Numbers 31:31
And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.
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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.An heave-offering - Render simply an offering, and compare Numbers 18:24. The verb from which the word here rendered "heave-offering" is derived, is rightly translated "levy" in Numbers 31:28. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses. Took an account of the booty, divided it equally between the soldiers and the congregation of Israel, and levied a part out of each as a tribute for the Lord, which was given to the priests and Levites. And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Distribution of the Booty. - God directed Moses, with Eleazar and the heads of the fathers' houses ("fathers" for "fathers' houses:" see at Exodus 6:14) of the congregation, to take the whole of the booty in men and cattle, and divide it into two halves: one for the men of war (המּלחמה תּפשׂי, those who grasped at war, who engaged in war), the other for the congregation, and to levy a tribute upon it (מכס equals מכסה, computatio, a certain amount: see Exodus 12:4) for Jehovah. Of the half that came to the warriors, one person and one head of cattle were to be handed over to Eleazar the priest out of every 500 (i.e., one-fifth per cent.), as a heave-offering for Jehovah; and of the other half that was set apart for the children of Israel, i.e., for the congregation, one out of every fifty (i.e., 2 per cent.) was to be taken for the Levites. אחז, laid hold of, i.e., snatched out of the whole number during the process of counting; not seized or touched by the lot, as in 1 Chronicles 24:6, as there was no reason for resorting to the lot in this instance. The division of the booty into two equal halves, one of which was given to the warriors, and the other to the congregation that had taken no part in the war, was perfectly reasonable and just. As the 12,000 warriors had been chosen out of the whole congregation to carry on the war on their behalf, the congregation itself could properly lay claim to its share of the booty. But as the 12,000 had had all the trouble, hardships, and dangers of the war, they could very properly reckon upon some reward for their service; and this was granted them by their receiving quite as much as the whole of the congregation which had taken no part in the war-in fact, more, because the warriors only gave one-fifth per cent. of their share as a thank-offering for the victory that had been granted them, whilst those who remained at home had to give 2 per cent. of their share to Jehovah for the benefit of the priests and Levites. The arrangement, however, was only made for this particular case, and not as a law for all times, although it was a general rule that those who remained at home received a share of the booty brought back by the warriors (cf. Joshua 22:8; 1 Samuel 30:24-25; 2 Macc. 8:28, 30).
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