Numbers 31:27
And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war on them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) And divide the prey into two parts . . . —It was reasonable that those who had encountered the perils and hardships of the war should receive a larger share of the spoil than those who had remained in the camp. It was equally reasonable that the latter should not be left without some substantial benefit from the victory miraculously achieved over the enemies of the Lord and of His people. A similar direction is found in Joshua 22:8 in regard to the division of spoil taken from enemies, but no general ordinance appears to have been made in regard to the division of the spoils of war until the time of David. (See 1Samuel 30:24-25.)

Numbers 31:27. Two parts — The congregation was to have some share, because the warriors went in the name of all, and because all having been injured by the Midianites, all were to have some share in the reparations: but the warriors, who were but twelve thousand, were to have a far greater share than their brethren, because they underwent greater pains and dangers.31:25-47 Whatever we have, God justly claims a part. Out of the people's share God required one in fifty, but out of the soldiers' share only one in five hundred. The less opportunity we have of honouring God with personal services, the more should we give in money or value.Brass - Render copper. See Genesis 4:22 note. The verse is curious as illustrating the variety of metals in use at this early date for domestic purposes. All these metals were common in Egypt centuries before the date of the Exodus. 25-39. Take the sum of the prey that was taken—that is, of the captives and cattle, which, having been first lumped together according to ancient usage (Ex 15:9; Jud 5:30), were divided into two equal parts: the one to the people at large, who had sustained a common injury from the Midianites and who were all liable to serve: and the other portion to the combatants, who, having encountered the labors and perils of war, justly received the largest share. From both parts, however, a certain deduction was taken for the sanctuary, as a thank offering to God for preservation and for victory. The soldiers had greatly the advantage in the distribution; for a five-hundredth part only of their half went to the priest, while a fiftieth part of the congregation's half was given to the Levites. The congregation hath some share, because the warriors went in the name of all, and because all having been injured by the Midianites, all were to have some share in the reparations; but the warriors, who were but 12,000, have a far greater share than others of their brethren, because they underwent greater pains and dangers. And divide the prey into two parts,.... Into two equal parts, both the number of the people and of the cattle, when taken:

between them that took the war upon them, and went out to battle; the soldiers; and by this it appears that they went voluntarily and cheerfully:

and between all the congregation; so that the part of them that went to battle, and of those that stayed in the camp, were alike, and which in process of time became a statute and ordinance, 1 Samuel 30:24.

And divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them, who went out to battle, and between all the congregation:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 27. - Divide the prey into two parts. This division was founded roughly upon the equity of the case; on the one hand, all Israel had suffered from Midian; on the other, only the twelve thousand had risked their lives to smite Midian. For the application of a like principle to other cases see Joshua 22:8; 1 Samuel 30:24; 2 Macc. 8:28, 30. To this end Eleazar, whose duty it was as high priest to see that the laws of purification were properly observed, issued fuller instructions with reference to the purification of the different articles, in accordance with the law in ch. 19. למּלחמה הבּאים, those who came to the war, i.e., who went into the battle (see at Numbers 10:9). "The ordinance of the law:" as in Numbers 19:2. The metal (gold, silver, copper, tin, lead), all that usually comes into the fire, i.e., that will bear the fire, was to be drawn through the fire, that it might become clean, and was then to be sprinkled with water of purification (Numbers 19:9); but everything that would not bear the fire was to be drawn through water. - The washing of clothes on the seventh day was according to the rule laid down in Numbers 19:19.
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