Good News Translation (GNB)

The Holy War against Midian

311The LORD said to Moses, 2“Punish the Midianites for what they did to the people of Israel. After you have done that, you will die.”

3So Moses said to the people, “Get ready for war, so that you can attack Midian and punish them for what they did to the LORD. 4From each tribe of Israel send a thousand men to war.”

5So a thousand men were chosen from each tribe, a total of 12,000 men ready for battle. 6Moses sent them to war under the command of Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest, who took charge of the sacred objects and the trumpets for giving signals. 7They attacked Midian, as the LORD had commanded Moses, and killed all the men, 8including the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. They also killed Balaam son of Beor.

9The people of Israel captured the Midianite women and children, took their cattle and their flocks, plundered all their wealth, 10and burnt all their cities and camps. 11They took all the loot that they had captured, including the prisoners and the animals, 12and brought them to Moses and Eleazar and to the community of the people of Israel, who were at the camp on the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.

The Army Returns

13Moses, Eleazar, and all the other leaders of the community went out of the camp to meet the army. 14Moses was angry with the officers, the commanders of battalions and companies, who had returned from the war. 15He asked them, “Why have you kept all the women alive? 16

Num 25.1–9
Remember that it was the women who followed Balaam's instructions and at Peor led the people to be unfaithful to the LORD. That was what brought the epidemic on the LORD's people. 17So now kill every boy and kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse, 18but keep alive for yourselves all the girls and all the women who are virgins. 19Now all of you who have killed anyone or have touched a corpse must stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third day and on the seventh day purify yourselves and the women you have captured. 20You must also purify every piece of clothing and everything made of leather, goats' hair, or wood.”

21Eleazar the priest said to the men who had returned from battle, “These are the regulations that the LORD has given to Moses. 22-23Everything that will not burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, is to be purified by passing it through fire. Everything else is to be purified by the water for purification. 24On the seventh day you must wash your clothes; then you will be ritually clean and will be permitted to enter the camp.”

Division of the Loot

25The LORD said to Moses, 26“You and Eleazar, together with the other leaders of the community, are to count everything that has been captured, including the prisoners and the animals. 27Divide what was taken into two equal parts, one part for the soldiers and the other part for the rest of the community. 28From the part that belongs to the soldiers, withhold as a tax for the LORD one out of every 500 prisoners and the same proportion of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. 29Give them to Eleazar the priest as a special contribution to the LORD. 30From the part given to the rest of the people, take one out of every fifty prisoners and the same proportion of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. Give them to the Levites who are in charge of the LORD's Tent.” 31Moses and Eleazar did what the LORD commanded.

32-35The following is a list of what was captured by the soldiers, in addition to what they kept for themselves: 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 virgins. 36-40The half-share of the soldiers was 337,500 sheep and goats, of which 675 were the tax for the LORD; 36,000 cattle for the soldiers, of which 72 were the tax for the LORD; 30,500 donkeys for the soldiers, of which 61 were the tax for the LORD; and 16,000 virgins for the soldiers, of which 32 were the tax for the LORD. 41So Moses gave Eleazar the tax as a special contribution to the LORD, as the LORD had commanded.

42-46The share of the community was the same as that for the soldiers: 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and 16,000 virgins. 47From this share Moses took one out of every fifty prisoners and animals, and as the LORD had commanded, gave them to the Levites who were in charge of the LORD's Tent.

48Then the officers who had commanded the army went to Moses 49and reported, “Sir, we have counted the soldiers under our command and not one of them is missing. 50So we are bringing the gold ornaments, armlets, bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces that each of us has taken. We offer them to the LORD as a payment for our lives, so that he will protect us.” 51Moses and Eleazar received the gold, all of which was in the form of ornaments. 52The total contribution of the officers weighed nearly 200 kilogrammes. 53Those who were not officers kept the loot they had taken. 54So Moses and Eleazar took the gold to the Tent, so that the LORD would protect the people of Israel.


The Tribes East of the Jordan

(Deut 3.12–22)

321The tribes of Reuben and Gad had a lot of livestock. When they saw how suitable the land of Jazer and Gilead was for cattle, 2they went to Moses, Eleazar, and the other leaders of the community and said, 3-4“This region which the LORD has helped the Israelites to occupy — the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sibmah, Nebo, and Beon — is good land for livestock, and we have so much livestock. 5Please give us this land as our property, and do not make us cross the River Jordan and settle there.”

6Moses replied, “Do you want to stay here while your fellow-Israelites go to war? 7How dare you try to discourage the people of Israel from crossing the Jordan into the land which the LORD has given them? 8

Num 13.17–33
That is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. 9They went as far as the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, but when they returned, they discouraged the people from entering the land which the LORD had given them. 10
Num 14.26–35
The LORD was angry that day and made a promise: 11‘I swear that because they did not remain loyal to me, none of the men twenty years old or older who came out of Egypt will enter the land that I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ 12This included everyone, except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun; they remained loyal to the LORD. 13The LORD was angry with the people and made them wander in the wilderness for forty years until that whole generation that had displeased him was dead. 14And now you have taken your fathers' place, a new generation of sinful men ready to bring down the fierce anger of the LORD on Israel again. 15If you people of Reuben and Gad refuse to follow him now, he will once again abandon all these people in the wilderness, and you will be responsible for their destruction.”

