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1 The Midianites are spoiled, and Balaam slain.
13 Moses is wroth with the officers, for saving the women
19 How the soldiers, with their captives and spoil, are to be
25 The proportion in which the prey is to be divided.
48 The voluntary oblation unto the treasury of the Lord.
* :3; 25:17,18 De 32:35 Jud 16:24,28-30 Ps 94:1-3 Isa 1:24
* Na 1:2 Lu 21:22 Ro 12:19; 13:4 1Th 4:6 Heb 10:30 Re 6:10
* Re 18:20; 19:2
- the Midianites.
* Nu 25:6,14-18 Ge 25:1-4 Ex 2:16
* Nu 27:13 Ge 15:15; 25:8,17 Jud 2:10 Ac 13:36
- Arm some.
* Ex 17:9-13
- avenge the Lord.
It was God's quarrel, not their own, that they were now to
take up. These people were idolaters, and had seduced the
Israelites to practise the same abominations. Idolatry is an
offence against God; and the civil power has no authority to
meddle with what belongs to Him, without especial directions,
certified, as in this case, in the most unequivocal manner.
Private revenge, ambition, or avarice were to have no place in
this business: Jehovah is to be avenged; and through Him, the
children of Israel, (ver. 2,) because they were nearly ruined
by their idolatries. If Jehovah, instead of punishing sinners
by earthquakes, pestilence, or famine,is pleased expressly to
command any person or people to avenge his cause, this
commission justifies, nay sanctifies, war, massacre, or
devastation. Though none at present shew such a commission,
yet the Israelites could; and it is therefore absurd to
censure Moses, Joshua, and Israel, for the dreadful slaughter
made by them. God himself passed sentence of condemnation,
and employed them merely as ministers of his vengeance; and
unless it could be proved that the criminals did not deserve
their doom, or that God had no right to punish his rebellious
creatures, such objectors only shew their enmity to God by
becoming the unsolicited advocates of his enemies.
* Nu 25:11,13 Ex 17:16 Le 26:25 Jud 5:2,23 2Ki 9:7; 10:30 Jer 46:10
* Jer 50:28
- Of every tribe a thousand. Heb. A thousand of a tribe, a
thousand of a tribe. a thousand.
* Le 26:8 Jud 7:2 1Sa 14:6
- a thousand.
Twelve thousand in all--a small number in proportion to all
Israel, or to the forces which they had to encounter. As they
were under the conduct of captains of thousands and hundreds,
they probably had no general; for Phinehas seems to have
accompanied them simply to take charge of "the holy
instruments;" probably the ark and silver trumpets.
* Nu 25:7-13
- the holy instruments.
* Nu 14:44; 33:20-22 Ex 25:9 Jos 6:4-6,13-15 1Sa 4:4,5,17; 14:18
* 1Sa 23:9 2Sa 11:11
- to blow.
* Nu 10:8,9 2Ch 13:12-15
* De 20:13,14 Jud 21:11 1Sa 27:9 1Ki 11:15,16
- the males.
* Jud 6:1,2,33
- the kings.
* Nu 22:4 Jos 13:21,22
* Nu 25:15,18
* Nu 22:10; 24:25 Jos 13:22 Ps 9:16; 10:2 1Ti 6:9,10 2Pe 2:15
* Jude 1:11 Re 2:14; 19:20
* :15,16 De 20:14 2Ch 28:5,8-10
* Jos 6:24 1Sa 30:1 1Ki 9:16 Isa 1:7 Re 18:8
* De 20:14 Jos 8:2
- the plains of Moab. See on ch.
* Nu 22:1
- went forth.
* Ge 14:17 1Sa 15:12; 30:21
- without the camp.
* :12,22-24; 5:2; 19:11
* Nu 12:3 Ex 32:19,22 Le 10:16 1Sa 15:13,14 1Ki 20:42 2Ki 13:19
* Eph 4:26
- battle. Heb. host of war.
* De 2:34; 20:13,16-18 Jos 6:21; 8:25; 10:40; 11:14 1Sa 15:3
* Ps 137:8,9 Jer 48:10 Eze 9:6
- these caused.
* Nu 24:14; 25:1-3 Pr 23:27 Ec 7:26 2Pe 2:15 Re 2:14
- in the matter.
* Nu 25:18 De 4:3 Jos 22:17
- and there.
* Nu 25:9
- kill every male.
The sword of war should spare women and children, as incapable
of resisting; but the sword of justice knows no distinction,
except that of guilty or not guilty, or more or less guilty.
This was the execution of a righteous sentence upon a guilty
nation, in which the women were the greatest criminals; and it
may safely be said, that their lives were forfeited by their
personal transgressions. With respect to the execution of the
male infants, who cannot be supposed to have been guilty, God,
the author and supporter of life, who has a right to dispose
of it when and how he thinks proper, commanded it; and "shall
not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
* Jud 21:11,12
- him. Heb. a male.
- keep alive for yourselves.
It has been groundlessly asserted, that Moses here authorised
the Israelites to make concubines of the whole number of
female children; and an insidious objection against his
writings has been grounded upon this monstrous supposition.
