Bamidbar 31 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

1 And Yahweh spake unto [Moshe], saying,

Yahweh's declaration of war had already been made (Num. 25:17-18). Now Moses is ordered to implement it. *

2 Avenge the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel] of the Midianites [Midyanim]: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.


Balaam predicts that a sceptre will arise to destroy "all the sons of tumult" (Num. 24:17). As a token of this, Moses is now ordered to wage war against the Midianitish men of strife. He does so thus foreshadowing the coming day of vengeance (Isa. 26:9; 61:2; 63:4; Rev. 11:18). This fulfils the instructions earlier given him to

"vex the Midianites and smite them; for they vex you with their wiles" and have "beguiled you" (Num. 25:17-18).

The Midianites, having enticed the Israelites to unfaithfulness, now must be punished.

The Midianites only are mentioned, and not the Moabites (Num. 25:1). Evidently the former took the initiative in putting the evil counsel of Balaam into effect (8,16).

Midian was a son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:1-6; 1 Chron. 1:32). His name signifies

Strife or Contention.

The avenging of Yahweh on the Midianites would complete Moses' work on the eastern side of the Jordan, leaving it to Joshua to lead the tribes into the Promised Land. *

3 And [Moshe] spoke unto the people [HaAm], saying, Arm some of yourselves [ anashim]unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites [Midyan], and avenge Yahweh of Midian [Midyan].  

4 Of every tribe [matteh] 1 000, throughout all the tribes of Israel [ kol mattot Yisroel], shall ye send to the war.

Each tribe was to be represented by an equal number of men, as is the case with the enumeration of spiritual Israel in Rev. 7.

...only a token force is marshalled, because God is to give the victory. Over this host, Phinehas the priest, is chosen as captain: indicating that it is to be a battle of faith... as in the case of Amalek (Exod. 17:16; Num. 25:11,13). *

5 So there were delivered [supplied] out of the thousands of Israel [Yisroel], 1 000 [an elef]of every tribe, 12 000 [matteh, sheneym asar elef] armed for war.

The term "out of " speaks of a selection and separation. The army gathered together, therefore, represented the Ecclesia of the future....12 000 ...the measure of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:16), ...Song 6:7... all-conquering "as an army with banners". *

The Christadelphian Expositor