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Numbers 31 – God’s Vengeance on the Enemies of His People

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Picking up from 25:17-18, the Lord instructed Moses to destroy the Midianites for their efforts to destroy Israel. Moses did not command the entire army of 601,730 Israelite men of war for the task but only 12,000; 1,000 from each tribe. Phineas the priest led them–appropriate given his role in destroying the Midian scheme against them (25:6-15). The result was a complete, dominating victory over Midian’s five kings, killing every man among them, including Balaam, who had continued with them.

The spoils of war were presented to Moses, Eliezar, and all Israel. Moses reproved the officers for letting all the women live, for through their sensual seduction to immorality they were the means of Israel’s trouble at Peor. Moses thus commanded their deaths as well, fulfilling God’s vengeance against Midian.

Instructions were given for purifying of the army and the plunder. The plunder was divided among the men of war and Israel, with tribute offerings given to the Lord.

Last, the army officers gave a special tribute offering to the Lord to praise and thank him, for not one Israelite warrior died.


  1. The Lord punishes those who trouble his people.
  2. God always fulfills his promises. He promised Israel none would stand against them in battle, and that a small handful of Israelites would put an army to flight (Lev 26:8).
  3. God versus the world is never a fair fight. Victory belongs to the Lord.
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