The LORD said to Moses,
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"Take vengeance on the Midianites1 for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.2"
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So Moses said to the people, "Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the LORD's vengeance3 on them.
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Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel."
So twelve thousand men armed for battle,4 a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel.
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Moses sent them into battle,5 a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas6 son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary7 and the trumpets8 for signaling.
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They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses,9 and killed every man.10
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Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba11--the five kings of Midian.12 They also killed Balaam son of Beor13 with the sword.14
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The Israelites captured the Midianite women15 and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.16
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They burned17 all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.18
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They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,19
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and brought the captives, spoils20 and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly21 at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.22
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Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp.
Moses was angry with the officers of the army23--the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds--who returned from the battle.
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"Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them.
"They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice24 and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor,25 so that a plague26 struck the LORD's people.
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Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,27
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but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
"All of you who have killed anyone or touched anyone who was killed28 must stay outside the camp seven days.29 On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves30 and your captives.
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Purify every garment31 as well as everything made of leather, goat hair or wood.32"
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Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone into battle,33 "This is the requirement of the law that the LORD gave Moses:
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Gold, silver, bronze, iron,34 tin, lead
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and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire,35 and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing.36 And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water.
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On the seventh day wash your clothes and you will be clean.37 Then you may come into the camp.38"
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The LORD said to Moses,
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"You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads39 of the community are to count all the people40 and animals that were captured.41
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Divide42 the spoils between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community.
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From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the LORD 43 one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep or goats.
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Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the LORD's part.
From the Israelites' half, select one out of every fifty, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the LORD's tabernacle.44"
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So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.
The plunder remaining from the spoils45 that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep,
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and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.
The half share of those who fought in the battle was:
of which the tribute for the LORD 46 was 675;
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36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the LORD was 72;
30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the LORD was 61;
16,000 people, of which the tribute for the LORD was 32.
Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the LORD's part,47 as the LORD commanded Moses.48
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The half belonging to the Israelites, which Moses set apart from that of the fighting men--
the community's half--was 337,500 sheep,
and 16,000 people.
From the Israelites' half, Moses selected one out of every fifty persons and animals, as the LORD commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, who were responsible for the care of the LORD's tabernacle.
Then the officers49 who were over the units of the army--the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds--went to Moses
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and said to him, "Your servants have counted50 the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing.51
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So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired--armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces--to make atonement for ourselves52 before the LORD."
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Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted from them the gold--all the crafted articles.
All the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds that Moses and Eleazar presented as a gift to the LORD weighed 16,750 shekels.
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Each soldier had taken plunder53 for himself.
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Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting54 as a memorial55 for the Israelites before the LORD.
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