Numbers 31:32
And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,
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(32) And the booty, being the rest of the prey . . . —The reference may be to the residue of the captives after the slaughter of all the males and of a large number of the women, and to the cattle which were brought to the camp, some, it may be, having been lost or slaughtered for food; or it may be to the booty which had been taken in captives and animals, as distinguished from the gold and silver, &c.

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.Compare Numbers 31:11, and render "And the prey" (i. e., the live prey) "in addition to the spoil which the men of war seized, etc." The "spoil" is described in Numbers 31:50.

The number of sheep, beeves, asses, and persons taken is given in this and following verses in round thousands. Hence, the Lord's tribute (Numbers 31:29, Numbers 31:37-38, etc.), being the 500th part of the half, comes out also in round numbers. The enormous amount both of live stock and of personal ornament was characteristic of the Midianites. When they invaded Israel in the days of the Judges, their wealth was still of the same kind (Judges 6:5; Judges 8:24 ff). The Bedouins, notwithstanding their wild nomadic life, retain their ancestral love of finery to the present day.

32-47. the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught—Some of the captives having been killed (Nu 31:17) and part of the cattle taken for the support of the army, the total amount of the booty remaining was in the following proportions:

Prey Total Amount Half to Soldiers Deducted to God Half to Congregation Deducted to Levites Sheep 675,000 337,500 675 337,500 6,750 Beeves 72,000 36,000 72 36,000 720 Asses 61,000 30,500 61 30,500 610 Persons 32,000 16,000 32 16,000 320

The rest of the prey; all which was now left of the prey. It is so expressed because they took more, but some of the persons were since killed, Numbers 31:17, and some of the cattle was spent for the necessary provisions of the army. And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught,.... The remainder of it, besides what they had eaten in their return from the war, and during their seven days' stay without the camp: from hence to the end of Numbers 31:47 is only an account of the prey or booty taken, which in general were 675,000 sheep, 72,000 beeves or oxen, 61,000 asses, and 32,000 females who had never known man; the half out of these, which fell to the share of the soldiers, were 337,500 sheep, 36,000 beeves or oxen, 30,500 asses, and 16,000 females, out of which were given as an heave offering to the Lord six hundred and seventy five sheep, seventy two beeves or oxen, sixty one asses, and thirty two women: the half divided unto the children of Israel consisted of 337,500 sheep, 36,000 beeves or oxen, 30,500 asses, and 16,000 women, out of which one in fifty, both of women and cattle, were given to the Levites; what that amounted to is not expressed, but may be easily reckoned. And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,
32. over and above the booty] the remainder of the booty. The revisers connected the words with Numbers 31:53 (see marg. there), but that is concerned only with the private looting of gold ornaments. Here ‘the booty’ is synonymous with ‘the prey,’ and the words may be paraphrased ‘the prey, or rather that which remained of it.’ That which was captured on the field of battle would be diminished from a variety of causes, e.g. the necessary slaughter of animals for food, possibly the death from hardships on the return journey of some among the prisoners who were ill or infirm; also by the slaughter commanded in Numbers 31:17.Verse 32. - The booty, being the rest of the prey. Rather, "the prey (הַמַּלְקוחַ, see on verse 11), to wit, the rest of the booty" (הַבָּז, as in chapter Numbers 14:3, 31). Septuagint, τὸ πλεόνασμα τῆς προνομῆς, i.e., what actually remained to be divided. The numbers given are obviously round numbers, such as the Israelites seem always to have employed in enumeration. The immense quantity of cattle captured was in accordance with the habits of the Midianites in the days of Gideon (Judges 6:5) and of their modern representatives today. 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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