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13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of - the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp,
to congratulate their victory, and to put them in mind of cleans14 ing themselves. And Moses was wroth with the officers of
the host, [with] the captains over thousands, and captains 15 over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses 16 said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold,
these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of
Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the 17 LORD.* Now therefore kill every male among the little ones,
and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with 18 him. But all the women children, that have not known a man
by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves, io be your ser. vants, or even wives, if they learn the knowledge of God, and become proselytes ; which might be the case, as they were 80 young. And do ye abide without the camp seven days : whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched
any stain, purify [both) yourselves and your captives, on the 20 third day, and on the seventh day.t And purify all (your)
'raiment, and all that is made of skins, and all work of goats' [hair,) and all things made of wood, of the spoils which you
have taken. (See ch. xix. 14, 16, 22.) 21 And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which
went to the battle, This [is] the ordinance of the law which 22 the LORD commanded Moses ; Only the gold, and the silver, 23 the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead, Every thing that
may abide the fire, ye shall make [it] go through the fire, and it shall be clean : nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation ; and all that abideth not the fire, ye
shall make go through the water ; that is, what would bear • the fire, was to pass through it, and other things through the 24 water. This was common among the heathen also. And ye · shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and ye shall be
clean, and afterward ye shall come into the camp. 25 26 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the
sum of the prey that was taken, [both] of man and of beast,
thou and Eleazar the priest, and the chief fathers of the con37 gregation : And divide the prey into two parts ; between
them that took the war upon them, who went out to bat38 tle, and between all the congregation. And levy a tribute
* Probably most of these very persons had been guilty, and, if they had been spared, might have been accessary to the sin and ruin of Israel.
of Though the war was just and lawful, they contracted ceremonial pollution by shedding blood, and touching the dead; and purification was a practice common among heathen nations, on their return from war.
I The congregation were to have a share, because the warriors went out in their name, and to make some reparation for what they had suffered by the Midianites. This was done by particular directions, and so all contosts were prevented.
unto the LORD of the men of war, which went out to battle :
one soul of five hundred, [both] of the persons and of the 29 beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep. Take [it] of their
half, and give [it] unto Eleazar the priest, (for] an heave 30 offering of the LORD. And of the children of Israel's half,
thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD, that God might have his share ; that is, a part out of fifty, from the congregation's share, for the
Levites, and one out of five hundred of the soldiers', for the 31 priests. And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD 32 commanded Moses. And the booty [being] the rest of the
prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred 33 thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep. And 34 threescore and twelve thousand beeves, And threescore and 35 one thousand asses, And thirty and two thousand persons in
all, of women that had not known man by lying with him. 36 And the half (which was] the portion of them that went out
to war, was in number three hundred thousand and seven and 37 thirty thousand and five hundred sheep ; And the LORD's
tribute of the sheep was six hundred and threescore and fifa 38 teen. And the beeves [were] thirty and six thousand, of 39 which the LORD's tribute [was] threescore and twelve. And
the asses were thirty thousand and five hundred, of which 40 the Lord's tribute [was] threescore and one. And the per.
sons (were] sixteen thousand, of which the LORD's tribute 41 (was] thirty and two persons. And Moses gave the tribute
[which was] the Lord's heave offering, unto Eleazar the 42 priest, as the LORD commanded Moses. And of the chil. 43 dren of Israel's half, which Moses divided from the men
that warred, (Now the half (that pertained unto) the congre
gation, was three hundred thousand and thirty thousand 44 [and] seven thousand and five hundred sheep, And thirty and 45 six thousand beeves, And thirty thousand asses and five hun46 47 dred, And sixteen thousand persons.) Even of the chile
dren of Israel's half, Moses took one portion of fifty, [both] of man and of beast, and gave them unto the Levites, which kept the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD ; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And the officers which (were] over thousands of the host, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came 49 near unto Moses : And they said unto Moses, Thy servants
have taken the sum of the men of war which (are] under our 50 charge, and there lacketh not one man of us.* We have
* The reason they gave here was very remarkable, they had not lost one man. This would be a great encouragement to them in their wars against the Canaanites.
therefore brought an oblation for the LORD, what every man hath gotten, or found, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our
souls before the LORD ; for any instance of misconduct, espec51 ially in sparing the women, &c. And Moses and Eleazar the
priest took the gold of them, [even] all wrought jewels. 52 And all the gold of the offering that they offered up to the
LORD, of the captains of thousands, and of the captains of
hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty -53 shekels, more than thirty thousand pounds. ([For] the men - of war had taken spoil every man for himself, beside the cat
tle abovementioned, which were brought to the common stock.) 54 And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the cap
tains of thousands, and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, [for] a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, of God's goodness to them, and their thankfulness to him.
