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Numbers 31:1-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

War with Midian

31 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Execute vengeance for the Israelites against the Midianites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

So Moses spoke to the people, “Equip some of your men for war. They will go against Midian to inflict the Lord’s vengeance on them. Send 1,000 men to war from each Israelite tribe.” So 1,000 were recruited from each Israelite tribe out of the thousands[a] in Israel—12,000 equipped for war. Moses sent 1,000 from each tribe to war. They went with Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, in whose care were the holy objects and signal trumpets.

They waged war against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male. Along with the others slain by them, they killed the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. The Israelites took the Midianite women and their children captive, and they plundered all their cattle, flocks, and property. 10 Then they burned all the cities where the Midianites lived, as well as all their encampments, 11 and took away all the spoils of war and the captives, both man and beast. 12 They brought the prisoners, animals, and spoils of war to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the Israelite community at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 But Moses became furious with the officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, who were returning from the military campaign. 15 “Have[b] 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. 17 So now, kill all the male children and kill every woman who has had sexual relations with a man, 18 but keep alive for yourselves all the young females who have not had sexual relations.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 31:5 Or clans
  2. Numbers 31:15 Sam, LXX, Syr, Vg read Why have

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