The LORD said to Moses,
"Take vengeance on the Midianites1 for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.2"
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.
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.
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.
They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses,9 and killed every man.108
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.149
The Israelites captured the Midianite women15 and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.1610
They burned17 all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.1811
They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,1912
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.a2213
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.
"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.
Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,2718
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.
Purify every garment31 as well as everything made of leather, goat hair or wood.32"
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:
Gold, silver, bronze, iron,34 tin, lead
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.
On the seventh day wash your clothes and you will be clean.37 Then you may come into the camp.38"