Numbers 31
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Vengeance on Midian

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

3So 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. 4Send into battle a thousand men from each tribe of Israel.”

5So a thousand men were recruited from each tribe of Israel—twelve thousand armed for war. 6And 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.

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

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

12They 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. 13And Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp.

14But 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. 17So now, kill all the boys, and kill every woman who has had relations with a man, 18but spare for yourselves every girl who has never had relations with a man.

19All 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. 20And purify every garment and leather good, everything made of goat’s hair, and every article of wood.”

21Then 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: 22Only the gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, and lead— 23everything 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. 24On 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

25The 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. 27Then divide the captives between the troops who went out to battle and the rest of the congregation.

28Set 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. 29Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the LORD.

30From 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.”

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

675,000 sheep,

3372,000 cattle,

3461,000 donkeys,

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

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

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

3836,000 cattle with a tribute to the LORD of 72,

3930,500 donkeys with a tribute to the LORD of 61,

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

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

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

337,500 sheep,

4436,000 cattle,

4530,500 donkeys,

46and 16,000 people.

47From 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

48Then the officers who were over the units of the army—the commanders of thousands and of hundreds—approached Moses 49and said, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one of us is missing. 50So 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.”

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

Footnotes:

52 a That is, about 418 pounds or 190 kilograms

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