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The Slaughter of Midian

31 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take vengeance for the Israelites on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people [in death].” Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for war, so that they may go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian [for seducing Israel to participate in idolatry].(A) A thousand [fighting men] from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.” So out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe were selected, twelve thousand armed for war. Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to war with them, and the sacred vessels [of the sanctuary] and the trumpets to blow the alarm in his hand. They made war against Midian, just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. They killed the kings of Midian along with the rest of their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur [the father of Cozbi] and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; also Balaam the son of Beor they killed with the sword.(B) The sons of Israel captured the women of Midian and their children; and all their cattle, all their livestock, and all their property they took as spoil [of war]. 10 They burned all the cities where they lived, and all their encampments with fire. 11 They took all the plunder and all the spoils of war, both people and livestock. 12 Then they brought the captives, the spoils, and the plunder to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the congregation of the Israelites at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan [River] across from Jericho.

13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went out 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 Look, these [are the women who] caused the Israelites, by the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and so a plague came among the congregation of the Lord.(C) 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the children, and kill every woman who is not a virgin. 18 But all the young girls who have not known a man intimately, keep alive for yourselves [to marry]. 19 Camp outside the camp for seven days; whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any dead body, purify yourselves and your captives, on the third day and on the seventh day. 20 You shall purify every garment and every article made of leather and all the things made of goats’ hair, and every article made of wood.”

21 Then 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 pass through fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water of purification [to remove its 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 be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp.”

Division of the Spoil of War

25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “You and Eleazar the priest and the leaders of the fathers’ households of the congregation are to take a count of the spoil of war that was captured, both people and livestock. 27 Divide the spoil into two [equal] parts between those who were involved in the war, that is, those who went out to battle and all [the rest of] the congregation. 28 Levy a tax for the Lord from the warriors who went to battle, one in five hundred 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 From the Israelites’ half [of the spoil] you shall take one out of every fifty of the persons, the oxen, the donkeys, the flocks, and of all the livestock, and give them to the Levites who are in charge of the tabernacle of the Lord.” 31 Moses and Eleazar the priest did just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

32 The plunder that remained from the spoil of war which the warriors had taken, was 675,000 sheep, 33 and 72,000 cattle, 34 and 61,000 donkeys, 35 and 32,000 persons in all, of the [Midianite] women who were virgins.

36 The half share, the portion of those who went to war, was 337,500 sheep in number, 37 and the Lord’s levy (tax) of the sheep was 675; 38 the cattle were 36,000, from which the Lord’s levy was 72; 39 the donkeys were 30,500, from which the Lord’s levy was 61; 40 the persons were 16,000, from whom the Lord’s levy was 32 persons. 41 Moses gave the levy which was the Lord’s offering to Eleazar the priest, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

42 As for the Israelites’ half, which 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 people— 47 and from the Israelites’ half, Moses took one out of every fifty, both of persons and animals, and gave them to the Levites, who were in charge of the tabernacle of the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

48 Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, approached Moses, 49 and they said to him, “Your servants have counted the warriors under our command, and not one man of us is missing. 50 So we have brought as an offering to the Lord what each man obtained—articles of gold, armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings, necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.” 51 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from them, all the handmade articles. 52 All the gold of the offering which they presented to the Lord from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds was 16,750 shekels. 53 For the men of war had taken plunder, every man for himself. 54 So Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) as a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord.

Reuben and Gad Settle in Gilead

32 Now the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad had very large herds of cattle, and they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead [on the east side of the Jordan River], and indeed, the place was suitable for raising livestock. So the sons of Gad and of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, “[The country around] Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon, the land which the Lord conquered before the congregation of Israel, is a land [suitable] for livestock, and your servants have [very large herds of] livestock.” They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us across the Jordan [River].”

But Moses said to the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben, “Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here? Now why are you discouraging the hearts of the Israelites from crossing over into the land which the Lord has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land! For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the hearts of the Israelites so that they did not go into the land which the Lord had given them. 10 And the Lord’s anger was kindled on that day and He swore an oath, saying, 11 ‘None of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not followed Me completely, 12 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the Lord completely.’ 13 So the Lord’s anger was kindled against the sons of Israel (Jacob) and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the Lord was destroyed. 14 Now look, you [the tribes of Reuben and Gad] have risen up in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to add still more to the fierce anger of the Lord against Israel. 15 For if you turn back from following Him [completely], He will once again leave them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people.”

16 But the people of Reuben and Gad approached Moses and said, “We will build sheepfolds here for our flocks and [walled] cities for our children, 17 but we will be armed and ready to go to war before the [other tribes of the] Israelites, until we have brought them to their place, while our children live in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until every one of the [other] sons of Israel has taken possession of his inheritance. 19 For we will not inherit with them on the west side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has come to us on this side of the Jordan [River] toward the east.”

20 Moses replied, “If you will do as you say, if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for war, 21 and every armed man of yours will cross the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies before Him, 22 and the land [west of the Jordan] is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you shall return and be blameless [in this matter] before the Lord and before Israel, and this land [east of the Jordan] shall be yours as a possession before the Lord. 23 But if you do not do this, behold, you will have sinned against the Lord; and be sure that your sin will find you out. 24 Build yourselves cities for your children, and folds for your sheep, and do that of which you have spoken.”

25 Then the descendants of Gad and of Reuben said to Moses, “Your servants will do just as my lord commands. 26 Our children, our wives, our livestock, and all our cattle shall be there in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants will cross over, every man armed for war, before the Lord to the battle, just as my lord says.”

28 So Moses gave the command concerning them to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the leaders of the fathers’ households of the tribes of the Israelites. 29 Moses said to them, “If the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben will cross over the Jordan with you, every man armed for battle before the Lord, and the land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gilead [east of the Jordan River] as a possession; 30 but if they will not cross over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan [and surrender their right to their land east of the Jordan River].” 31 The sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben answered, “As the Lord has said to your servants, so will we do. 32 We will cross over armed before the Lord into the land of Canaan, so that the possession of our inheritance on [the east] side of the Jordan may be ours.”

33 So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon, the king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities and territories, the cities of the surrounding land. 34 The sons of Gad built Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran, fortified (walled) cities, and sheepfolds for sheep. 37 The sons of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38 Nebo, and Baal-meon (their names being changed) and Sibmah; and they gave other names to the cities which they built. 39 The sons of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead and took it, and drove out the Amorites who were in it. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to [the tribe of] Machir the son of Manasseh, and they settled in it. 41 [The sons of] Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its towns (tent villages) and called them Havvoth-jair. 42 Nobah went and took Kenath and its villages, and called it Nobah after his own name.

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