Numbers 31:1–18

Vengeance on the Midianites

31 The Lord said to Moses, “Take vengeance on the Midianitesx for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.y

So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites so that they may carry out the Lord’s vengeancez on them. Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.” So twelve thousand men armed for battle,a a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel. Moses sent them into battle,b a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehasc son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuaryd and the trumpetse for signaling.

They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses,f and killed every man.g Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Rebah—the five kings of Midian.i They also killed Balaam son of Beorj with the sword.k The Israelites captured the Midianite womenl and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.m 10 They burnedn all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.o 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,p 12 and brought the captives, spoilsq and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assemblyr at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.s

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the armyt—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s adviceu and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident,v so that a plaguew struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,x 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

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