And do you abide without the camp seven days: whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Numbers 31:19-20. Abide without the camp seven days — According to the law, Leviticus 15:13. Purify yourselves — With the water of sprinkling, Numbers 19:9. Your raiment — Namely, your spoil and prey. All work — All which had contracted some ceremonial uncleanness, either from the dead bodies which wore them, or the tents or houses where they were, in which such dead bodies lay, or from the touch of the Israelitish soldiers, who were legally defiled by the slaughters they made.Seven days; according to the law, Leviticus 15:13 Numbers 19:11,12.
Purify with the water of sprinkling, Numbers 19:9. Numbers 19:11,
whosoever hath killed any person; as most of them if not all must have done; all the males of Midian that fell into their hands being slain by them, that were men grown:
and whosoever hath touched any slain; as they must to strip them of their garments, and take their spoil from them:
purify both yourselves and your captives, on the third and on the seventh day; which were the days appointed for the purification of such that were polluted by touching dead bodies, Numbers 19:11 and their captives, which were the female little ones; (for as for the women, and males among the little ones, they were ordered to be slain;) though they were Heathens, yet inasmuch as they were to be for the service of the Israelites, and to be brought up in their religion, they were to be purified also; to which purpose is the note of Jarchi;"not that the Gentiles receive uncleanness and need sprinkling, but as ye are the children of the covenant, so your captives, when they come into the covenant, and are defiled, need sprinkling.''And do ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. purify yourselves] The same word as in Numbers 8:21, ‘unsin yourselves.’ Purification after battle is a custom found among various primitive tribes. The Hebrews had not yet received the higher teaching that only ‘the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man’ (Mark 7:15).
19–24. The purification necessary after contact with the dead. Moses bids all who are defiled to remain outside the camp for seven days and perform the requisite ritual of purification.Verse 19. - Do ye abide without the camp. In this case at any rate the law of לִמְסָר־מַעַל 19:11 sq. was to be strictly enforced. And your captives, i.e., the women and children who were spared. No peculiar rites are here prescribed for the reception of these children of idolaters into the holy nation with which they were to be incorporated beyond the usual lustration with the water of separation. In after times they would have been baptized. Numbers 31:15, "Have ye left all the women alive?" is an expression of dissatisfaction, and reproof for their having done this. למסר־מעל...היוּ, "they have become to the Israelites to work unfaithfulness towards Jehovah," i.e., they have induced them to commit an act of unfaithfulness towards Jehovah. The word מסר, which only occurs in this chapter, viz., in Numbers 31:5 and Numbers 31:16, appears to be used in the sense of giving, delivering, and then, like נתן, doing, making, effecting. On the fact itself, see Numbers 25:6. The object of the command to put all the male children to death, was to exterminate the whole nation, as it could not be perpetuated in the women. Of the female sex, all were to be put to death who had known the lying with a man, and therefore might possibly have been engaged in the licentious worship of Peor (Numbers 25:2), to preserve the congregation from all contamination from that abominable idolatry.
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