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Numbers 31:3-4

Context

31:3 So Moses spoke to the people: “Arm 1  men from among you for the war, to attack the Midianites and to execute 2  the Lord’s vengeance on Midian. 31:4 You must send to the battle a thousand men from every tribe throughout all the tribes of Israel.” 3 

1 tn The Niphal imperative, literally “arm yourselves,” is the call to mobilize the nation for war. It is followed by the jussive, “and they will be,” which would then be subordinated to say “that they may be.” The versions changed the verb to a Hiphil, but that is unnecessary: “arm some of yourselves.”

2 tn Heb “give.”

3 sn Some commentators argue that given the size of the nation (which they reject) the small number for the army is a sign of the unrealistic character of the story. The number is a round number, but it is also a holy war, and God would give them the victory. They are beginning to learn here, and at Jericho, and later against these Midianites under Gideon, that God does not want or need a large army in order to obtain victory.



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