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Thursday, 25 June 2009 16:09

Moses And The Medianites

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This is an excerpt from The Tyranny Of God: Liberating Ourselves From Our Own Beliefs. pp 142-144.

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 and to carry out the Lord's vengeance against 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.

- Numbers 31:1-5

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

-Numbers 31:7

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.

- Numbers 31:9-12

Moses was angry at his men for sparing the women and the boys:

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.

-Numbers 31:17-18

'...Save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man'? What do you propose they had in mind for those virgins?

Then God helped Moses divide their spoils:

The Lord said to Moses, "You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. Divide the spoils between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community. From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep or goats. Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the Lord's part. From the Israelites' half, select one out of every fifty, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord's tabernacle." So Moses and Eleazar, the priest, did as the Lord commanded Moses.

- Numbers 31:25-54

The plunder remaining from the spoils the soldiers took was

  • 675,000 sheep
  • 72,000 cattle
  • 61,000 donkeys
  • 32,000 women who had never slept with a man

The half share of those who fought in the battle was:

  • 337,500 sheep, of which the tribute for the Lord was 675
  • 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72
  • 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61
  • 16,000 people, of which the tribute for the Lord was 32

Notice how God also had a share in the loot?

Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the Lord's part, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The half belonging to the Israelites, which Moses set apart from that of the fighting men- the community's half-was

  • 337,500 sheep
  • 36,000 cattle
  • 30,500 donkeys
  • 16,000 people

From the Israelites' half, Moses selected one out of every fifty persons and animals, as the Lord commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, who were responsible for the care of the Lord's tabernacle.

Then the officers who were over the units of the army-the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds-went to Moses and said to him, "Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. So we have brought as an offering to the Lord the gold articles each of us acquired-armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces-to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord."

Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted from them the gold-all the crafted articles. All the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds that Moses and Eleazar presented as a gift to the Lord weighed 16,750 shekels. Each soldier had taken plunder for himself. Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting as a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord.

I included this portion of the Bible to point out that the holy book of God, which is being revered as a foundation for morality, is filled with details of how to divide plunder, and how God, himself, had a share too.

[End of excerpt]

Last modified on Thursday, 25 June 2009 16:25
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