03/08/2018 — Numbers Chapters 31-32

Wow! As I read Chapter 31 and come across verses 14-18 my thought was how harsh this instruction was:  14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle. 15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

And then I read the commentary from enuring Enduring Bible Work (https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/numbers-31.

i. Christians are often tripped up by things that were a threat but they did not see them as a threat. Though most Israelites thought these women were safe, they were more dangerous to Israel than an army of mighty warriors. Israel could overcome mighty warriors if they were spiritually strong; but if they were seduced into immorality and idolatry, they would certainly fall.  We often think of many things as dangerous to us as Christians – hostile government, secular humanism, academic attack, and so forth. But the things we accept in our midst as Christians that open the door to immorality and idolatry can do far more real damage than any of those other things.

This is, certainly, why the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11-12 to be prepared:

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.




  • missliz

    I have always found it curious that the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh asked not to cross over the Jordan. Did they not believe the promise of God for a land of “milk and honey”? We are not told that God was ever consulted in the decision. While they did help conquer the rest of the land for their brothers, a division was created in the community of God. Division seldom strengthens the community of faith but rather weakens the body.

  • Jerry

    Liz —
    Coffman has an interesting comment on these verses that ties well into your questions:

    “Was this a sinful request on the part of these tribes? Differences of opinion are expressed, but in the light of Moses’ severe rebuke in the next verses, our own conclusion is that their request represented a fundamental departure by those tribes away from the true will of God. It has been the same in all generations where men looked on present advantages and temporal benefits and elected instead of following God’s will to choose their own changes and walk in their own ways instead of God’s.”

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