Numbers 31:13-54 (42 p'sukim)
13 Moses, Eleazar the kohen, and all the princes of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands, the commanders of hundreds, those returning from the campaign of the war. 15 Moses said to them, “You let all the women live? 16 Why, they are the ones—because of Balaam’s advice—who caused Bnei-Yisrael to be unfaithful to Adonai in the matter of Peor, so that the plague was on the community of Adonai! 17 So now, kill all the boys and kill every woman who has been intimate with a man. 18 But save for yourselves every girl who has not been intimate with a man.
19 “Any of you who has killed anyone or touched the body of anyone who has been killed must stay outside the camp for seven days. You must purify yourselves, on the third and seventh days—you and your captives. 20 Also purify every item of clothing as well as every item made of leather or wood.”
21 Eleazar said to the men of the army who had gone to war, “This is the regulation of the Torah Adonai gave to Moses: 22 The gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead, 23 and anything able to pass through fire is to be put through the fire and will then be clean. It is also to be purified with the water of cleansing. Anything that cannot stand the fire is to be put through the water. 24 You are to wash your clothes also on the seventh day. You will then be clean and may then come into the camp.”
25 Adonai said to Moses saying, 26 “Count the total spoil from the captive people and animals—you, Eleazar the kohen and the princes of the fathers of the community. 27 You are to divide the spoil between those fighting in the war, taking part in the battle, and the rest of the community. 28 You are also to set apart from the men of war going into battle tribute to Adonai, one item from every 500, whether persons, cattle, donkeys or flock. 29 From their half share, take and give it to Eleazar the kohen as Adonai’s part. 30 From the half of Bnei-Yisrael, you are to take one in 50, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, flock, or any other animals, and give them to the Levites, those charged with the care of Adonai’s Tabernacle.”
31 So Moses and Eleazar the kohen did just as Adonai commanded Moses. 32 The remaining plunder taken by the people of the army was 675,000 sheep, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys, 35 and from the human spoil were 32,000 women who had never been intimate with a man.
36 The half share of those going into battle was 337,500 sheep, 37 of which Adonai’s tribute was 675, 38 36,000 cattle, of which Adonai’s tribute was 72, 39 30,500 donkeys, of which Adonai’s tribute was 61, 40 16,000 persons, of which the tribute to Adonai was 32.
41 Moses gave the tribute, Adonai’s part, to Eleazar the kohen just as Adonai had commanded Moses. 42 From the half belonging to Bnei-Yisrael, which Moses had set apart from that of the fighting men, 43 half belonging to the community was: 337,500 of the sheep, 44 36,000 cattle, 45 30,500 donkeys, 46 16,000 persons. 47 From this half, Moses took one out of very 50 persons and animals, as Adonai had commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, those charged with the care of the Tabernacle of Adonai, just as Adonai had commanded Moses.
48 Then the officers over the units of the army, the commanders over thousands and hundreds, came to Moses. 49 They said to him, “Your servants have counted the heads of the men of war under our command, and not one is missing. 50 So we have brought as an offering to Adonai the gold items each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces to atone for ourselves before Adonai.”
51 Moses and Eleazar the kohen received the gold from them, all the crafted items. 52 All of the gold presented as a gift to Adonai came to 16,750 shekels from the commanders of thousands and hundreds. 53 Each of the men of the army had taken plunder for himself. 54 Moses and Eleazar the kohen received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting as a memorial for Bnei-Yisrael before Adonai.
