Division of the booty (Num 31:25-31:47)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses. ‘You and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the ancestral houses of the congregation make an inventory of the booty captured, both human and animal. Divide the booty into two parts, between the warriors who went out to battle and the whole congregation. From the share of the warriors who went out to battle, set aside as tribute for Yahweh one item out of every five hundred, whether persons, oxen, donkeys, sheep, or goats. Take it from their half, and give it to Eleazar the priest as an offering to Yahweh. But from the Israelites’ half you shall take one out of every fifty, whether persons, oxen, donkeys, sheep or goats, all the animals, and give them to the Levites who have charge of the tabernacle of Yahweh.”

What are we to do with the captured stuff? Once again Yahweh told Moses with Eleazar and the heads of the ancestral houses to take an inventory of all the booty, human and animals. Half was to go to the warriors who went to battle, and half to the whole congregation. A tax or tribute for Yahweh should come from the warriors of 1/500th of everything, whether persons, oxen, donkeys, sheep, or goats as an offering to Yahweh through Eleazar. But from the whole congregation it was 1/50th of everything for the Levites. The priestly smaller offering (.02%) is taken from the warriors, but the larger offering (2%) is taken from the congregation to be given to the Levites.

“Then Moses and Eleazar the priest did as Yahweh had commanded Moses. The booty remaining from the spoil that the troops had taken totaled six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, seventy-two thousand cattle, sixty-one thousand donkeys, and thirty-two thousand persons, women who had not known man by lying with him.”

This was quite a haul. There was lots of sheep. The total number of the booty inventory was:

1)      675,000 sheep;

2)      72,000 oxen;

3)      61,000 donkeys;

4)      32,000 young women

“The half-share, the portion of those who had gone out to war, was in number: three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep and goats. Yahweh’s tribute of sheep goats was six hundred seventy-five. The oxen were thirty-six thousand, of which Yahweh’s tribute was seventy-two. The donkeys were thirty thousand five hundred, of which Yahweh’s tribute was sixty-one. The persons were sixteen thousand, of which Yahweh’s tribute was thirty-two persons. Moses gave the tribute, the offering for Yahweh to Eleazar the priest as Yahweh had commanded Moses.”

Eleazar got a lot of things, including 32 young women, even though the percentage was smaller. Thus the warriors got:

1)      337 500 sheep and goats with 675 given to Eleazar;

2)      36,000 oxen with 72 given to Eleazar;

3)      30.500 donkeys with 61 given to Eleazar;

4)      16,000 young women with 32 given to Eleazar.

“As for the Israelites’ half, which Moses separated from that of the troops, the congregation’s half was three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep and goats, thirty-six thousand oxen, thirty thousand five hundred donkeys, and sixteen thousand persons. From Israelites’ half, Moses took one of every fifty, both of persons and animals, and gave them to the Levites who had charge of the tabernacle of Yahweh, as Yahweh had commanded Moses.”

Notice the booty now includes sheep and goats since goats were not mentioned at first. The rest of the congregation got:

1)      337,500 sheep and goats with 6,750 given to the Levites;

2)      36,000 oxen with 720 given to Levites;

3)      30,500 donkeys with 610 given to Levites;

4)      16,000 young women with 320 given to Levites.

 

4 thoughts on “Division of the booty (Num 31:25-31:47)

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