16They approached Moses and said, “First, allow us to build stone enclosures here for our sheep and fortified towns for our dependants. 17Then we will be ready to go with our fellow-Israelites into battle and lead the attack until we have settled them in the land that will be theirs. In the meantime, our dependants can live here in the fortified towns, safe from the people of this land. 18We will not return to our homes until all the other Israelites have taken possession of the land assigned to them. 19We will not take possession of any property among them on the other side of the Jordan, because we have received our share here east of the Jordan.”

20Moses answered, “If you really mean what you say, then here in the presence of the LORD get ready to go into battle. 21All your fighting men are to cross the Jordan and under the command of the LORD they are to attack our enemies until the LORD defeats them 22and takes possession of the land. After that, you may return, because you will have fulfilled your obligation to the LORD and to your fellow-Israelites. Then the LORD will acknowledge that this land east of the Jordan is yours. 23But if you do not keep your promise, I warn you that you will be sinning against the LORD. Make no mistake about it; you will be punished for your sin. 24So build your towns and the enclosures for your sheep, but do what you have promised!”

25The men of Gad and Reuben said, “Sir, we will do as you command. 26Our wives and children and our cattle and sheep will remain here in the towns of Gilead. 27But all of us are ready to go into battle under the LORD's command. We will cross the Jordan and fight, just as you have said.”


Josh 1.12–15
So Moses gave these commands to Eleazar, Joshua, and the other leaders of Israel: 29“If the men of Gad and Reuben cross the Jordan ready for battle at the LORD's command and if with their help you are able to conquer the land, then give them the land of Gilead as their property. 30But if they do not cross the Jordan and go into battle with you, they are to receive their share of the property in the land of Canaan, as you do.”

31The men of Gad and Reuben answered, “Sir, we will do as the LORD has commanded. 32Under his command we will cross into the land of Canaan and go into battle, so that we can retain our property here east of the Jordan.”

33So Moses assigned to the tribes of Gad and Reuben and to half the tribe of Manasseh all the territory of King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan, including the towns and the country round them. 34The tribe of Gad rebuilt the fortified towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36Beth Nimrah, and Beth Haran. 37The tribe of Reuben rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38Nebo, Baal Meon (this name was changed), and Sibmah. They gave new names to the towns they rebuilt.

39The clan of Machir son of Manasseh invaded the land of Gilead, occupied it, and drove out the Amorites who were there. 40So Moses gave Gilead to the clan of Machir, and they lived there. 41Jair, of the tribe of Manasseh, attacked and captured some villages and named them “Villages of Jair”. 42Nobah attacked and captured Kenath and its villages, and he renamed it Nobah, after himself.


The Journey from Egypt to Moab

331The following account gives the names of the places where the Israelites set up camp after they left Egypt in their tribes under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2At the command of the LORD, Moses wrote down the name of the place each time they set up camp.

3The people of Israel left Egypt on the fifteenth day of the first month of the year, the day after the first Passover. Under the LORD's protection they left the city of Rameses in full view of the Egyptians, 4who were burying the firstborn sons that the LORD had killed. By doing this, the LORD showed that he was more powerful than the gods of Egypt.

5The people of Israel left Rameses and set up camp at Sukkoth. 6Their next camp was at Etham on the edge of the desert. 7From there they turned back to Pi Hahiroth, east of Baal Zephon, and camped near Migdol. 8They left Pi Hahiroth and passed through the Red Sea33.8 Red Sea: See Word List. into the desert of Shur; after a three days' march they camped at Marah. 9From there they went to Elim, where they camped, because there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees there.

10They left Elim and camped near the Gulf of Suez. 11Their next camp was in the desert of Sin. 12Then they camped at Dophkah, 13and after that at Alush. 14Next was Rephidim, where there was no water for them to drink.

15-37From Rephidim to Mount Hor they set up camp at the following places: the Sinai Desert, Kibroth Hattaavah (or “Graves of Craving”), Hazeroth, Rithmah, Rimmon Perez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah, Mount Shepher, Haradah, Makheloth, Tahath, Terah, Mithkah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene Jaakan, Hor Haggidgad, Jotbathah, Abronah, Eziongeber, the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh), and Mount Hor, at the edge of the land of Edom.


Num 20.22–28
Deut 10.6
At the command of the LORD, Aaron the priest climbed Mount Hor. At the age of 123 he died there on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the Israelites had left Egypt.


Num 21.1
The king of Arad in southern Canaan heard that the Israelites were coming.

41-49From Mount Hor to the plains of Moab the Israelites set up camp at the following places: Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, the ruins of Abarim in the territory of Moab, Dibon Gad, Almon Diblathaim, the Abarim Mountains near Mount Nebo, and in the plains of Moab across the River Jordan from Jericho, between Beth Jeshimoth and the Valley of Acacia.

Instructions before Crossing the Jordan

50There in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho the LORD gave Moses 51the following instructions for Israel: “When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52you must drive out all the inhabitants of the land. Destroy all their stone and metal idols and all their places of worship. 53Occupy the land and settle in it, because I am giving it to you. 54

Num 26.54–56
Divide the land among the various tribes and clans by drawing lots, giving a large piece of property to a large clan and a small one to a small clan. 55But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those that are left will be as troublesome as splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will fight against you. 56If you do not drive them out, I will destroy you, as I planned to destroy them.”