13 וַיֵּ֨צְא֜וּ מֹשֶׁ֨ה וְאֶלְעָזָ֧ר הַכֹּהֵ֛ן וְכָל־נְשִׂיאֵ֥י הָעֵדָ֖ה לִקְרָאתָ֑ם אֶל־מִח֖וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃
14 וַיִּקְצֹ֣ף מֹשֶׁ֔ה עַ֖ל פְּקוּדֵ֣י הֶחָ֑יִל שָׂרֵ֤י הָאֲלָפִים֙ וְשָׂרֵ֣י הַמֵּא֔וֹת הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְּבָ֥א הַמִּלְחָמָֽה׃
15 וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֖ם מֹשֶׁ֑ה הַֽחִיִּיתֶ֖ם כָּל־נְקֵבָֽה׃
16 הֵ֣ן הֵ֜נָּה הָי֨וּ לִבְנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בִּדְבַ֣ר בִּלְעָ֔ם לִמְסָר־מַ֥עַל בַּיהוָ֖ה עַל־דְּבַר־פְּע֑וֹר וַתְּהִ֥י הַמַּגֵּפָ֖ה בַּעֲדַ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃
17 וְעַתָּ֕ה הִרְג֥וּ כָל־זָכָ֖ר בַּטָּ֑ף וְכָל־אִשָּׁ֗ה יֹדַ֥עַת אִ֛ישׁ לְמִשְׁכַּ֥ב זָכָ֖ר הֲרֹֽגוּ׃
18 וְכֹל֙ הַטַּ֣ף בַּנָּשִׁ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־יָדְע֖וּ מִשְׁכַּ֣ב זָכָ֑ר הַחֲי֖וּ לָכֶֽם׃
19 וְאַתֶּ֗ם חֲנ֛וּ מִח֥וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים כֹּל֩ הֹרֵ֨ג נֶ֜פֶשׁ וְכֹ֣ל׀ נֹגֵ֣עַ בֶּֽחָלָ֗ל תִּֽתְחַטְּא֞וּ בַּיּ֤וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי֙ וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י אַתֶּ֖ם וּשְׁבִיכֶֽם׃
20 וְכָל־בֶּ֧גֶד וְכָל־כְּלִי־ע֛וֹר וְכָל־מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה עִזִּ֖ים וְכָל־כְּלִי־עֵ֑ץ תִּתְחַטָּֽאוּ׃ ס
21 וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֶלְעָזָ֤ר הַכֹּהֵן֙ אֶל־אַנְשֵׁ֣י הַצָּבָ֔א הַבָּאִ֖ים לַמִּלְחָמָ֑ה זֹ֚את חֻקַּ֣ת הַתּוֹרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃
22 אַ֥ךְ אֶת־הַזָּהָ֖ב וְאֶת־הַכָּ֑סֶף אֶֽת־הַנְּחֹ֙שֶׁת֙ אֶת־הַבַּרְזֶ֔ל אֶֽת־הַבְּדִ֖יל וְאֶת־הָעֹפָֽרֶת׃
23 כָּל־דָּבָ֞ר אֲשֶׁר־יָבֹ֣א בָאֵ֗שׁ תַּעֲבִ֤ירוּ בָאֵשׁ֙ וְטָהֵ֔ר אַ֕ךְ בְּמֵ֥י נִדָּ֖ה יִתְחַטָּ֑א וְכֹ֨ל אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹֽא־יָבֹ֛א בָּאֵ֖שׁ תַּעֲבִ֥ירוּ בַמָּֽיִם׃
24 וְכִבַּסְתֶּ֧ם בִּגְדֵיכֶ֛ם בַּיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י וּטְהַרְתֶּ֑ם וְאַחַ֖ר תָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃ פ
25 וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃
26 שָׂ֗א אֵ֣ת רֹ֤אשׁ מַלְק֙וֹחַ֙ הַשְּׁבִ֔י בָּאָדָ֖ם וּבַבְּהֵמָ֑ה אַתָּה֙ וְאֶלְעָזָ֣ר הַכֹּהֵ֔ן וְרָאשֵׁ֖י אֲב֥וֹת הָעֵדָֽה׃
27 וְחָצִ֙יתָ֙ אֶת־הַמַּלְק֔וֹחַ בֵּ֚ין תֹּפְשֵׂ֣י הַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה הַיֹּצְאִ֖ים לַצָּבָ֑א וּבֵ֖ין כָּל־הָעֵדָֽה׃
28 וַהֲרֵמֹתָ֨ מֶ֜כֶס לַֽיהוָ֗ה מֵאֵ֞ת אַנְשֵׁ֤י הַמִּלְחָמָה֙ הַיֹּצְאִ֣ים לַצָּבָ֔א אֶחָ֣ד נֶ֔פֶשׁ מֵחֲמֵ֖שׁ הַמֵּא֑וֹת מִן־הָאָדָם֙ וּמִן־הַבָּקָ֔ר וּמִן־הַחֲמֹרִ֖ים וּמִן־הַצֹּֽאן׃
