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Numbers 31:7

7 They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man.

Read Numbers 31:7 Using Other Translations

And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
They warred against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every male.
They attacked Midian as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men.

What does Numbers 31:7 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Numbers 31:7

And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord
commanded Moses
Whether the Midianites came out against them with an army, and there was a pitched battle between them, is not certain; however the Israelites committed acts of hostility upon them, by entering their cities, plundering their houses, and slaying the inhabitants of them; the Targum of Jonathan is,

``they warred against Midian, and surrounded it in the three corners of it, as the Lord commanded Moses;''

for, as Maimonides F2 observes from tradition,

``when they besiege a city to take it, they do not surround it in the four corners of it, but in the three corners of it, and leave a place to flee out, that everyone that would might escape for his life, as it is said, "and they warred against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses"; by report, or from tradition, it is learnt that so he commanded him;''

that is, in such a manner to besiege a city; but for this there is only tradition, for it is not mentioned among the rules after directed to in such a case, ( Deuteronomy 20:10-20 ) ,

and they slew all the males;
which fell into their hands; for, no doubt, there were multitudes that made their escape, since in later times we read of the Midianites, as a very powerful people, and very distressing to Israel, ( Judges 6:1 Judges 6:2 ) these, as Aben Ezra observes, they slew, were such as were grown up, for as for their little ones, them they spared and carried captive, ( Numbers 31:9 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F2 Hilchot Melacim, c. 6. sect. 7.
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