Numbers 31:28
And levy a tribute to the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:
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(28) And levy a tribute unto the Lord.—Literally, and thou shalt lift up (or, heave), &c. The portion assigned to the priests, which was taken from the prey that fell to the lot of the warriors, and which is described in Numbers 31:29 as “the heave offering of the Lord,” was one-five-hundredth part of the maidens and of the cattle which had fallen to their share. The maidens were probably employed as slaves, and the cattle used for the maintenance of the priests. Inasmuch, then, as the entire booty consisted of 32,000 maidens, 675,000 small cattle, 72,000 oxen, and 61,000 asses, the portion which fell to the lot of the 12,000 warriors was 16,000 maidens, 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 oxen, and 30,500 asses, of which the portion of the priests was 32 maidens, 675 sheep and goats, 72 oxen, and 61 asses.

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. One soul, i.e. one person, as it follows here and Numbers 31:30. And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war, which went out to battle,.... That is, out of the part of the prey which was divided to them:

one soul of five hundred, both "of the persons"; or one woman of five hundred, as the Targum of Jonathan:

and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep; that is, one out of five hundred, of each of them also.

And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the {k} men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:

(k) Of the prey that falls to the soldiers.

28. levy a tribute] lit. ‘lift off a fixed proportion.’ The verb has the technical sense which is more often found in the corresponding subst. terûmâh (Numbers 31:29); see on Numbers 31:9.

one soul out of (every) five hundred] The word nephesh (‘soul’) denotes the life or animating principle of every living creature, man or beast, and here stands for an ‘individual’ person or a ‘head’ of cattle.

the beeves] an archaic plural of ‘beef,’ used for the live animals; cf. Shakespeare, Merch. of Venice, 1. iii. 68, ‘flesh of muttons, beefs or goats.’ The word occurs in R.V. and A.V. five times in this chapter, and in Leviticus 22:19; Leviticus 22:21 (R.V. in the latter verse ‘herd’).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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