War with Midian
1The Lord spoke to Moses, 2“Execute vengeance for the Israelites against the Midianites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”#Nm 20:24-26; 27:13; Dt 32:50
3So Moses spoke to the people, “Equip some of your men for war. They will go against Midian to inflict the Lord’s vengeance#Ps 18:47; 79:10; 94:1; Jr 11:20 on them. 4Send one thousand men to war from each Israelite tribe.” 5So one thousand were recruited from each Israelite tribe out of the thousands#31:5 Or clans in Israel — twelve thousand equipped for war. 6Moses sent one thousand from each tribe to war. They went with Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, in whose care were the holy objects and signal trumpets.
7They waged war against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male.#Gn 34:25; 1Kg 11:16 8Along with the others slain by them, they killed the Midianite kings — Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian.#Jos 13:21-22; Jdg 8:5,12,26 They also killed Balaam son of Beor#Nm 22:5—24:25 with the sword. 9The Israelites took the Midianite women and their dependents captive, and they plundered all their cattle, flocks, and property.#Gn 34:28-29; Dt 20:13-14 10Then they burned all the cities where the Midianites lived, as well as all their encampments, 11and took away all the spoils of war and the captives, both people and animals. 12They brought the prisoners, animals, and spoils of war to Moses, the priest Eleazar, and the Israelite community at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho.
13Moses, the priest Eleazar, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14But Moses became furious with the officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, who were returning from the military campaign. 15“Have you let every female live?” he asked them. 16“Yet they are the ones who, at Balaam’s advice, incited the Israelites to unfaithfulness against the Lord in the Peor incident, so that the plague came against the Lord’s community.#Nm 25; Dt 20:18; 2Pt 2:15; Rv 2:14 17So now, kill every male among the dependents and kill every woman who has gone to bed with a man,#Jdg 21:11-12 18but keep alive for yourselves all the young females who have not gone to bed with a man.#Dt 21:10-14
19“You are to remain outside the camp for seven days. All of you and your prisoners who have killed a person or touched the dead are to purify yourselves on the third day and the seventh day.#Lv 11:31; 22:4; Nm 5:2; 19:11,18; Hg 2:13 20Also purify everything: garments, leather goods, things made of goat hair, and every article of wood.”#Lv 11:32; Nm 19:11-20
21Then the priest Eleazar said to the soldiers who had gone to battle, “This is the legal statute the Lord commanded Moses: 22The gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, and lead — 23everything that can withstand fire — you are to pass through fire, and it will be clean. It must still be purified with the purification water.#Nm 19:1-9,17-20 Anything that cannot withstand fire, pass through the water. 24On the seventh day wash your clothes, and you will be clean.#Ex 19:10; Lv 11:25,28,40; 13:6,34; 14:8; 15:5; 16:26; 17:15; Nm 8:7; 19:7 After that you may enter the camp.”
25The Lord told Moses, 26“You, the priest Eleazar, and the family heads of the community are to take a count of what was captured, people and animals. 27Then divide the captives between the troops who went out to war and the entire community.#Jos 22:8; 1Sm 30:24 28Set aside a tribute for the Lord from what belongs to the fighting men who went out to war: one out of every five hundred people, cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. 29Take the tribute from their half and give it to the priest Eleazar as a contribution to the Lord. 30From the Israelites’ half, take one out of every fifty from the people, cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats, all the livestock, and give them to the Levites who perform the duties of#31:30 Or who protect the Lord’s tabernacle.”
31So Moses and the priest Eleazar did as the Lord commanded Moses. 32The captives remaining from the plunder the army had taken totaled:
675,000 sheep and goats,
35and 32,000 people, all the females who had not gone to bed with a man.
36The half portion for those who went out to war numbered:
337,500 sheep and goats,
37and the tribute to the Lord was 675
from the sheep and goats;
38from the 36,000 cattle,
the tribute to the Lord was 72;
39from the 30,500 donkeys,
the tribute to the Lord was 61;
40and from the 16,000 people,
the tribute to the Lord was 32 people.
41Moses gave the tribute to the priest Eleazar as a contribution for the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
42From the Israelites’ half, which Moses separated from the men who fought, 43the community’s half was:
337,500 sheep and goats,
46and 16,000 people.
47Moses took one out of every fifty, selected from the people and the livestock of the Israelites’ half. He gave them to the Levites who perform the duties of the Lord’s tabernacle, as the Lord had commanded him.
48The officers who were over the thousands of the army, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, approached Moses 49and told him, “Your servants have taken a census of the fighting men under our command, and not one of us is missing. 50So we have presented to the Lord an offering of the gold articles each man found — armlets, bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces — to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.”#Ex 30:12-16
51Moses and the priest Eleazar received from them all the articles made out of gold. 52All the gold of the contribution they offered to the Lord, from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, was 420 pounds.#31:52 Lit 16,750 shekels 53Each of the soldiers had taken plunder for himself.#Dt 20:14 54Moses and the priest Eleazar received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the tent of meeting as a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord.