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. Chapter 31.

The defeat of the Midianites.

1 THE LORD SPOKE TO MOSES and said, 2 'You are to exact vengeance for Israel on the Midianites and then you will be gathered to your father's kin.'

3 Then Moses spoke to the people in these words: 'Let some men among you be drafted for active service. They shall fall upon Midian and exact vengeance in the LORD's name. 4 You shall send out a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.' 5 So the men were called up from the clans of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand in all, drafted for active service. 6 Moses sent out this force, a thousand from each tribe, with Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, who was in charge of the holy vessels and of the trumpets to give the signal for the battle-cry. 7 They made war on Midian as the LORD had commanded Moses, and slew all the men. 8 In addition to those slain in battle they killed the kings of Midian—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian—and they put to death also Balaam son of Beor. 9 The Israelites took captive the Midianite women and their dependants, and carried off all their beasts, their flocks, and their property. 10 They burnt all their cities, in which they had settled, and all their encampments. 11 They took all the spoil and plunder, both man and beast,

The army returns.

12 and brought them—captives, plunder, and spoil—to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to all the community of the Israelites, to the camp in the lowlands of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses spoke angrily to the officers of the army, the commanders of units of a thousand and of a hundred, who were returning from the campaign: 15 'Have you spared all the women?' he said. 16 'Remember, it was they who, on Balaam's departure, set about seducing the Israelites into disloyalty to the LORD that day at Peor, so that the plague struck the community of the LORD. 17 Now kill every male dependant, and kill every woman who has had intercourse with a man, 18 but spare for yourselves every woman among them who has not had intercourse. 19 You yourselves, every one of you who has taken life and every one who has touched the dead, must remain outside the camp for seven days. Purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day, 20 and purify also every piece of clothing, every article made of skin, everything woven of goat's hair, and everything made of wood.'

21 Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers returning from battle, 'This is a law and statute which the LORD has ordained through Moses. 22 (22-23) Anything which will stand fire, whether gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, or lead, you shall pass through fire and then it will be clean. Other things shall be purified by the water of ritual purification; whatever cannot stand fire shall be passed through the water. 23 24 On the seventh day you shall wash your clothes, and then be clean; after this you may re-enter the camp.'

Division of the booty.

25 The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 26 'Count all that has been captured, man or beast, you and Eleazar the priest and the. heads of families in the community, 27 and divide it equally between the fighting men who went on the campaign and the whole community. 28 You shall levy a tax for the LORD: from the combatants it shall be one out of every five hundred, whether men, cattle, asses, or sheep, 29 to be taken out of their share and given to Eleazar the priest as a contribution for the LORD. 30 Out of the share of the Israelites it shall be one out of every fifty taken, whether man or beast, cattle, asses, or sheep, to be given to the Levites who are in charge of the LORD's Tabernacle.'

31 Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 32 These were the spoils, over and above the plunder taken by the fighting men: six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand cattle, 34 sixty-one thousand asses; 35 and of persons, thirty-two thousand girls who had had no intercourse with a man.

36 The half-share of those who took part in the campaign was thus three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 37 the tax for the LORD from these being six hundred and seventy-five; 38 thirty-six thousand cattle, the tax being seventy-two; 39 thirty thousand five hundred asses, the tax being sixty-one; 40 and sixteen thousand persons, the tax being thirty-two. 41 Moses gave Eleazar the priest the tax levied for the LORD, as the LORD had commanded him.

42 (42-43) The share of the community, being the half-share for the Israelites which Moses divided off from that of the combatants, was three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 43 44 thirty-six thousand cattle, 45 thirty thousand five hundred asses, 46 and sixteen thousand persons. 47 Moses took one out of every fifty, whether man or beast, from the half-share of the Israelites, and gave it to the Levites who were in charge of the LORD's Tabernacle, as the LORD had commanded him.

48 Then the officers who had commanded the forces on the campaign, the commanders of units of a thousand and of a hundred, came to Moses 49 and said to him, 'Sir, we have checked the roll of the fighting men who were under our command, and not one of them is missing. 50 So we have brought the gold ornaments, the armlets, bracelets, finger-rings, earrings, and pendants that each man has found, to offer them before the LORD as a ransom for our lives.'

51 Moses and Eleazar the priest received this gold from the commanders of units of a thousand and of a hundred, all of it craftsman's work, 52 and the gold thus levied as a contribution to the LORD weighed sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty shekels; 53 for every man in the army had taken plunder. 54 So Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the commanders of units of a thousand and of a hundred, and brought it to the Tent of the Presence that the LORD might remember Israel.

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