But the whole tenor of the law, and especially a statute
recorded in De 21:10-14, proves most decisively to the
contrary. They were merely permitted to possess them as
female slaves, educating them in their families, and employing
them as domestics; for the laws concerning fornication,
concubinage, and marriage, were in full force, and prohibited
an Israelite even from marrying a captive, without delays and
previous formalities; and if he afterwards divorced her, he
was to set here at liberty, "because he had humbled her."
* Le 25:44 De 20:14; 21:10-14 2Ch 28:8-10 Isa 14:2
Though the Israelites had acted by the commission of God, yet
they had contracted pollution by touching the dead; and the
spoil having been used by idolaters, must also be purified in
the prescribed manner.
* Nu 5:2; 19:11-22 1Ch 22:8
* Nu 19:14-16,22 Ge 35:2 Ex 19:10
- that is made. Heb. instrument, or, vessel.
- See on ch.
* Nu 30:16
* Isa 43:2 Zec 13:9 Mal 2:2,3 Mt 3:11 1Co 3:13 1Pe 1:7; 4:12
* Re 3:18
- it shall be purified.
* Nu 8:7; 19:9,17
- ye shall make.
* Le 11:32; 15:17 Eph 5:26 Tit 3:5,6 1Pe 3:21
* Nu 19:19 Le 11:25; 14:9; 15:13
- that was taken. Heb. of the captivity.
- two parts.
* Jos 22:8 1Sa 30:4,24,25 Ps 68:12
* Ge 14:20 Jos 6:19,24 2Sa 8:11,12 1Ch 18:11; 26:26,27 Pr 3:9,10
* Isa 18:7; 23:18; 60:9 Mt 22:21
- one soul.
* :30,47; 18:26
- an heave.
* Nu 18:26 Ex 29:27 De 12:12,19
- one portion. See ver.
- flocks, or, goats. and give.
* :28; 18:24-28 1Co 9:13,14
- keep the.
* Nu 3:7,8,25,31,36-39; 18:1-5,23 1Ch 9:27-29; 23:32; 26:20-27
* Ac 20:28 1Co 4:2 Col 4:17 Heb 13:17
- the booty.
It appears from the enumeration here, that the Israelites, in
this war with the Midianites, took 32,000 female prisoners,
61,000 asses, 72,000 beeves, and 675,000 sheep and small
cattle; besides the immense number of males who fell in
battle, and the women and children who were slain by the
divine command. (ver. 17.) This booty was divided into equal
parts, by which partition a far larger share was justly given
to the warriors employed on the expedition, who were only
12,000, than to those, who being equally willing to go, were
ordered to stay in the camp. Each party was to give a certain
proportion to Jehovah, as their sovereign, in grateful
acknowledgement that to him they owed their success. The
soldiers to give to the Lord one out of every five hundred
persons, beeves, asses, and sheep, (ver. 28,) and the people,
who by staying at home risked nothing, and had no fatigue,
were to give one out of fifty of each of the above to the
Levites, who were far more numerous than the priests. (ver.
30.) The booty, its division among the soldiers and people,
and the proportion given by each to the Lord and to the
Levites, will be seen at one view by the following table:--
Sheep . . . . 675,000
To soldiers . . . 337,500
To God. . . . . . 675
To people . . . . 337,500
To Levites. . . . 6,750
Beeves. . . . 72,000
To soldiers . . . 36,000
To God. . . . . . 72
To people . . . . 36,000
To Levites. . . . 720
Asses . . . . 61,000
To soldiers . . . 30,500
To God. . . . . . 61
To people . . . . 30,500
To Levites. . . . 610
Persons . . . 32,000
To soldiers . . . 16,000
To God. . . . . . 32
To people . . . . 16,000
To Levites. . . . 320
It does not appear that a single ox, sheep, or ass, was
required by Moses as his portion; or that there was any given
to him by the people; and though he had a family as well as
others, yet no provision was made for them above the common
lot of Levites!
* :29-31; 18:8,19 Mt 10:10 1Co 9:10-14 Ga 6:6 1Ti 5:17
* Heb 7:4-6,9-12
- the Levites.
* Nu 18:21-24 De 12:17-19 Lu 10:1-8 1Th 5:12,13
- kept the charge. See on ver.
* :30 Ps 134:1 Isa 56:10,11
- charge. Heb. hand. lacketh.
* 1Sa 30:18,19 Ps 72:14 Joh 18:9
- therefore brought.
The officers of the army having mustered their men, found they
had not lost a man in the contest with Midian! Penetrated
with gratitude for this most remarkable interposition of
Providence in their favor, they now offer to Jehovah the
golden jewels which they had found among the spoil, to the
amount of 16,750 shekels, equal to œ37,869 16s. 5d. of our
- an oblation.
* Ps 107:15,21,22; 116:12,17
- gotten. Heb. found. an atonement.
* Ex 30:12,15,16 Le 17:11
* Nu 7:2-6
- offering. Heb. heave-offering.
* De 20:14
- a memorial.
* Nu 16:40 Ex 30:16 Jos 4:7 Ps 18:49; 103:1,2; 115:1; 145:7 Zec 6:14
* Lu 22:19 Ac 10:4
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