1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 Before
you die, make sure that the Midianites are punished for what they
did to Israel.
3 Then Moses told the people, The Lord wants to punish the Midianites. So have our men prepare for battle. 4 Each tribe will send a thousand men to fight.
5 Twelve thousand men were picked from the tribes of Israel, and after they were prepared for battle, 6 Moses sent them off to war. Phinehas the son of Eleazar went with them and took along some things from the sacred tent and the trumpets for sounding the battle signal.
7 The Israelites fought against the Midianites, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. They killed all the men, 8 including Balaam son of Beor and the five Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. 9 The Israelites captured every woman and child, then led away the Midianites cattle and sheep, and took everything else that belonged to them. 10 They also burned down the Midianite towns and villages.
11 Israels soldiers gathered together everything they had taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. 12 Then they returned to their own camp in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, where Moses, Eleazar, and the other Israelite leaders met the troops outside camp.
14 Moses became angry with the army commanders 15 and said, I cant believe you let the women live! 16 They are the ones who followed Balaams advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal-Peor. Thats why the Lord punished us by killing so many of our people. 17 You must put to death every boy and all the women who have ever had sex. 18 But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.
19 Then Moses said to the soldiers, If you killed anyone or touched a dead body, you are unclean and have to stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third and seventh days, you must go through a ceremony to make yourselves and your captives clean. 20 Then wash your clothes and anything made from animal skin, goats hair, or wood.
21 Eleazar then explained, If you need to purify something that wont burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, you must first place it in a hot fire. After you take it out, sprinkle it with the water that purifies. Everything else should only be sprinkled with the water. Do all of this, just as the Lord commanded Moses. 24 Wash your clothes on the seventh day, and after that, you will be clean and may return to the camp.