29 מִמַּֽחֲצִיתָ֖ם תִּקָּ֑חוּ וְנָתַתָּ֛ה לְאֶלְעָזָ֥ר הַכֹּהֵ֖ן תְּרוּמַ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃
30 וּמִמַּחֲצִ֨ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל תִּקַּ֣ח׀ אֶחָ֣ד׀ אָחֻ֣ז מִן־הַחֲמִשִּׁ֗ים מִן־הָאָדָ֧ם מִן־הַבָּקָ֛ר מִן־הַחֲמֹרִ֥ים וּמִן־הַצֹּ֖אן מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֑ה וְנָתַתָּ֤ה אֹתָם֙ לַלְוִיִּ֔ם שֹׁמְרֵ֕י מִשְׁמֶ֖רֶת מִשְׁכַּ֥ן יְהוָֽה׃
31 וַיַּ֣עַשׂ מֹשֶׁ֔ה וְאֶלְעָזָ֖ר הַכֹּהֵ֑ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃
32 וַיְהִי֙ הַמַּלְק֔וֹחַ יֶ֣תֶר הַבָּ֔ז אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּזְז֖וּ עַ֣ם הַצָּבָ֑א צֹ֗אן שֵׁשׁ־מֵא֥וֹת אֶ֛לֶף וְשִׁבְעִ֥ים אֶ֖לֶף וַחֲמֵֽשֶׁת־אֲלָפִֽים׃
33 וּבָקָ֕ר שְׁנַ֥יִם וְשִׁבְעִ֖ים אָֽלֶף׃
34 וַחֲמֹרִ֕ים אֶחָ֥ד וְשִׁשִּׁ֖ים אָֽלֶף׃
35 וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ אָדָ֔ם מִן־הַ֨נָּשִׁ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יָדְע֖וּ מִשְׁכַּ֣ב זָכָ֑ר כָּל־נֶ֕פֶשׁ שְׁנַ֥יִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים אָֽלֶף׃
36 וַתְּהִי֙ הַֽמֶּחֱצָ֔ה חֵ֕לֶק הַיֹּצְאִ֖ים בַּצָּבָ֑א מִסְפַּ֣ר הַצֹּ֗אן שְׁלֹשׁ־מֵא֥וֹת אֶ֙לֶף֙ וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים אֶ֔לֶף וְשִׁבְעַ֥ת אֲלָפִ֖ים וַחֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵאֽוֹת׃
37 וַיְהִ֛י הַמֶּ֥כֶס לַֽיהוָ֖ה מִן־הַצֹּ֑אן שֵׁ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת חָמֵ֥שׁ וְשִׁבְעִֽים׃
38 וְהַ֨בָּקָ֔ר שִׁשָּׁ֥ה וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים אָ֑לֶף וּמִכְסָ֥ם לַיהוָ֖ה שְׁנַ֥יִם וְשִׁבְעִֽים׃
39 וַחֲמֹרִ֕ים שְׁלֹשִׁ֥ים אֶ֖לֶף וַחֲמֵ֣שׁ מֵא֑וֹת וּמִכְסָ֥ם לַֽיהוָ֖ה אֶחָ֥ד וְשִׁשִּֽׁים׃
40 וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ אָדָ֔ם שִׁשָּׁ֥ה עָשָׂ֖ר אָ֑לֶף וּמִכְסָם֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה שְׁנַ֥יִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים נָֽפֶשׁ׃
41 וַיִּתֵּ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶת־מֶ֙כֶס֙ תְּרוּמַ֣ת יְהוָ֔ה לְאֶלְעָזָ֖ר הַכֹּהֵ֑ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃
42 וּמִֽמַּחֲצִ֖ית בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֲשֶׁר֙ חָצָ֣ה מֹשֶׁ֔ה מִן־הָאֲנָשִׁ֖ים הַצֹּבְאִֽים׃
43 וַתְּהִ֛י מֶחֱצַ֥ת הָעֵדָ֖ה מִן־הַצֹּ֑אן שְׁלֹשׁ־מֵא֥וֹת אֶ֙לֶף֙ וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים אֶ֔לֶף שִׁבְעַ֥ת אֲלָפִ֖ים וַחֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵאֽוֹת׃
44 וּבָקָ֕ר שִׁשָּׁ֥ה וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֖ים אָֽלֶף׃
45 וַחֲמֹרִ֕ים שְׁלֹשִׁ֥ים אֶ֖לֶף וַחֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵאֽוֹת׃
46 וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ אָדָ֔ם שִׁשָּׁ֥ה עָשָׂ֖ר אָֽלֶף׃
