Israel Fights Back Against the Midianites
1The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 2“Moses, tell the Israelites this: ‘Go and attack the Midianites, and do to them what they did to you.’ After that Moses, you will die.”#31:2 you will die Literally, “you will be gathered to your people.”
3So Moses spoke to the people. He said, “Choose some of your men to be soldiers. The Lord will use these men to do to the Midianites what they did to you. 4Choose 1000 men from each of the tribes of Israel. 5There will be a total of 12,000 soldiers from the tribes of Israel.”
6Moses sent these 12,000 men to war. He sent Phinehas son of Eleazar with them as the priest. Phinehas took the holy things and the horns and trumpets with him. 7The Israelites fought the Midianites as the Lord had commanded. They killed all the Midianite men. 8Among the people who they killed were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with a sword.
9The Israelites took the Midianite women and children as prisoners. They also took all their sheep, cattle, and other things. 10Then they burned all their towns and villages. 11They took all the people and animals 12and brought them to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the other Israelites. They brought all the things they took in war to the camp of Israel. The Israelites were camped in the Jordan Valley in Moab, on the east side of the Jordan River across from Jericho. 13Then Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the leaders of the people went out of the camp to meet with the soldiers.
14Moses was very angry with the leaders of the army, the commanders of 1000 men, and the commanders of 100 men, who came back from the war. 15Moses said to them, “Why did you let the women live? 16These are the women who listened to Balaam and caused the men of Israel to turn away from the Lord that time at Peor. The disease will come to the Lord’s people again. 17Now, kill all the Midianite boys, and kill all the Midianite women who have had sexual relations with a man. 18You can let all the young girls live—but only if they never had sexual relations with any man. 19And then, all you men who killed other people must stay outside the camp for seven days. You must stay outside the camp even if you just touched a dead body. On the third day you and your prisoners must make yourselves pure. You must do the same thing again on the seventh day. 20You must wash all of your clothes. You must wash anything made with leather, wool, or wood. You must purify yourselves.”
21Then Eleazar the priest spoke to the soldiers. He said, “These are the rules that the Lord gave to Moses for soldiers coming back from war. 22-23You must put gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead into the fire and then wash these things with the special water to make them pure. If something can be put in the fire, you must put it in fire to purify it. If things cannot be put in fire, you must still wash them with the special water. 24On the seventh day you must wash all of your clothes. Then you will be pure. After that you can come into camp.”
25Then the Lord said to Moses, 26“You, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders should count all the prisoners, animals, and everything the soldiers took in war. 27Then divide these things between the soldiers who went to war and the rest of the Israelites. 28Take part of these things from the soldiers who went to war. That part will belong to the Lord. His share is one from every 500 items. This includes people, cattle, donkeys, and sheep. 29Take that share from the soldiers’ half of the things they took in war. Then give these things to Eleazar the priest. That part will belong to the Lord. 30And then, from the people’s half, take one thing for every 50 items. This includes people, cattle, donkeys, sheep, or any other animal. Give that share to the Levites, because they take care of the Lord’s Holy Tent.”
31So Moses and Eleazar did what the Lord commanded Moses. 32The soldiers had taken 675,000 sheep, 3372,000 cattle, 3461,000 donkeys, 35and 32,000 women. (These are only the women who had not had sexual relations with any man.) 36The soldiers who went to war got 337,500 sheep. 37They gave 675 sheep to the Lord. 38The soldiers got 36,000 cattle. They gave 72 cattle to the Lord. 39The soldiers got 30,500 donkeys. They gave 61 donkeys to the Lord. 40The soldiers got 16,000 women. They gave 32 women to the Lord. 41Moses gave all these gifts for the Lord to Eleazar the priest, as the Lord had commanded him.
42Then Moses counted the people’s half. This was their share that Moses had taken from the soldiers who had gone to war. 43The people got 337,500 sheep, 4436,000 cattle, 4530,500 donkeys, 46and 16,000 women. 47Moses took one out of every 50 women and animals. He gave them to the Levites because they took care of the Lord’s Holy Tent. Moses did this as the Lord had commanded.
48Then the leaders of the army (the leaders over 1000 men and the leaders over 100 men) came to Moses. 49They told Moses, “We, your servants, have counted our soldiers. We have not missed any of them. 50So we are bringing the Lord’s gift from every soldier. We are bringing things that are made of gold—armbands, bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces. This gift to the Lord is to make us pure.”
51So Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted all these gold items from them. 52The gold that the commanders#31:52 commanders Literally, “leaders of 1000 men.” and captains#31:52 captains Literally, “leaders of 100 men.” gave to the Lord weighed about 424 pounds.#31:52 424 pounds Literally, “16,750 shekels” (190 kg). 53The soldiers kept the rest of their share of the things they took in war. 54Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from the commanders and captains and then put that gold in the Meeting Tent. This present was a memorial#31:54 memorial Something that helps people remember things that happened in the past. before the Lord for the Israelites.