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Numbers 31Modern English Version (MEV)

Vengeance on the Midianites

31 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the children of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you will be gathered to your people.”

Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm some of your men for war, and let them go against the Midianites to give the vengeance of the Lord against Midian. A thousand from each tribe, throughout all the tribes of Israel, you will send to the war.” So there were delivered from the thousands of Israel a thousand of each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the holy vessels and the trumpets to sound the alarm in his hand.

They waged war against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses, and they killed every male. They killed the kings of Midian, in addition to the rest of those who were killed: Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword. The children of Israel returned with the women of Midian and their children and took their livestock, and all their flocks, and all their wealth for plunder. 10 They burned with fire all their cities in which they lived and all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and all the prey of men and of beasts. 12 They brought the captives, the prey, and the plunder to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, to the assembly of the children of Israel, and to the camp on the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the assembly went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, who came from the battle.

15 Moses said to them, “Have you saved all the women alive? 16 These caused the children of Israel, through the word of Balaam, to act unfaithfully against the Lord concerning the thing of Peor, and there was a plague among the assembly of the Lord. 17 So now kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by lying with him. 18 But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man by lying with him.

19 “And you stay outside the camp seven days. Whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. 20 Purify all your clothes, and all that is made of skins, and all work of goats’ hair, and all things made of wood.”

21 Eleazar the priest said to the fighting men of Israel who went to the battle, “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord commanded Moses: 22 Only the gold, and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can go through the fire, you will make it go through the fire, and it will be clean, but some of it will be purified with the water of purification, and all that cannot pass through the fire you will make go through the water. 24 You will wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you will be clean, and afterward you will come into the camp.”

Dividing the Plunder

25 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Take the count of the plunder that was taken, of man and of beast, you and Eleazar the priest, and the chief of the fathers of the assembly. 27 And divide the prey into two parts between those that took the war on themselves, who went out to battle, and between all the assembly. 28 And levy a tribute to the Lord from the fighting men of Israel who went out to battle: one person out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen, and of the donkeys, and of the sheep; 29 take it from their half, and give it to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the Lord. 30 Of the half of the children of Israel, you will take one portion of fifty, of the people, of the oxen, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them to the Levites, who keep the guard of the tabernacle of the Lord.” 31 Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

32 The plunder, being the rest of the prey, which the fighting men of Israel had caught, was six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand oxen, 34 and sixty-one thousand donkeys, 35 and thirty-two thousand people in all, of women who had not known a man by lying with him.

36 The half, which was the portion of those that went out to war, was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep.

37 And the Lord’s tribute of the sheep was six hundred and seventy-five.

38 The oxen were thirty-six thousand, of which the Lord’s tribute was seventy-two.

39 The donkeys were thirty thousand five hundred, of which the Lord’s tribute was sixty-one.

40 The people were sixteen thousand, of which the Lord’s tribute was thirty-two people.

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

42 Of the half of the children of Israel, which Moses divided from the men who fought, 43 the half belonging to the assembly was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44 thirty-six thousand oxen, 45 thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, 46 and sixteen thousand people. 47 From the half of the children of Israel Moses took one out of fifty, of man and of beast, and gave them to the Levites, who kept the guard of the tabernacle of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

48 The officers who were over thousands of the army, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came near to Moses, 49 and they said to Moses, “Your servants have taken the count of the fighting men of Israel who are in our hand, and not a man of us is missing. 50 We have brought an offering for the Lord, what every man has gotten of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and pendants, to make an atonement for ourselves before the Lord.”

51 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from them, all in the form of fashioned articles. 52 All the gold of the offering that they offered up to the Lord, of the captains of thousands and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels.[a] 53 The fighting men of Israel had taken plunder, each man for himself. 54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the tent of meeting as a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 31:52 About 420 pounds, or 190 kilograms.
Modern English Version (MEV)

The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

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