purifying from the plunder
devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2356
Num 31:13 Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp.
Num 31:14 And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war.
Num 31:15 Moses said to them, “Have you let all the women live?
Num 31:16 notice, these, due to Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against Yahveh in the incident of Peor, and this caused the plague to come to the congregation of Yahveh.
Num 31:17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.
Num 31:18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.
Num 31:19 Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any soul and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.
Num 31:20 You will purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”
Num 31:21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the prescription of the law that Yahveh has commanded Moses:
Num 31:22 only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead,
Num 31:23 everything that can stand the fire, you will pass through the fire, and it will be pure. Nevertheless, it will also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you will pass through the water.
Num 31:24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you will be pure. And afterward you may come into the camp.”
Num 31:25 Yahveh said to Moses,
Num 31:26 “Take the count of the plunder that was taken, both of human and of animal, you and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the congregation,
Num 31:27 and divide the plunder into two parts between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation.
Num 31:28 And levy for Yahveh a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the humans and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks.
Num 31:29 Take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest as a contribution to Yahveh.
Num 31:30 And from the people of Israel’s half you will take one drawn out of every fifty, of the humans, of the oxen, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, of all the animals, and give them to the Levites who keep guard over the tabernacle of Yahveh.”
purifying from the plunder
The Moab Midianites had attempted to destroy the Israelites from within by tempting them to rebel against Yahveh. For this crime, God commanded that the Israelites destroy them. But Moses discovered that the plunder from the war was also a temptation for the Israelites. So, he gave instructions as to how to purify the camp.
God does not call us to make war against our enemies. Our struggle is against the enemies in the unseen realm. But even when we are victorious in those battles, the resulting spoil might be a danger to us. We must be careful not to bring into our houses anything that might tempt us to forsake God.
LORD, give us wisdom to rid ourselves of those things which might turn our hearts from you.