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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 31

Introduction

Overview

Numbers 31:1, The Midianites are spoiled, and Balaam slain; Numbers 31:13, Moses is wroth with the officers, for saving the women alive; Numbers 31:19, How the soldiers, with their captives and spoil, are to be purified; Numbers 31:25, The proportion in which the prey is to be divided; Numbers 31:48, The voluntary oblation unto the treasury of the Lord.

Verse 1

Reciprocal: Numbers 10:31 - forasmuch 1 Kings 8:44 - whithersoever

Verse 2

Avenge: Numbers 31:3, Numbers 25:17, Numbers 25:18, Deuteronomy 32:35, Judges 16:24, Judges 16:28-Amos :, Psalms 94:1-Leviticus :, Isaiah 1:24, Nahum 1:2, Luke 21:22, Romans 12:19, Romans 13:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:6, Hebrews 10:30, Revelation 6:10, Revelation 18:20, Revelation 19:2

the Midianites: Numbers 25:6, Numbers 25:14-Job :, Genesis 25:1-Numbers :, Exodus 2:16

gathered: Numbers 27:13, Genesis 15:15, Genesis 25:8, Genesis 25:17, Judges 2:10, Acts 13:36

Reciprocal: Genesis 25:2 - Midian Genesis 37:28 - Midianites Numbers 20:24 - gathered Joshua 10:13 - until 1 Kings 11:18 - Midian 1 Chronicles 1:32 - Midian 2 Chronicles 6:34 - by the way Psalms 149:7 - General Habakkuk 3:7 - Midian

Verse 3

Arm some: Exodus 17:9-1 Chronicles :

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 - Numbers 31:2, 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. Numbers 25:11, Numbers 25:13, Exodus 17:16, Leviticus 26:25, Judges 5:2, Judges 5:23, 2 Kings 9:7, 2 Kings 10:30, Jeremiah 46:10, Jeremiah 50:28

Reciprocal: Genesis 37:28 - Midianites Psalms 149:7 - General

Verse 4

Of every tribe a thousand: Heb. A thousand of a tribe, a thousand of a tribe

a thousand: Leviticus 26:8, Judges 7:2, 1 Samuel 14:6

Reciprocal: Exodus 17:9 - Choose

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: Numbers 25:7-1 Chronicles :

the holy instruments: Numbers 14:44, Numbers 33:20-Song of Solomon :, Exodus 25:9, Joshua 6:4-:, Joshua 6:13-Ezra :, 1 Samuel 4:4, 1 Samuel 4:5, 1 Samuel 4:17, 1 Samuel 14:18, 1 Samuel 23:9, 2 Samuel 11:11

to blow: Numbers 10:8, Numbers 10:9, 2 Chronicles 13:12-Ezra :

Reciprocal: Exodus 6:25 - Phinehas Deuteronomy 20:2 - General 1 Samuel 4:3 - Let us 1 Chronicles 6:4 - Phinehas 1 Chronicles 9:20 - Phinehas Ezra 7:5 - Phinehas

Verse 7

all: Deuteronomy 20:13, Deuteronomy 20:14, Judges 21:11, 1 Samuel 27:9, 1 Kings 11:15, 1 Kings 11:16

the males: Judges 6:1, Judges 6:2, Judges 6:33

Reciprocal: Genesis 34:25 - Simeon Numbers 24:14 - I will advertise Psalms 83:9 - as unto

Verse 8

the kings: Numbers 22:4, Joshua 13:21, Joshua 13:22

Zur: Numbers 25:15, Numbers 25:18

Balaam: Numbers 22:10, Numbers 24:25, Joshua 13:22, Psalms 9:16, Psalms 10:2, 1 Timothy 6:9, 1 Timothy 6:10, 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, Revelation 2:14, Revelation 19:20

Reciprocal: Genesis 25:2 - Midian Genesis 37:28 - Midianites 1 Kings 22:25 - Behold Psalms 68:12 - Kings Psalms 83:9 - as unto Micah 6:5 - Balaam Matthew 7:22 - have we

Verse 9

Numbers 31:15, Numbers 31:16, Deuteronomy 20:14, 2 Chronicles 28:5, 2 Chronicles 28:8-2 Samuel :

Reciprocal: Genesis 37:28 - Midianites Numbers 25:6 - a Midianitish Deuteronomy 2:35 - General Joshua 11:14 - the spoil 1 Samuel 30:20 - This is David's spoil 2 Chronicles 14:15 - carried away Psalms 68:12 - Kings

Verse 10

Joshua 6:24, 1 Samuel 30:1, 1 Kings 9:16, Isaiah 1:7, Revelation 18:8

Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 6:54 - castles

Verse 11

Deuteronomy 20:14, Joshua 8:2

Verse 12

the plains of Moab: Numbers 22:1

Reciprocal: Numbers 26:3 - General Numbers 31:13 - without the camp Numbers 35:1 - General Deuteronomy 20:14 - the women

