The LORD said to Moses,
“Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”
So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites so that they may carry out the LORD’s vengeance on them.
Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.”
So twelve thousand men armed for battle, a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel.
Moses sent them into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling.
They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man.
Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.
The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.
They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.
They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,
and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.
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 army—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 advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people.
Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,
but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
“Anyone who has killed someone or touched someone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves and your captives.
Purify every garment as well as everything made of leather, goat hair or wood.”
Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone into battle, “This is what is required by the law that the LORD gave Moses:
Gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead
and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing. And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water.
On the seventh day wash your clothes and you will be clean. Then you may come into the camp.”