Chapter 31— Vengeance on the Midianites. Do the Midianites sound familiar? When Moses left Egypt for murder, he found a home with the Midianites who were shepherds and nomads. Moses father-in-law was a Midianite priest on priestly land which is why the Egyptians could not touch Moses for the murder (Exodus 3). Moses married Zipporah. His father-in-law was Reuel/Jethro. If you remember back a ways, Moses actually took advice from his father-in-law, and Jethro blessed the Israelites, and made sacrifices to GOD (Exodus 18.) Unfortunately, THESE same people were responsible for leading the Israelites astray in chapter 25 (The Phinehas/stabbing/sex/ chapter.) Balaam (whose ass had to speak to him to get his attenton) we find out in 31:15 was the influence behind the Moabite women coming into Israelites camp. The Moabites and the Midianites were in cahoots with each other.. they thought the same.. believed in pagan gods….and neither liked the Israelites.
In 25:16 God told Moses to treat the Midianites as enemies, and kill them. In 31:14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army because they did not KILL EVERYONE. They did kill all the men and Balaam, but left the women, boys, and girls. Moses has the Israelite army kill the boys and all women who are not virgins. Moses wanted ALL trace of pagan worship GONE (which had caused Phinehas to take action which caused God not to destroy the Israelites!) Moses understood that it would only take a “little” enticement to get the Israelites’ eyes off of God.
SO the Lord has the Israelites take vengeance, take all their belongings, split it up and then they realize in 31:49
”Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired.”
Is this not AWESOME!!??? The soldiers KNEW they had just lived through a battle with the Lord’s hand upon them. NOT ONE Israelite had DIED in battle. And, the soldiers took it upon themselves to bring an offering to the LORD!!! No ONE told them to do this… they just KNEW how greatly they had been blessed and wanted to thank the Lord. God has done some great things in our reading thus far. And it is such a blessing to see when the people immediately worship HIM. Times like when Jacob fought with the angel of the Lord, refused to let go until he received the blessing, received the blessing, had his name changed to Israel, and named the place Peniel because he saw God face to face. Noah made an altar after the Ark was opened. Miriam started the Song of Praise when they saw the miracle of the Red Sea collapsing on the Egyptians coming for them. And I am SURE you can think of many others. Today we read about 12,000 men who went to battle and not A SINGLE casualty in God’s army. SO they came with an offering. This story touches me deeply EACH time I read it. NO ONE ASKED TO THEM DO A THIS!!! I can just imagine God’s heart filled with blessing because of their actions FOR HIM.
Chapter 32 — Transjordan Tribes. Two and a half tribes are requesting the land on the East side of the Jordan River (Reubenites, Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh). They ask Moses for the deed to that land. Moses assumes they are asking for it as a way for them NOT to have to fight for or enter the Promised Land. POOR Moses… I mean the guy is about 140 at this point in his life. Can you blame him for thinking this way?? He has seen what happened to the first generation he came out of Egypt with who did not BELIEVE GOD’s PROMISE, doubted, grumbled, complained, spent 40 years in the wilderness, now they are all dead, and LOST their PROMISE!!! Now, here is he … witnessing many good things happening …. Leading them closer and closer to the Promised Land. And these three tribes are ASKING HIM FOR LAND. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THOUGHT???? Would you have possibly been thinking these three tribes are trying to get out of TAKING the Promised Land with the other tribes? Might you be saying “not again!!!!” BUT….. Moses did something we are alllllllll guilty of (or at least I am) and that is ASSUMING!! These three Israelite Tribes DID trust in the Lord and totally planned on joining their brothers in the TAKING of the Promised Land. They REALLY “just” wanted the land to raise their animals, and to build cities that would have walls to protect their women and children. Moses realized this so the land on the East side (the right) of the Jordan was granted to them. (If you have not read the reading yet take out the words IF, BUT and THEN. …. Reads differently eh???)
Below is a map, the Jordan River is in the Middle and 32:33 says
Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan—the whole land with its cities and the territory around them.
Here is a visual of what it will look like when the land is divided (sneak peak)
Sharing HIS love,