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Numbers 31:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then spake Yahweh unto Moses, saying:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And the LORD spake vnto Moses, saying,
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And the Lord spoke to Mosheh{gr.Moses}, saying,
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Yahweh spake unto Mosheh, saying,

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
spake 1696
{1696} Prime
A primitive root; perhaps properly to arrange; but used figuratively (of words) to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
unto x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
M מֹשֶׁה, 4872
{4872} Prime
From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver.
saying, 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Numbers 31:1-2

_ _ Numbers 31:1-54. The Midianites spoiled and Balaam slain.

_ _ the Lord spake unto Moses, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites — a semi-nomad people, descended from Abraham and Keturah, occupying a tract of country east and southeast of Moab, which lay on the eastern coast of the Dead Sea. They seem to have been the principal instigators of the infamous scheme of seduction, planned to entrap the Israelites into the double crime of idolatry and licentiousness [Numbers 25:1-3, Numbers 25:17, Numbers 25:18] by which, it was hoped, the Lord would withdraw from that people the benefit of His protection and favor. Moreover, the Midianites had rendered themselves particularly obnoxious by entering into a hostile league with the Amorites (Joshua 13:21). The Moabites were at this time spared in consideration of Lot (Deuteronomy 2:9) and because the measure of their iniquities was not yet full. God spoke of avenging “the children of Israel” [Numbers 31:2]; Moses spoke of avenging the Lord [Numbers 31:3], as dishonor had been done to God and an injury inflicted on His people. The interests were identical. God and His people have the same cause, the same friends, and the same assailants. This, in fact, was a religious war, undertaken by the express command of God against idolaters, who had seduced the Israelites to practise their abominations.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Numbers 31:1-6

_ _ Here, I. The Lord of hosts gives orders to Moses to make war upon the Midianites, and his commission no doubt justified this war, though it will not serve to justify the like without such commission. The Midianites were the posterity of Abraham by Ketuarah, Genesis 25:2. Some of them settled south of Canaan, among whom Jethro lived, and they retained the worship of the true God; but these were settled east of Canaan, and had fallen into idolatry, neighbours to, and in confederacy with, the Moabites. Their land was not designed to be given to Israel, nor would Israel have meddled with them if they had not made themselves obnoxious to their resentment by sending their bad women among them to draw them to whoredom and idolatry. This was the provocation, this was the quarrel. For this (says God) avenge Israel of the Midianites, Numbers 31:2. 1. God would have the Midianites chastised, an inroad made upon that part of their country which lay next to the camp of Israel, and which was probably more concerned in that mischief than the Moabites, who therefore were let alone. God will have us to reckon those our worst enemies that draw us to sin, and to avoid them; and since every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lusts, and these are the Midianites which ensnare us with their wiles, on them we should avenge ourselves, not only make no league with them, but make war upon them by living a life of mortification. God had taken vengeance on his own people for yielding to the Midianites' temptations; now the Midianites, that gave the temptation, must be reckoned with, for the deceived and the deceiver are his (Job 12:16), both accountable to his tribunal; and, though judgment begin at the house of God, it shall not end there, 1 Peter 4:17. There is a day coming when vengeance will be taken on those that have introduced errors and corruptions into the church, and the devil that deceived men will be cast into the lake of fire. Israel's quarrel with Amalek, that fought against them, was not avenged till long after: but their quarrel with Midian, that debauched them, was speedily avenged, for they were looked upon as much more the dangerous and malicious enemies. 2. God would have it done by Moses, in his life-time, that he who had so deeply resented that injury might have the satisfaction of seeing it avenged. “See this execution done upon the enemies of God and Israel, and afterwards thou shalt be gathered to thy people.” This was the only piece of service of this kind that Moses must further do, and then he has accomplished, as a hireling, his day, and shall have his quietusenter into rest: hitherto his usefulness must come, and no further; the wars of Canaan must be carried on by another hand. Note, God sometimes removes useful men when we think they can be ill spared; but this ought to satisfy us, that they are never removed till they have done the work which was appointed them.

_ _ II. Moses gives orders to the people to prepare for this expedition, Numbers 31:3. He would not have the whole body of the camp to stir, but they must arm some of themselves to the war, such as were either most fit or most forward, and avenge the Lord of Midian. God said, Avenge Israel; Moses says, Avenge the Lord; for the interests of God and Israel are united, and the cause of both is one and the same. And if God, in what he does, shows himself jealous for the honour of Israel, surely Israel, in what they do, ought to show themselves jealous for the glory of God. Then only we can justify the avenging of ourselves when it is the vengeance of the Lord that we engage in. Nay, for this reason we are forbidden to avenge ourselves, because God has said, Vengeance is mine, I will repay.

_ _ III. A detachment is drawn out accordingly for this service, 1000 out of every tribe, 12,000 in all, a small number in comparison with what they could have sent, and it is probable small in comparison with the number of the enemies they were sent against. But God would teach them that it is all one to him to save by many or by few, 1 Samuel 14:6.

_ _ IV. Phinehas the son of Eleazar is sent along with them. It is strange that no mention is made of Joshua in this great action. If he was general of these forces, who do we not find him leading them out? If he tarried at home, why do we not find him meeting them with Moses at their return? It is probable, each tribe having a captain of its own thousand, there was no general, but they proceeded in the order of their march through the wilderness, Judah first, and the rest in their posts, under the command of their respective captains, spoken of Numbers 31:48. But, the war being a holy war, Phinehas was their common head, not to supply the place of a general, but, by the oracle of God, to determine the resolves of their counsels of war, in which the captains of thousands would all acquiesce, and according to which they would act in conjunction. He therefore took with him the holy instruments or vessels, probably the breast-plate of judgment, by which God might he consulted in any emergency. Though he was not yet the high priest, yet he might be delegated pro hac vicefor this particular occasion, to bear the urim and thummim, as 1 Samuel 23:6. And there was a particular reason for sending Phinehas to preside in this expedition; he has already signalized himself for his zeal against the Midianites and their cursed arts to ensnare Israel when he slew Cozbi, a daughter of a chief house in Midian, for her impudence in the matter of Peor, 1 Samuel 25:15. He that had so well used the sword of justice against a particular criminal was best qualified to guide the sword of war against the whole nation. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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