Verse 13

went forth: Genesis 14:17, 1 Samuel 15:12, 1 Samuel 30:21

without the camp: Numbers 31:12, Numbers 31:22-Jeremiah :, Numbers 5:2, Numbers 19:11

Verse 14

wroth: Numbers 12:3, Exodus 32:19, Exodus 32:22, Leviticus 10:16, 1 Samuel 15:13, 1 Samuel 15:14, 1 Kings 20:42, 2 Kings 13:19, Ephesians 4:26

battle: Heb. host of war

Reciprocal: Genesis 41:34 - officers Deuteronomy 1:15 - captains over thousands Deuteronomy 20:5 - the officers 1 Chronicles 15:25 - captains Jeremiah 48:10 - Cursed Jeremiah 50:21 - and do

Verse 15

Deuteronomy 2:34, Deuteronomy 20:13, Deuteronomy 20:16-Job :, Joshua 6:21, Joshua 8:25, Joshua 10:40, Joshua 11:14, 1 Samuel 15:3, Psalms 137:8, Psalms 137:9, Jeremiah 48:10, Ezekiel 9:6

Reciprocal: Numbers 25:1 - the people Numbers 25:18 - vex you Numbers 31:9 - General 2 Chronicles 20:25 - precious jewels Proverbs 28:10 - causeth

Verse 16

these caused: Numbers 24:14, Numbers 25:1-Leviticus :, Proverbs 23:27, Ecclesiastes 7:26, 2 Peter 2:15, Revelation 2:14

in the matter: Numbers 25:18, Deuteronomy 4:3, Joshua 22:17

and there: Numbers 25:9

Reciprocal: Numbers 31:9 - General Psalms 106:28 - joined Proverbs 7:13 - she Proverbs 28:10 - causeth Micah 6:5 - Balak James 3:6 - a world

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?" Judges 21:11, Judges 21:12

him: Heb. a male

Reciprocal: Genesis 4:1 - knew Genesis 24:16 - known Genesis 34:25 - Simeon Genesis 34:28 - General Numbers 31:32 - the booty Deuteronomy 20:13 - thou shalt smite 1 Samuel 15:3 - slay 1 Kings 11:15 - every 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 Deuteronomy 21:10-2 Chronicles :, 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." Leviticus 25:44, Deuteronomy 20:14, Deuteronomy 21:10-2 Chronicles :, 2 Chronicles 28:8-2 Samuel :, Isaiah 14:2

Reciprocal: Genesis 24:16 - known Deuteronomy 20:13 - thou shalt smite Deuteronomy 21:11 - that Judges 21:11 - every male

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. Numbers 5:2, Numbers 19:11-Song of Solomon :, 1 Chronicles 22:8

Reciprocal: Genesis 22:4 - third Numbers 19:12 - third day Numbers 19:16 - toucheth Numbers 19:19 - on the seventh day he Joshua 6:23 - left them

Verse 20

raiment: Numbers 19:14-Nehemiah :, Numbers 19:22, Genesis 35:2, Exodus 19:10

that is made: Heb. instrument, or, vessel

Reciprocal: Exodus 26:7 - goats' hair Numbers 8:7 - wash their Numbers 19:15 - General 1 Chronicles 22:8 - Thou hast shed

Verse 21

Numbers 30:16

Reciprocal: Numbers 19:2 - the ordinance

Verse 22

Reciprocal: Genesis 4:22 - brass Numbers 31:13 - without the camp Joshua 8:27 - the cattle Job 28:2 - Iron

Verse 23

abide: Isaiah 43:2, Zechariah 13:9, Malachi 2:2, Malachi 2:3, Matthew 3:11, 1 Corinthians 3:13, 1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 4:12, Revelation 3:18

it shall be purified: Numbers 8:7, Numbers 19:9, Numbers 19:17

ye shall make: Leviticus 11:32, Leviticus 15:17, Ephesians 5:26, Titus 3:5, Titus 3:6, 1 Peter 3:21

Verse 24

Numbers 19:19, Leviticus 11:25, Leviticus 14:9, Leviticus 15:13

Reciprocal: Genesis 35:2 - clean Exodus 19:10 - wash Numbers 19:9 - a water of separation 1 Chronicles 22:8 - Thou hast shed

Verse 26

that was taken: Heb. of the captivity, Numbers 31:26

Reciprocal: Joshua 8:27 - the cattle

Verse 27

two parts: Joshua 22:8, 1 Samuel 30:4, 1 Samuel 30:24, 1 Samuel 30:25, Psalms 68:12

