Numbers 311 The Midianites are spoiled, and Balaam slain.13 Moses is wroth with the officers, for saving the women alive.19 How the soldiers, with their captives and spoil, are to be purified.25 The proportion in which the prey is to be divided.48 The voluntary oblation unto the treasury of the Lord. 1 Avenge.3; 25:17,18; De 32:35; Jud 16:24,28-30; Ps 94:1-3; Isa 1:24Na 1:2; Lu 21:22; Ro 12:19; 13:4; 1Th 4:6; Heb 10:30; Re 6:10Re 18:20; 19:2the Midianites.25:6,14-18; Ge 25:1-4; Ex 2:16gathered.27:13; Ge 15:15; 25:8,17; Jud 2:10; Ac 13:36 Arm some.Ex 17:9-13avenge 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. 25:11,13; Ex 17:16; Le 26:25; Jud 5:2,23; 2Ki 9:7; 10:30; Jer 46:10Jer 50:28 Of every tribe a thousand. Heb. A thousand of a tribe, athousand of a tribe. a thousand. Le 26:8; Jud 7:2; 1Sa 14:6 5 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. Phinehas.25:7-13the holy instruments.14:44; 33:20-22; Ex 25:9; Jos 6:4-6,13-15; 1Sa 4:4,5,17; 14:181Sa 23:9; 2Sa 11:11to blow.10:8,9; 2Ch 13:12-15 all.De 20:13,14; Jud 21:11; 1Sa 27:9; 1Ki 11:15,16the males.Jud 6:1,2,33 the kings.22:4; Jos 13:21,22Zur.25:15,18Balaam.22:10; 24:25; Jos 13:22; Ps 9:16; 10:2; 1Ti 6:9,10; 2Pe 2:15Jude 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.22:1 went forth.Ge 14:17; 1Sa 15:12; 30:21without the camp.12,22-24; 5:2; 19:11 wroth.12:3; Ex 32:19,22; Le 10:16; 1Sa 15:13,14; 1Ki 20:42; 2Ki 13:19Eph 4:26battle. Heb. host of war. De 2:34; 20:13,16-18; Jos 6:21; 8:25; 10:40; 11:14; 1Sa 15:3Ps 137:8,9; Jer 48:10; Eze 9:6 these caused.24:14; 25:1-3; Pr 23:27; Ec 7:26; 2Pe 2:15; Re 2:14in the matter.25:18; De 4:3; Jos 22:17and there.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 21:11,12him. 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 abide.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. 5:2; 19:11-22; 1Ch 22:8 raiment.19:14-16,22; Ge 35:2; Ex 19:10that is made. Heb. instrument, or, vessel. 30:16 22 abide.Isa 43:2; Zec 13:9; Mal 2:2,3; Mt 3:11; 1Co 3:13; 1Pe 1:7; 4:12Re 3:18it shall be purified.8:7; 19:9,17ye shall make.Le 11:32; 15:17; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5,6; 1Pe 3:21 19:19; Le 11:25; 14:9; 15:13 25 that was taken. Heb. of the captivity.26 two parts.Jos 22:8; 1Sa 30:4,24,25; Ps 68:12 levy.Ge 14:20; Jos 6:19,24; 2Sa 8:11,12; 1Ch 18:11; 26:26,27; Pr 3:9,10Isa 18:7; 23:18; 60:9; Mt 22:21one soul.30,47; 18:26 an heave.18:26; Ex 29:27; De 12:12,19 one portion.42-47flocks, or, goats. and give.28; 18:24-28; 1Co 9:13,14keep the.3:7,8,25,31,36-39; 18:1-5,23; 1Ch 9:27-29; 23:32; 26:20-27Ac 20:28; 1Co 4:2; Col 4:17; Heb 13:17 31 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! 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Eleazar.29-31; 18:8,19; Mt 10:10; 1Co 9:10-14; Ga 6:6; 1Ti 5:17Heb 7:4-6,9-12 42 43 44 45 46 the Levites.18:21-24; De 12:17-19; Lu 10:1-8; 1Th 5:12,13kept the charge.30; Ps 134:1; Isa 56:10,11 48 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 favour, they now offer to Jehovah the golden jewels which they had found among the spoil, to the amount of 16,750 shekels, equal to £37,869 16s. 5d. of our money. an oblation.Ps 107:15,21,22; 116:12,17gotten. Heb. found. an atonement.Ex 30:12,15,16; Le 17:11 7:2-6 offering. Heb. heave-offering.52 De 20:14 a memorial.16:40; Ex 30:16; Jos 4:7; Ps 18:49; 103:1,2; 115:1; 145:7; Zec 6:14Lu 22:19; Ac 10:4
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