Numbers 31

31 The Lord said to Moses,

2 Avenge the Israelites on the Midianites; afterward you shall be gathered to your [departed] people.

3 And Moses said to the people, Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian and execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian [for seducing Israel].(A)

4 From each of the tribes of Israel you shall send 1,000 to the war.

5 So there were provided out of the thousands of Israel 1,000 from each tribe, 12,000 armed for war.

6 And Moses sent them to the war, 1,000 from each tribe, together with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, with the [sacred] vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets to blow the alarm in his hand.

7 They fought with Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and slew every male,

8 Including the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba; also Balaam son of Beor they slew with the sword.(B)

9 And the Israelites took captive the women of Midian and their little ones, and all their cattle, their flocks, and their goods as booty.

10 They burned all the cities in which they dwelt, and all their encampments.

11 And they took all the spoil and all the prey, both of man and of beast.

12 Then they brought the captives, the prey, and the spoil to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the congregation of the Israelites at the camp on the plains of Moab by Jordan at Jericho.

13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the princes or leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp.

14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, who served in the war.

15 And Moses said to them, Have you let all the women live?

16 Behold, these caused the Israelites by the counsel of Balaam to trespass and act treacherously against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and so a [smiting] plague came among the congregation of the Lord.(C)

17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who is not a virgin.

18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.

19 Encamp outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.

20 You shall purify every garment, all that is made of skins, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.

21 And Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who had gone to battle, This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded Moses:

22 Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead,

23 Everything that can stand fire, you shall make go through fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless it shall also be purified with the water of impurity; and all that cannot stand fire [such as fabrics] you shall pass through water.

24 And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and you shall be clean; then you shall come into the camp.

25 And the Lord said to Moses,

26 Take the count of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, you and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the congregation.

27 Divide the booty into two [equal] parts between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation.

28 And levy a tribute to the Lord from the warriors who went to battle, one out of every 500 of the persons, the oxen, the donkeys, and the flocks.

29 Take [this tribute] from the warriors’ half and give it to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the Lord.

30 And from the Israelites’ half [of the booty] you shall take one out of every fifty of the persons, the oxen, the donkeys, the flocks, and of all livestock, and give them to the Levites who have charge of the tabernacle of the Lord.

31 And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

32 The prey, besides the booty which the men of war took, was 675,000 sheep,

33 And 72,000 cattle,

34 And 61,000 donkeys,

35 And 32,000 persons in all, of the women who were virgins.

36 And the half share, the portion of those who went to war, was: 337,500 sheep,

37 And the Lord’s tribute of the sheep was 675;

38 The cattle were 36,000, of which the Lord’s tribute was 72;

39 The donkeys were 30,500, of which the Lord’s tribute was 61;

40 The persons were 16,000, of whom the Lord’s tribute was 32 persons.

41 And Moses gave the tribute which was the Lord’s offering to Eleazar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses.

42 And the Israelites’ half Moses separated from that of the warriors’—

43 Now the congregation’s half was 337,500 sheep,

44 And 36,000 cattle,

45 And 30,500 donkeys,

46 And 16,000 persons—

47 Even of the Israelites’ half, Moses took one of every 50, both of persons and of beasts, and gave them to the Levites, who had charge of the tabernacle of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

48 And the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, came to Moses.

49 They told [him], Your servants have counted the warriors under our command, and not one man of us is missing.

50 We have brought as the Lord’s offering what each man obtained—articles of gold, armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings, neck ornaments—to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.

51 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from them, all the wrought articles.

52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered to the Lord from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds was 16,750 shekels.

53 For the men of war had taken booty, every man for himself.

54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest 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.

Cross references

  1. Numbers 31:3 : Num. 25:16-18.
  2. Numbers 31:8 : Num. 22:31-35; Neh. 13:1, 2.
  3. Numbers 31:16 : Num. 25:1-9; 31:8.

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