Through the Bible – Day 56

Bible text(s)

Israel defeats Midian and prepares to cross the River Jordan

Israel's war against Midian

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Before you die, make sure that the Midianites are punished for what they did to Israel.”

3Then Moses told the people, “The LORD wants to punish the Midianites. So tell our men to prepare for battle. 4Each tribe will send a thousand men to fight.”

5Twelve thousand men were picked from the tribes of Israel, and after they were prepared for battle, 6Moses 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.

7The Israelites fought against the Midianites, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. They killed all the men, 8including Balaam son of Beor and the five Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. 9The Israelites captured every woman and child, then led away the Midianites' cattle and sheep, and took everything else that belonged to them. 10They also burnt down the Midianite towns and villages.

11Israel's soldiers gathered together everything they had taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. 12-13Then they returned to their own camp in the hills of Moab across the River Jordan from Jericho, where Moses, Eleazar, and the other Israelite leaders met the troops outside camp.

14Moses became angry with the army commanders 15and said, “I can't believe you let the women live! 16They are the ones who followed Balaam's advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal-Peor. That's why the LORD punished us by killing so many of our people. 17You must put to death every boy and all the women who have ever had sex. 18But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.”

19Then 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. 20Then wash your clothes and anything made from animal skin, goat's hair, or wood.”

21-23Eleazar then explained, “If you need to purify something that won't 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. 24Wash your clothes on the seventh day, and after that, you will be clean and may return to the camp.”

Everything taken from the Midianites is divided

25The LORD told Moses:

26-27Make a list of everything taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. Then divide them between the soldiers and the rest of the people. Eleazar the priest and the family leaders will help you.

28-29From the half that belongs to the soldiers, set aside for the LORD one out of every five hundred people or animals and give these to Eleazar.

30From the half that belongs to the people, set aside one out of every fifty and give these to the Levites in charge of the sacred tent.

31Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD's instructions 32-35and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 young women who had never had sex.

36-47Each half included 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and 16,000 young women. From the half that belonged to the soldiers, Moses counted out 675 sheep and goats, 72 cattle, 61 donkeys, and 32 women and gave them to Eleazar to be dedicated to the LORD. Then from the half that belonged to the people, Moses set aside one out of every fifty animals and women, as the LORD had said, and gave them to the Levites.

48The army commanders went to Moses 49and said, “Sir, we have counted our troops, and not one soldier is missing. 50So we want to give the LORD all the gold jewellery we took from the Midianites. It's our gift to him for watching over us and our troops.”

51Moses and Eleazar accepted the jewellery from the commanders, 52and its total weight was nearly two hundred kilogrammes. 53This did not include the things that the soldiers had kept for themselves. 54So Moses and Eleazar placed the gold in the LORD's sacred tent to remind Israel of what had happened.

Land east of the River Jordan is settled

(Deuteronomy 3.12-22)

1The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned a lot of cattle and sheep, and they saw that the regions of Jazer and Gilead had good pasture land. 2So they went to Moses, Eleazar, and the other leaders of Israel and said, 3-4“The LORD has helped us capture the land around the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon. That's good pasture land, and since we own cattle and sheep, 5would you let us stay here east of the River Jordan and have this land as our own?”

6Moses answered:

You mean you'd stay here while the rest of the Israelites go into battle? 7If you did that, it would discourage the others from crossing over into the land the LORD promised them. 8This is exactly what happened when I sent your ancestors from Kadesh-Barnea to explore the land. 9They went as far as Eshcol Valley, then returned and told the people that we should not enter it. 10The LORD became very angry. 11And he said that no one who was twenty years or older when they left Egypt would enter the land he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not one of those people believed in the LORD's power, 12except Caleb and Joshua. They remained faithful to the LORD, 13but he was so angry with the others that he forced them to wander around in the desert forty years. By that time everyone who had sinned against him had died.

14Now you people of Reuben and Gad are doing the same thing and making the LORD even angrier. 15If you reject the LORD, he will once again abandon his people and leave them here in the desert. And you will be to blame!

16The men from Reuben and Gad replied:

Let us build places to keep our sheep and goats, and towns for our wives and children, 17where they can stay and be safe. Then we'll prepare to fight and lead the other tribes into battle. 18We will stay with them until they have settled in their own tribal lands. 19The land on this side of the River Jordan will be ours, so we won't expect to receive any on the other side.

20Moses said:

You promised that you would be ready to fight for the LORD. 21You also agreed to cross the Jordan and stay with the rest of the Israelites, until the LORD forces our enemies out of the land. If you do these things, 22then after the LORD helps Israel capture the land, you can return to your own land. You will no longer have to stay with the others. 23But if you don't keep your promise, you will sin against the LORD and be punished.

