Numbers 31 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
War against Midian
31 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Avenge the people of Israel on the Mid′ianites; afterward you shall be gathered to your people.” 3 And Moses said to the people, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Mid′ian, to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Mid′ian. 4 You shall send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.” 5 So there were provided, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, together with Phin′ehas the son of Elea′zar the priest, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. 7 They warred against Mid′ian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and slew every male. 8 They slew the kings of Mid′ian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Mid′ian; and they also slew Balaam the son of Be′or with the sword. 9 And the people of Israel took captive the women of Mid′ian and their little ones; and they took as booty all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods. 10 All their cities in the places where they dwelt, and all their encampments, they burned with fire, 11 and took all the spoil and all the booty, both of man and of beast. 12 Then they brought the captives and the booty and the spoil to Moses, and to Elea′zar the priest, and to the congregation of the people of Israel, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.
Return from the War
13 Moses, and Elea′zar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation, went forth to meet them outside the camp. 14 And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15 Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live? 16 Behold, these caused the people of Israel, by the counsel of Balaam, to act treacherously against the Lord in the matter of Pe′or, and so the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 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 of you 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, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”
21 And Elea′zar 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 the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless it shall also be purified with the water of impurity; and whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. 24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean; and afterward you shall come into the camp.”
Disposition of Captives and Booty
25 The Lord said to Moses, 26 “Take the count of the booty that was taken, both of man and of beast, you and Elea′zar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the congregation; 27 and divide the booty into two parts, between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation. 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the persons and of the oxen and of the asses and of the flocks; 29 take it from their half, and give it to Elea′zar the priest as an offering to the Lord. 30 And from the people of Israel’s half you shall take one drawn out of every fifty, of the persons, of the oxen, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all the cattle, and give them to the Levites who have charge of the tabernacle of the Lord.” 31 And Moses and Elea′zar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.
32 Now the booty remaining of the spoil that the men of war took was: six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand cattle, 34 sixty-one thousand asses, 35 and thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him. 36 And the half, the portion of those who had gone out to war, was in number three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 37 and the Lord’s tribute of sheep was six hundred and seventy-five. 38 The cattle were thirty-six thousand, of which the Lord’s tribute was seventy-two. 39 The asses were thirty thousand five hundred, of which the Lord’s tribute was sixty-one. 40 The persons were sixteen thousand, of which the Lord’s tribute was thirty-two persons. 41 And Moses gave the tribute, which was the offering for the Lord, to Elea′zar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses.
42 From the people of Israel’s half, which Moses separated from that of the men who had gone to war— 43 now the congregation’s half was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44 thirty-six thousand cattle, 45 and thirty thousand five hundred asses, 46 and sixteen thousand persons— 47 from the people of Israel’s half Moses took one of every fifty, 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 Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, came near to Moses, 49 and said to Moses, “Your servants have counted the men of war who are under our command, and there is not a man missing from us. 50 And we have brought the Lord’s offering, what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and beads, to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.” 51 And Moses and Elea′zar the priest received from them the gold, all wrought articles. 52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered to the Lord, from the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels. 53 (The men of war had taken booty, every man for himself.) 54 And Moses and Elea′zar 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 people of Israel before the Lord.