The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Numbers
And now the Lord said to Moses,
Soon thou art to become a part of thy people; but first take vengeance, in Israel’s name, on the sons of Madian.
So Moses ordered a muster of men sufficient to wreak the Lord’s vengeance on the Madianites,
a thousand picked warriors from each tribe.
Thus a force of twelve thousand, a thousand from each tribe, was put under arms;
and he appointed Phinees, son of the high priest Eleazar, to command them, entrusting him with the sacred emblems and the trumpets that must sound for battle.
So they fought against the Madianites and defeated them. All the men-folk they killed,
the chiefs of the tribe, Evi, Recem, Sur, Hur and Rebe among them; Balaam, too, the son of Beor, they put to the sword;
and took possession of their women-folk and children, their cattle and all their goods. Nothing that belonged to Madian but was ravaged;
cities, villages and strongholds were burnt down,
and all the booty, all the captives, all the beasts they had taken
they brought with them to Moses and Eleazar; whatever was of use must be brought back to the camp in the plains of Moab opposite Jericho.
Moses went out to meet them, as they drew near the camp, with the high priest Eleazar and all the rulers of Israel.
And it was an angry welcome they had from him, chiefs and commanders and captains that had gone out to fight;
What means it, he asked, that you have spared the women-folk?
Was it not these that beguiled the sons of Israel, at the prompting of Balaam, and led you to play the Lord false by worshipping Phogor, so that a plague fell on the whole people?
All the males must be killed, even the children, and all the women that have had commerce with man;
the young girls and all the women that are still virgins you may keep for yourselves.
For seven days you must not enter the camp; whoever has killed a man or touched a man that lay killed must be purified on the third day of the seven, and on the last.
Of all the spoil you have taken, every garment, every pot and pan, that is made of goats’ skins and goats’ hair, or of wood, you must purify too.
(This was how the high priest Eleazar expounded the law to the men who had come back after the victory: The Lord has warned Moses
that gold, silver, bronze, iron, lead and tin,
and all else that can stand the fire’s heat, may be purified by fire, but everything else must be cleansed with lustral water.)
On the seventh day you will wash your clothes, and so you will be able to come into the camp, purified men.
This, too, the Lord said to Moses,
Thou and the high priest Eleazar and the rulers of the people must reckon up the sum of the booty taken,
and divide it up into equal shares, giving half to the men who went out to war, and half to the rest of the people.
Out of the fighting men’s share, set apart one human creature, one ox, one ass, one sheep, in every five hundred;
these must be given to the high priest Eleazar, as the Lord’s first-fruits.
Out of the share that goes to the rest of Israel, set apart one out of every fifty living things, whether human creatures, oxen, asses or sheep, and give them to the Levites, that have the Lord’s tabernacle in their charge.
Moses and Eleazar did as the Lord had bidden them.
And this was the booty which the army had taken, six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep,
seventy-two thousand oxen,
sixty-one thousand asses,
and thirty-two thousand human creatures, all of them of woman’s sex, and such as had never had commerce with man.
Half of all was given to the men who had been in battle;
and of this they set apart as the Lord’s share six hundred and seventy-five sheep,
and thirty-two human creatures were dedicated to the Lord out of the half-share of sixteen thousand.
All these, the full toll of the Lord’s first-fruits, Moses gave over to the high priest Eleazar, as the Lord had bidden him;
taking them from that half of the public spoils that fell to the warriors.
And out of the half that fell to the rest of the people, the three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep,
the thirty-six thousand oxen,
the thirty thousand five hundred asses,
and the sixteen thousand human creatures,
Moses took one in every fifty, and gave them, as the Lord had bidden him, to the Levites that had the Lord’s tabernacle in their charge.
And now the chiefs and commanders and captains of the army came and told Moses,
My lord, we have been calling the roll of the men we had serving under us, and every one answered his name.
In thanksgiving for this, we would offer as a gift to the Lord the spoils we have taken severally, such as are of gold; anklet and armlet, ring and bracelet and necklace; and do thou make intercession for us to the Lord.
So Moses and the high priest Eleazar accepted all this gold in all its varied shapes;
sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty sicles in weight, as a gift from the commanders and captains,
each of them giving the spoils he had seized for himself;
and they took it into the tabernacle that bore witness of the covenant, to put the Lord in mind of the Israelites continually.
The Holy Bible