Epistles of Thomas

March 16, 2009

Numbers 31-33

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 22:27
Tags: , , ,

Before Moses died he had a few last things to take care of. The first in chapter 31 is to punish the Midianites for leading the Israelites astray through using their women to get the Israelite men to worship idols. Moses sent 12,000 men into battle, a thousand from each tribe. They came back victorious and brought the Midianites’ women and children with them. Moses was not pleased as it was these women who had led to the problems in the first place. He ordered them killed except for the young girls who were allowed to live and presumably married into the family of Israel. The spoil was divided between the 12,000 soldiers and the people, with God receiving his share as well.

Moses also had to settle an issue which arose over the Reubenites and the Gadites who saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for their large herds and flocks. They asked if they could settle on the outside of the promised land. They assured Moses that they would still take up arms and help the other tribes to settle in the land but first they wanted to get their families and flocks safely settled in this area. This was found to be acceptable.

Numbers 33 summarises their journey through the wilderness and ends with a warning: “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them” (33:55-56). Unfortunately, this will come to pass.

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