47 וַיִּקַּ֨ח מֹשֶׁ֜ה מִמַּחֲצִ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֶת־הָֽאָחֻז֙ אֶחָ֣ד מִן־הַחֲמִשִּׁ֔ים מִן־הָאָדָ֖ם וּמִן־הַבְּהֵמָ֑ה וַיִּתֵּ֨ן אֹתָ֜ם לַלְוִיִּ֗ם שֹֽׁמְרֵי֙ מִשְׁמֶ֙רֶת֙ מִשְׁכַּ֣ן יְהוָ֔ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃
48 וַֽיִּקְרְבוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה הַפְּקֻדִ֕ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר לְאַלְפֵ֣י הַצָּבָ֑א שָׂרֵ֥י הָאֲלָפִ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י הַמֵּאֽוֹת׃
49 וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה עֲבָדֶ֣יךָ נָֽשְׂא֗וּ אֶת־רֹ֛אשׁ אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּיָדֵ֑נוּ וְלֹא־נִפְקַ֥ד מִמֶּ֖נּוּ אִֽישׁ׃
50 וַנַּקְרֵ֞ב אֶת־קָרְבַּ֣ן יְהוָ֗ה אִישׁ֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר מָצָ֤א כְלִֽי־זָהָב֙ אֶצְעָדָ֣ה וְצָמִ֔יד טַבַּ֖עַת עָגִ֣יל וְכוּמָ֑ז לְכַפֵּ֥ר עַל־נַפְשֹׁתֵ֖ינוּ לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃
51 וַיִּקַּ֨ח מֹשֶׁ֜ה וְאֶלְעָזָ֧ר הַכֹּהֵ֛ן אֶת־הַזָּהָ֖ב מֵֽאִתָּ֑ם כֹּ֖ל כְּלִ֥י מַעֲשֶֽׂה׃
52 וַיְהִ֣י׀ כָּל־זְהַ֣ב הַתְּרוּמָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר הֵרִ֙ימוּ֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה שִׁשָּׁ֨ה עָשָׂ֥ר אֶ֛לֶף שְׁבַע־מֵא֥וֹת וַחֲמִשִּׁ֖ים שָׁ֑קֶל מֵאֵת֙ שָׂרֵ֣י הָֽאֲלָפִ֔ים וּמֵאֵ֖ת שָׂרֵ֥י הַמֵּאֽוֹת׃
53 אַנְשֵׁי֙ הַצָּבָ֔א בָּזְז֖וּ אִ֥ישׁ לֽוֹ׃
54 וַיִּקַּ֨ח מֹשֶׁ֜ה וְאֶלְעָזָ֤ר הַכֹּהֵן֙ אֶת־הַזָּהָ֔ב מֵאֵ֛ת שָׂרֵ֥י הָאֲלָפִ֖ים וְהַמֵּא֑וֹת וַיָּבִ֤אוּ אֹתוֹ֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד זִכָּר֥וֹן לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ פ
Today's pesukim demonstrate the complete incompatibility between immorality and Israel. Moshe Rabbeinu was furious with the commanders of the army who went out to fight the Moabites, and came back with captives, booty, and the victory where not a single Jew lost his life (an amazing miracle). What we see in Moshe's reaction may seem extreme from the point of view of our culture and system of democracy and due process that requires everyone to be seen innocent until "PROVEN" guilty, and in this case Capital Punishment! Moshe condemns all women who were not virgins to be put to death with the charge that these are the women who engaged in sexual immorality with the men of Israel in order to get them to commit idolatry. If this isn't shocking enough for our modern legal system, he goes even further and commands that all the Moabite males (even children) be put to death, save all young virgin girls. How is this explained?