Verse 28

levy: Genesis 14:20, Joshua 6:19, Joshua 6:24, 2 Samuel 8:11, 2 Samuel 8:12, 1 Chronicles 18:11, 1 Chronicles 26:26, 1 Chronicles 26:27, Proverbs 3:9, Proverbs 3:10, Isaiah 18:7, Isaiah 23:18, Isaiah 60:9, Matthew 22:21

one soul: Numbers 31:30, Numbers 31:47, Numbers 18:26

Reciprocal: Numbers 31:32 - the booty Deuteronomy 16:10 - a tribute 2 Chronicles 15:11 - offered

Verse 29

an heave: Numbers 18:26, Exodus 29:27, Deuteronomy 12:12, Deuteronomy 12:19

Reciprocal: Exodus 29:28 - is an heave Leviticus 7:14 - an heave Numbers 18:19 - the heave Numbers 31:41 - Eleazar 2 Chronicles 15:11 - offered

Verse 30

one portion: Numbers 31:42-2 Corinthians :

flocks: or, goats

and give: Numbers 31:28, Numbers 18:24-Hosea :, 1 Corinthians 9:13, 1 Corinthians 9:14

keep the: Numbers 3:7, Numbers 3:8, Numbers 3:25, Numbers 3:31, Numbers 3:36-Malachi :, Numbers 18:1-Deuteronomy :, Numbers 18:23, 1 Chronicles 9:27-Joel :, 1 Chronicles 23:32, 1 Chronicles 26:20-Daniel :, Acts 20:28, 1 Corinthians 4:2, Colossians 4:17, Hebrews 13:17

Reciprocal: Numbers 1:53 - and the Numbers 8:26 - to keep Numbers 31:32 - the booty Numbers 31:47 - kept the charge 1 Chronicles 26:26 - over all the treasures 2 Chronicles 14:15 - carried away

Verse 31

Reciprocal: Ezra 7:5 - Eleazar

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 - Numbers 31:17. 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 acknowledgment 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 - Numbers 31:28, 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 - Numbers 31:30. 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:

Offering Types To Soldiers To God To People To Levites Total Offerings Sheep 337,500 675 337,500 6,750 675,000 Beeves 36,000 72 36,000 720 72,000 Asses 30,500 61 30,500 610 61,000 Persons 16,000 32 16,000 320 32,000

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!

Reciprocal: Job 1:3 - seven@

Verse 35

Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 20:14 - the women 1 Chronicles 5:21 - men

Verse 37

Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 16:10 - a tribute

Verse 41

Eleazar: Numbers 31:29-Obadiah :, Numbers 18:8, Numbers 18:19, Matthew 10:10, 1 Corinthians 9:10-2 Chronicles :, Galatians 6:6, 1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 7:4-Joshua :, Hebrews 7:9-2 Kings :

Reciprocal: Exodus 29:28 - is an heave Leviticus 7:14 - an heave

Verse 42

Reciprocal: Numbers 31:30 - one portion

Verse 47

the Levites: Numbers 18:21-Jeremiah :, Deuteronomy 12:17-Psalms :, Luke 10:1-Ruth :, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:13

kept the charge: Numbers 31:30, Psalms 134:1, Isaiah 56:10, Isaiah 56:11

Reciprocal: Numbers 1:53 - and the Numbers 31:28 - one soul

Verse 48

Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 20:5 - the officers

Verse 49

charge: Heb. hand

lacketh: 1 Samuel 30:18, 1 Samuel 30:19, Psalms 72:14, John 18:9

Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 30:23 - which the Lord 2 Samuel 17:22 - there lacked Jeremiah 23:4 - neither

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 favour, they now offer to Jehovah the golden jewels which they had found among the spoil, to the amount of 16,750 shekels, equal to,869, 16s. 5d. of our money.

an oblation: Psalms 107:15, Psalms 107:21, Psalms 107:22, Psalms 116:12, Psalms 116:17

gotten: Heb. found

an atonement: Exodus 30:12, Exodus 30:15, Exodus 30:16, Leviticus 17:11

Reciprocal: Exodus 35:22 - bracelets 2 Chronicles 15:11 - offered Proverbs 3:9 - General Song of Solomon 1:10 - thy neck Isaiah 3:19 - the bracelets Ezekiel 16:11 - General

Verse 51

Numbers 7:2-Joshua :

Verse 52

offering: Heb. heave-offering, Numbers 31:52

Verse 53

Deuteronomy 20:14

Verse 54

a memorial: Numbers 16:40, Exodus 30:16, Joshua 4:7, Psalms 18:49, Psalms 103:1, Psalms 103:2, Psalms 115:1, Psalms 145:7, Zechariah 6:14, Luke 22:19, Acts 10:4

Reciprocal: Exodus 28:12 - for a memorial Ezra 7:5 - Eleazar Psalms 68:12 - Kings Mark 14:9 - a memorial

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 31". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsk/numbers-31.html.