24Go ahead and build towns for your wives and children, and places for your sheep and goats. Just be sure to do what you have promised.

25The men from Reuben and Gad answered:

Sir, we will do just what you have said. 26Our wives and children and sheep and cattle will stay here in the towns in Gilead. 27But those of us who are prepared for battle will cross the Jordan and fight for the LORD.

28Then Moses said to Eleazar, Joshua, and the family leaders, 29“Make sure that the tribes of Gad and Reuben prepare for battle and cross the River Jordan with you. If they do, then after the land is in your control, give them the region of Gilead as their tribal land. 30But if they break their promise, they will receive land on the other side of the Jordan, like the rest of the tribes.”

31The tribes of Gad and Reuben replied, “We are your servants and will do whatever the LORD has commanded. 32We will cross the River Jordan, ready to fight for the LORD in Canaan. But the land we will inherit as our own will be on this side of the river.”

33So Moses gave the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh the territory and towns that King Sihon the Amorite had ruled, as well as the territory and towns that King Og of Bashan had ruled.

34The tribe of Gad rebuilt the towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35Atroth-Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36Beth-Nimrah, and Beth-Haran. They built walls around them and also built places to keep their sheep and goats.

37The tribe of Reuben rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38Sibmah, as well as the towns that used to be known as Nebo and Baal-Meon. They renamed all those places.

39The clan of Machir from the tribe of East Manasseh went to the region of Gilead, captured its towns, and forced out the Amorites. 40So Moses gave the Machirites the region of Gilead, and they settled there.

41Jair from the Manasseh tribe captured villages and renamed them “Villages of Jair”.

42Nobah captured the town of Kenath with its villages and renamed it Nobah.

Israel's journey from Egypt to Moab

1As Israel travelled from Egypt under the command of Moses and Aaron, 2Moses kept a list of the places where they camped, just as the LORD had instructed. Here is the record of their journey:

3-4Israel left the Egyptian city of Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month. This was the day after the LORD had punished Egypt's gods by killing the firstborn sons in every Egyptian family. So while the Egyptians were burying the bodies, they watched the Israelites proudly leave their country.

5After the Israelites left Rameses, they camped at Succoth, 6and from there, they moved their camp to Etham on the edge of the desert. 7Then they turned back towards Pi-Hahiroth, east of Baal-Zephon, and camped near Migdol. 8They left Pi-Hahiroth, crossed the Red Sea, then walked three days into the Etham Desert and camped at Marah. 9Next, they camped at Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. 10They left Elim and camped near the Red Sea, 11then turned east and camped along the western edge of the Sinai Desert. 12-14From there they went to Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, where they had no water. 15They left Rephidim and finally reached the Sinai Desert.

16-36As Israel travelled from the Sinai Desert to Kadesh in the Zin Desert, they camped at Kibroth-Hattaavah, Hazeroth, Rithmah, Rimmon-Perez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah, Mount Shepher, Haradah, Makheloth, Tahath, Terah, Mithkah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene-Jaakan, Hor-Haggidgad, Jotbathah, Abronah, Ezion-Geber, and finally Kadesh. 37When they left Kadesh, they came to Mount Hor, on the border of Edom.

38That's where the LORD commanded Aaron the priest to go to the top of the mountain. Aaron died there on the first day of the fifth month, forty years after the Israelites left Egypt. 39He was one hundred and twenty-three years old at the time.

40It was then that the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Southern Desert of Canaan, heard that Israel was headed that way.

41-47The Israelites left Mount Hor and headed towards Moab. Along the way, they camped at Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, Iye-Abarim in the territory of Moab, Dibon-Gad, Almon-Diblathaim, at a place near Mount Nebo in the Abarim Mountains, 48and finally in the lowlands of Moab across the River Jordan from Jericho. 49Their camp stretched from Beth-Jeshimoth to Acacia.

Numbers 31:1-33:49CEVOpen in Bible reader

Light

21Jesus also said:

You don't light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don't you put a lamp on a lampstand? 22There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. 23If you have ears, pay attention!

24Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated—and even worse. 25Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don't have anything will lose what little they have.

Another story about seeds

26Again Jesus said:

God's kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn't understand how. 28It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.

A mustard seed

30Finally, Jesus said:

What is God's kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.

The reason for teaching with stories

33Jesus used many other stories when he spoke to the people, and he taught them as much as they could understand. 34He did not tell them anything without using stories. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

A storm

35That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let's cross to the east side.” 36So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. 37Suddenly a storm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.

38Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don't you care that we're about to drown?”

39Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.

40Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don't you have any faith?”

41Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Mark 4:21-41CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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