.. TT E learn hence, that it is our duty to avoid all occa
VV. sion of sin, and temptations to it. This is absolutely necessary, if we desire to maintain our integrity, and keep ourselves pure. These abandoned women were dangerous guests ; and therefore these were but necessary and wise ordinances which appointed their execution. May we keep at the remotest distance from sin, and abstain from every appearance of evil. We have need to pray, Lord, lead us not into temptation ; and if we sincerely desire this, we must keep a constant watch over ourselves, and resolutely avoid those places and that company, which may tend to stir up the corruptions of the heart. Let us therefore watch and pray. Moses was à faithful guardian of Israel, was afraid they should be led away and enticed by their own lusts, if they had such companions as the Midianitish women. The wisdom and duty of parents, and others who have the care of youth, is to keep them from those who would be a snare to them, and lead them to sin.
2. It is fit, when God gives us success, that we should pay our thankful acknowledgments to him ; not only praise him with our lips, which is very proper, and speak well of his name, but honour him with our substance. It is a maxim of the New Testament, and it would be well if it was regarded, that every man should lay by in store as God hath prospered him, a fund for charit. able uses ; not to be alienated to any other purposes, but kept as a memorial of God's mercy, and in gratitude for his goodness. It is peculiarly proper in us, and pleasing to God, his ministers,
and people, when these sacrifices are offered freely and gener ously, and without constraint, for God loveth the cheerful giver ; and when we are ready to distribute and willing to communicate, with such sacrifices he is well pleased.
CHAP. XXXII. We have here the proposal of the Reubenites and Gadites to settle - on this side Jordan ; Moses is displeased at it ; they obviate his
objections, and he grants their request.. N O W the children of Reuben and the children of Gad
I had a very great multitude of cattle : and when they saw the land of Jazer, which they had just taken from the Amorites, through which the river Arnon ran, and the land of Gilead, a fruitful mountain that had many cities upon it, Ba
shan in particular, and was a very rich and pleasant country, % that, behold, the place (was] a place for cattle. The chil
dren of Gad, and the children of Reuben came and spake unto
Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the 3 congregation, saying, Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and
Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, 4 and Beon ; (Even) the country which the LORD smote bea · fore the congregation of Israel, [is] a land for cattle, and thy 5 servants have cattle. Wherefore, said they, if we have found
grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for
a possession, [and] bring us not over Jordan.* 6 And Moses said unto the children of Gad, and to the
children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and my shall ye sit here ? And wherefore discourage ye the heart
of the children of Israel from going over into the land 8 which the LORD hath given them? Thus did your fathers 9 when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land. For
when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel;
that they should not go into the land which the LORD had 10 given them. And the Lord's anger was kindled the same 11 time, and he sware, saying, Surely none of the men that
came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob ; because they have not wholly fol
• This seems to have been an irregular proposal, which arose from too great a love of themselves, from a want of regard to the authority of JEHOVAH, who had commanded the land to be divided by lot, and showed a distrust of the wisdom and power of God. Moses plainly thought it proceeded from a bad principle, either covetousness, or the love of case or cowardice.
19 lowed me : Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh' the Ken
ezite, and Joshua the son of Nun : for they have wholly 13 followed the LORD. And the LORD's anger was kindled
against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was consumed. And, behold, ye are risen up in your father's stead, an increase of sinful men to aug. ment yet the fierce anger of the LORD toward Israel. Moses thought their proposal would discourage their brethren, and introduce confusion by other requests of a similar nature ; he sets before them the conduct of their fathers in distrusting God, and its dreadful punishment ; and charges them with acting like
their fathers, which would again bring down the anger of God 15 upon Israel. For if ye turn away from after him, as your
fathers did, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness, and ye shall destroy all this people, occasion their destruction,
by drawing them into sin. 16 . And they came near unto him, and said, We will build -- sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones ;
will repair those cities which are ruined, that our little ones and 17 cattle may dwell safely. But we ourselves, 80 many of us as are
needful, will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place : and our little
ones shall dwell in the fenced cities, because of the inhabitants 18 of the land.* We will not return unto our houses, until the
children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance : 19 For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or
forward ; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side
Jordan eastward.t 20 And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye
will go armed before the Lord to war, that is, before the ark, in 21 your usual place, And will go all of you, as many as are nec.
essary for the expedition, armed over Jordan before the
LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, 22 And the land be subdued before the LORD : then afterward
ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before * Israel ; that is, God will approve of it, and so will Israel ; and 23 this land shall be your possession before the LORD. But
if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD : • and be sure your sin will find you out, the punishment of it will 24 overtake you one way or other. Build ye cities for your little
ones, and folds for your sheep ; and do that which hath pro.
Accordingly, forty thousand went with them ; their whole number of fighting met was above an hundred thousand.
t It does not appear that this was their first intention, but upon consulting together they came to this resolution, to go over and fight with their brethren till they had conquered, and to have no share of their land, but be content with their own on this side Jordan.