Delitzsch says, "Treatment of the Prisoners". - When Moses went out to the front of the camp with Eleazar and the princes of the congregation to meet the returning warriors, he was angry with the commanders, because they had left all the women alive, since it was they who had been the cause, at Balaam's instigation, of the falling away of the Israelites from Adonai to worship Peor; and he commanded all the male children to be slain, and every woman who had lain with a man, and only the young girls who had hitherto had no connection with a man to be left alive. החיל פּקוּדי , lit., the appointed persons, i.e., the officers of the army, who were then divided into princes (captains) over thousands and hundreds. - “ Which came from the battle ,” i.e., who had returned. The question in Numbers 31:15, “ Have ye left all the women alive? ” is an expression of dissatisfaction, and reproof for their having done this. למסר־מעל ... היוּ , “ they have become to the Israelites to work unfaithfulness towards Adonai,” i.e., they have induced them to commit an act of unfaithfulness towards Jehovah. The word מסר , which only occurs in this chapter, viz., in Numbers 31:5 and Numbers 31:16, appears to be used in the sense of giving, delivering, and then, like נתן , doing, making, effecting. On the fact itself, see Numbers 25:6. The object of the command to put all the male children to death, was to exterminate the whole nation, as it could not be perpetuated in the women. Of the female sex, all were to be put to death who had known the lying with a man, and therefore might possibly have been engaged in the licentious worship of Peor (Numbers 25:2), to preserve the congregation from all contamination from that abominable idolatry.
It is important to remember that originally Israel was commanded to leave Moab's land alone, however they were attacked by the Moabites. However, there was a difference between this attack and other military physical attacks. This was a "Spiritual Attack"; a demonic, satanic strategy to entice the Israelites to cut them off from their spiritual life from God. This, in God's eyes was far worse than simply a military campaign, fighting over land disputes etc... In fact it was Balak's intention to curse, which was the spiritual strategy that failed. The Moabite women were exercising "Plan B", harlotry, to get Israel to bow down to their gods; knowing full well, then and only then would the protection of Adonai be removed from them and then indeed they could be accursed!!!
This is the real reason that Moses commanded that the entire nation of Moab be "Exterminated" - not because the God of Israel wants to commit genocide; rather the nation had become so corrupt spiritually they had forfeited their right in God's eyes, to remain in existence. This goes back to the Gen. 12 blessing/curse. "I'll bless those who bless you, those who curse you (Israel), will be accursed". Moab's attempted curse came back on their own heads!
People today who accuse the Bible of being as vicious and immoral as "Shariah Law" of the radical Islamists have no idea what they are talking about and have little knowledge of the Bible and that of Godly moral justice. Unlike Islamic "Shariah Law" which permits men to treat women captured in battle as "sex slaves" and their own wives as "property" - The Bible (God's Law) does no such thing for Jewish soldiers in warfare! Jewish men have a moral code on how they are treat captured women during combat...
Deuteronomy 21:10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and Adonai your God hands them over to you and you take them captive, 11 suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire her and would take her as a wife for yourself. 12 Then you are to bring her into your house, and she must shave her head, trim her nails, 13 and remove her captive’s clothing, then sit in your house and weep for her father and mother a full month. After that, you may go to her and become her husband and she will be your wife.
No Jewish soldier was ever permitted to rape women of the opposing army or captured prisoners. No were they even allowed to be intimate with them unless they "Married" them, and even then they had to wait for the girl to mourn properly. (What kind of army of any other nation does this????).
The true way of looking at our pesukim today is NOT that our God, (the God of the Bible) is a cruel tyrant that allows for genocide of innocent people! On the contrary! These were far from innocent people and their judgement was on their own heads.
Instead, the God of Israel had mercy on the true innocent members of the Moabite nation, (the virgins) who were permitted to remain. God had mercy on them, while at the same time executing Perfect Judgement coupled with Perfect Righteousness and Perfect Mercy.
Those today who are incapable of understanding Biblical Morality should also see God's words through the prophet...
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way,and the unrighteous one his thoughts,
let him return to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My ways.”
It is a declaration of Adonai.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain and snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return there
without having watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to sow and bread to eat,
11 so My word will be that goes out from My mouth.
It will not return to Me in vain,
but will accomplish what I intend,
and will succeed in what I sent it for.
And that of Shaliach Shimon Kefa:
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Thank you Adonai for your mercy and compassion to us all, and that of the whole World!