Notes: Numbers 31-32

Numbers 31-32

Bible Narrative Project

chapter 31–So, after a brief intermission to take a census and make sure Joshua’s good to go, we pick up where we left off at the end of chapter 25–tying up loose ends with Midian. These slaughters (many more to come) always bother me. They didn’t have high-tech weapons that could reduce the number of casualties by pin-pointing only the guilty (which by this time included all but they very young), and they didn’t have restoration efforts that could help innocents (the very young) restore things back to normal. In order to survive, they had to worry about things like inheritance rights. However, they spared the women and children as plunder, when they were told they could only spare female virgins (because they would eventually help increase their population and did not pose a threat to inheritance rights). The killing of the male children is said to be euthenasia, because Israel was not strong enough yet to support them–rather than doom them to slow death, they killed them quickly. If you do not fully grasp the offense of Midian and why this holy war occurred, see the explanation that the leadership of Midian attempted to use sex as a weapon against Israel: There is a parallel between the sex in this situation, poised to enter the Promised Land, and the sex at Sinai, waiting for Moses to come back down. What is weird to me is that Moses’ wife is from Midian…he stayed there a while before going back and leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Wasn’t that weird for them? No mention of it. Maybe it didn’t need saying?

chapter 32–the tribes of Gad, Reuben and (1/2 tribe) Manasseh want to settle in the land the Israelites have conquered (Gilead: kingdoms of Sihon of the Amorites and Og of Bashan), but agree to cross the Jordan first and help the rest of the tribes in battle. Things are revving up.

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