1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Avenge the children of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”
3 Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. 4 You shall send one thousand out of every tribe, throughout all the tribes of Israel, to the war.” 5 So there were delivered, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 Moses sent them, one thousand of every tribe, to the war with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the shofars* or, trumpets for the alarm in his hand. 7 They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses. They killed every male. 8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. 9 The children of Israel took the women of Midian captive with their little ones; and all their livestock, all their flocks, and all their goods, they took as plunder. 10 All their cities in the places in which they lived, and all their encampments, they burned with fire. 11 They took all the captives, and all the plunder, both of man and of animal. 12 They brought the captives with the prey and the plunder, to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan at Jericho. 13 Moses and Eleazar the priest, with all the princes of the congregation, went out to meet them outside of the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who came from the service of the war. 15 Moses said to them, “Have you saved all the women alive? 16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 18 But all the girls, who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
19 “Encamp outside of the camp for seven days. Whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves on the third day and on the seventh day, you and your captives. 20 You shall purify every garment, and all that is made of skin, and all work of goats’ hair, and all things made of wood.”
21 Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who went to the battle, “This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded Moses. 22 However the gold, and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that may withstand the fire, you shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean; nevertheless it shall be purified with the water for impurity. All that doesn’t withstand the fire you shall make to go through the water. 24 You shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. Afterward you shall come into the camp.”
25 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Count the plunder that was taken, both of man and of animal, you, and Eleazar the priest, and the heads of the fathers’ households of the congregation; 27 and divide the plunder into two parts: between the men skilled in war, who went out to battle, and all the congregation. 28 Levy a tribute to the LORD of the men of war who went out to battle: one soul of five hundred; of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys, and of the flocks. 29 Take it from their half, and give it to Eleazar the priest, for the LORD’s wave offering. 30 Of the children of Israel’s half, you shall take one drawn out of every fifty, of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all the livestock, and give them to the Levites, who perform the duty of the LORD’s tabernacle.”
31 Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.
32 Now the plunder, over and above the booty which the men of war took, was six hundred seventy-five thousand sheep, 33 seventy-two thousand head of cattle, 34 sixty-one thousand donkeys, 35 and thirty-two thousand persons in all, of the women who had not known man by lying with him. 36 The half, which was the portion of those who went out to war, was in number three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep; 37 and the LORD’s tribute of the sheep was six hundred seventy-five. 38 The cattle were thirty-six thousand, of which the LORD’s tribute was seventy-two. 39 The donkeys were thirty thousand five hundred, of which the LORD’s tribute was sixty-one. 40 The persons were sixteen thousand, of whom the LORD’s tribute was thirty-two persons. 41 Moses gave the tribute, which was the LORD’s wave offering, to Eleazar the priest, as the LORD commanded Moses. 42 Of the children of Israel’s half, which Moses divided off from the men who fought 43 (now the congregation’s half was three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, 44 thirty-six thousand head of cattle, 45 thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, 46 and sixteen thousand persons), 47 even of the children of Israel’s half, Moses took one drawn out of every fifty, both of man and of animal, and gave them to the Levites, who performed the duty of the LORD’s tabernacle, as the LORD commanded Moses.
48 The officers who were over the thousands of the army, the captains of thousands, and the captains of hundreds, came near to Moses. 49 They said to Moses, “Your servants have taken the sum of the men of war who are under our command, and there lacks not one man of us. 50 We have brought the LORD’s offering, what every man found: gold ornaments, armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and necklaces, to make atonement for our souls before the LORD.”
51 Moses and Eleazar the priest took their gold, even all worked jewels. 52 All the gold of the wave offering that they offered up to the LORD, of the captains of thousands, and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred fifty shekels.† A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces, so 16,750 shekels is about 167.5 kilograms or about 368.5 pounds. 53 The men of war had taken booty, every man for himself. 54 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the Tent of Meeting for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.
*31:6 or, trumpets
†31:52 A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces, so 16,750 shekels is about 167.5 kilograms or about 368.5 pounds.