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Numbers 31:25-31

Context
The Distribution of Spoils

31:25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 31:26 “You and Eleazar the priest, and all the family leaders of the community, take the sum 1  of the plunder that was captured, both people and animals. 31:27 Divide the plunder into two parts, one for those who took part in the war – who went out to battle – and the other for all the community.

31:28 “You must exact 2  a tribute for the Lord from the fighting men who went out to battle: one life out of five hundred, from the people, the cattle, and from the donkeys and the sheep. 31:29 You are to take it from their half-share and give it to Eleazar the priest for a raised offering to the Lord. 31:30 From the Israelites’ half-share you are to take one portion out of fifty of the people, the cattle, the donkeys, and the sheep – from every kind of animal – and you are to give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord’s tabernacle.”

31:31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

1 tn The idiom here is “take up the head,” meaning take a census, or count the totals.

2 tn The verb is the Hiphil, “you shall cause to be taken up.” The perfect with vav (ו) continues the sequence of the instructions. This raised offering was to be a tax of one-fifth of one percent for the Lord.



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