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    NUMBERS 31

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    1 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. VERSE 1 * :1 VERSE 2 - Avenge. * :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 - gathered. * Nu 27:13 Ge 15:15; 25:8,17 Jud 2:10 Ac 13:36 VERSE 3 - 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 VERSE 4 - 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 VERSE 5 VERSE 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. - Phinehas. * 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 VERSE 7 - all. * De 20:13,14 Jud 21:11 1Sa 27:9 1Ki 11:15,16 - the males. * Jud 6:1,2,33 VERSE 8 - the kings. * Nu 22:4 Jos 13:21,22 - Zur. * Nu 25:15,18 - Balaam. * 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 VERSE 9 * :15,16 De 20:14 2Ch 28:5,8-10 VERSE 10 * Jos 6:24 1Sa 30:1 1Ki 9:16 Isa 1:7 Re 18:8 VERSE 11 * De 20:14 Jos 8:2 VERSE 12 - the plains of Moab. See on ch. * Nu 22:1 VERSE 13 - went forth. * Ge 14:17 1Sa 15:12; 30:21 - without the camp. * :12,22-24; 5:2; 19:11 VERSE 14 - wroth. * 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. VERSE 15 * 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 VERSE 16 - 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 VERSE 17 - 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. VERSE 18 - 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 VERSE 19 - 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. * Nu 5:2; 19:11-22 1Ch 22:8 VERSE 20 - raiment. * Nu 19:14-16,22 Ge 35:2 Ex 19:10 - that is made. Heb. instrument, or, vessel. VERSE 21 - See on ch. * Nu 30:16 VERSE 22 VERSE 23 - abide. * 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 VERSE 24 * Nu 19:19 Le 11:25; 14:9; 15:13 VERSE 25 VERSE 26 - that was taken. Heb. of the captivity. * :26 VERSE 27 - two parts. * Jos 22:8 1Sa 30:4,24,25 Ps 68:12 VERSE 28 - levy. * 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 VERSE 29 - an heave. * Nu 18:26 Ex 29:27 De 12:12,19 VERSE 30 - one portion. See ver. * :42-47 - 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 VERSE 31 VERSE 32 - 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 VERSE 33 * :33 VERSE 34 * :34 VERSE 35 * :35 VERSE 36 * :36 VERSE 37 * :37 VERSE 38 * :38 VERSE 39 * :39 VERSE 40 VERSE 41 - Eleazar. * :29-31; 18:8,19 Mt 10:10 1Co 9:10-14 Ga 6:6 1Ti 5:17 * Heb 7:4-6,9-12 VERSE 42 * :42 VERSE 43 * :43 VERSE 44 * :44 VERSE 45 * :45 VERSE 46 VERSE 47 - 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 VERSE 48 VERSE 49 - charge. Heb. hand. lacketh. * 1Sa 30:18,19 Ps 72:14 Joh 18:9 VERSE 50 - 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 37,869 16s. 5d. of our money. - an oblation. * Ps 107:15,21,22; 116:12,17 - gotten. Heb. found. an atonement. * Ex 30:12,15,16 Le 17:11 VERSE 51 * Nu 7:2-6 VERSE 52 - offering. Heb. heave-offering. * :52 VERSE 53 * De 20:14 VERSE 54 - 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 GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - TREASURY OF SCRIPTURE KNOWLEDGE INDEX

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