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Numbers 31:2

Context
31:2 “Exact vengeance 1  for the Israelites on the Midianites 2  – after that you will be gathered to your people.” 3 

Numbers 31:9-16

Context

31:9 The Israelites took the women of Midian captives along with their little ones, and took all their herds, all their flocks, and all their goods as plunder. 31:10 They burned 4  all their towns 5  where they lived and all their encampments. 31:11 They took all the plunder and all the spoils, both people and animals. 31:12 They brought the captives and the spoils and the plunder to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the Israelite community, to the camp on the plains 6  of Moab, along the Jordan River 7  across from Jericho. 8  31:13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went out to meet them outside the camp.

The Death of the Midianite Women

31:14 But Moses was furious with the officers of the army, the commanders over thousands and commanders over hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 31:15 Moses said to them, “Have you allowed all the women to live? 9  31:16 Look, these people through the counsel of Balaam caused the Israelites to act treacherously against the Lord in the matter of Peor – which resulted in the plague among the community of the Lord!

1 tn The imperative is followed by its cognate accusative to stress this vengeance. The Midianites had attempted to destroy Israel with their corrupt pagan practices, and now will be judged. The accounts indicate that the effort by Midian was calculated and evil.

2 sn The war was commanded by the Lord and was to be divine vengeance on the Midianites. So it was holy war. No Israelites then could take spoils in this – it was not a time for plunder and aggrandizement. It was part of the judgment of God upon those who would destroy or pervert his plan and his people.

3 sn This would be the last major enterprise that Moses would have to undertake. He would soon die and “be gathered to his people” as Aaron was.

4 tn Heb “burned with fire.”

5 tn The ban applied to the encampments and forts of this group of Midianite tribes living in the region of Moab.

6 tn Or “steppes.”

7 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Again this expression, “the Jordan of Jericho,” is used. It describes the intended location along the Jordan River, the Jordan next to or across from Jericho.

map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

9 tn The verb is the Piel perfect of the word חָיָה (khayah, “to live”). In the Piel stem it must here mean “preserve alive,” or “allow to live,” rather than make alive.



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