Numbers
1-2 Command to Take Vengeance on the Midianites 3-6 Who Should Go to the War 7-12 The Battle and Its Outcome 13-20 Further Commands from Moses 21-24 Requirements for Cleansing 25-31 How to Distribute the Booty 32-47 Distribution of the Booty 48-54 The Voluntary Gift of the Spoils
Command to Take Vengeance on the Midianites

1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people.”

Moses gets his last task here. Before the people can take possession of the blessings of the land, the people must take the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. The evil connections with these enemies must be broken, otherwise the blessing cannot be enjoyed. These connections are wicked in God’s eye and form an obstacle to His blessing. God does not allow His servant Moses to leave the world until he has seen the full revenge. We also see here that a servant is not taken away until after his task has been completed.

Midian is a brotherhood. He also descends from Abraham, but his mother is Ketura (Gen 25:1-21Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.2She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah.). They are neighbors of Moab and have connected themselves with them to destroy Israel (Num 22:44Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.; 25:1-151While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.2For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.3So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel.4The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.”5So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor.”6Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting.7When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand,8and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked.9Those who died by the plague were 24,000.10Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,11“Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.12Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace;13and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’”14Now the name of the slain man of Israel who was slain with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father’s household among the Simeonites.15The name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was head of the people of a father’s household in Midian.). On that basis God has pronounced His judgment on them (Num 25:16-1816Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,17“Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them;18for they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor.”) and now let it be executed by His people.

It is good to say again that the people of God have different kinds of struggles to fight. One of those kinds is the fight against Amalek. This is a defensive struggle that takes place in the wilderness. This struggle represents for us the daily struggle against which surrounds us in the world in which we live. Another kind of struggle is against the Canaanites. This is a struggle of attack, which takes place in the land to conquer it. This struggle represents the struggle we have to fight to master the spiritual blessings God has given us.

Here it is the struggle against Midian. This is a struggle of attack, which takes place in the wilderness. But there is a difference with the fight against Amalek. The fight against Amalek is inevitable. The one against Midian could have been prevented, but has become necessary because of the people’s own unfaithfulness. The people had connected with that enemy as a result of the teachings of Balaam.

It does happen that we have become enemies of the world because we have maintained friendly relationships with her. That friendship has become a trap for us. Nevertheless, God gives us a complete victory as soon as we start to regard the world as hostile. However, everything that has seduced us must be completely destroyed, without compromise.

This is what we also find in Christianity, for example when a Christian does not reside in the world as a stranger, but mixes with it, often with nice but unbiblical motives. We can have fun with the people of the world. But where is the limit? When we become aware that we have gone too far, we notice how much effort it takes to get rid of it. If we have gone into something where we don’t belong, it requires struggle to get out of it. That would not have been necessary if we had remained faithful.


Who Should Go to the War

3Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. 4A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war.” 5So there were furnished from the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war with them, and the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand.

The LORD speaks of the vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites (verse 11Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,). When Moses speaks of it, he speaks of the LORD’s vengeance (verse 33Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian.). A small part of the people must fight the enemy so that it is clear that God has given them victory (cf. Jos 7:11But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.). The whole people, every part of them, must have a share in that struggle. Each tribe furnishes the same number of men.

The leader is not Joshua but Phinehas, the priest. The circumstances of the failure of the people require that. A priest is the leader of this fight, because this fight must work the cleansing of the defilement that has come over Israel through the connection with Midian. Phinehas leads the battle because he has already distinguished himself before in the battle against Midian (Num 25:7-87When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand,8and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked.). He has already used his sword once to judge Midian. If we let ourselves be carried away, away from God, and we want to go back, then Phinehas must be in front, with the sword. He is the man who knows the holiness of God.

Phinehas knows that the victory must come from the LORD. Therefore he has the trumpets with him, that the LORD may hear them (Num 10:99When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies.). Priests can sound the alarm and seek God’s help in this necessary battle. By “the holy vessels” are probably meant the trumpets. The fact that they are mentioned after that means that “the trumpets” are a more detailed description of these holy vessels. It seems unlikely that “the holy vessels” mean for example the Urim and the Thummim (Exo 28:3030You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.), because Phinehas was not yet the high priest.


The Battle and Its Outcome

7So they made war against Midian, just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed every male. 8They killed the kings of Midian along with the [rest of] their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword. 9The sons of Israel captured the women of Midian and their little ones; and all their cattle and all their flocks and all their goods they plundered. 10Then they burned all their cities where they lived and all their camps with fire. 11They took all the spoil and all the prey, both of man and of beast. 12They brought the captives and the prey and the spoil to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest and to the congregation of the sons of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan [opposite] Jericho.

All men are killed. That not all the people have been killed we see later, when Midian is again a formidable enemy of the people (Jdg 6:1-31Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years.2The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.3For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them.). The five kings are heads of Midian tribes. In Numbers 25 Zur is called “chief” (Num 25:1515The name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was head of the people of a father’s household in Midian.), and in Joshua 13 “princes” is mentioned (Jos 13:2121even all the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses struck with the chiefs of Midian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who lived in the land.).

Also Balaam cannot escape judgment. His name is associated with that of the five kings. It seems that he was their advisor. He falls with the enemies of God’s people with whom he has joined. He has wished to die the death of the upright (Num 23:1010“Who can count the dust of Jacob,
Or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
And let my end be like his!”
), but he has continued to live in his wickedness. He did not want to join the people of the righteous. What he is separated from in his life, he is separated from in his death and will remain so forever.

In His grace God gives His people a great victory with much spoil. He fights for his people, because his honor is involved. If we are dragged along by false influences, it also involves God’s honor.


Further Commands from Moses

13Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went out to meet them outside the camp. 14Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15And Moses said to them, “Have you spared all the women? 16Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. 17Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. 18But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. 19And you, camp outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves, you and your captives, on the third day and on the seventh day. 20You shall purify for yourselves every garment and every article of leather and all the work of goats’ [hair], and all articles of wood.”

On the side of the people there is no loss (verse 4949and they said to Moses, “Your servants have taken a census of men of war who are in our charge, and no man of us is missing.), which is a proof that this battle is from and for God. Now the people still have to learn that evil must be radically eradicated. We must learn that too. The men are killed, because they are a great danger by their strength. But also the women must be killed, because their danger is even greater because of their temptation. It is they who have caused so much harm to the people. The virgins of Midian do not need to be killed. They have not lent themselves to fornication. That teaches us that we must distinguish in the exercise of judgment.

Furthermore, we learn that being engaged in evil, even though it is commissioned by the Lord, defiles. It is necessary to purify, to cleans and use the cleansing water. Reading God’s Word brings about that cleansing.


Requirements for Cleansing

21Then Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who had gone to battle, “This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded Moses: 22only the gold and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin and the lead, 23everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean, but it shall be purified with water for impurity. But whatever cannot stand the fire you shall pass through the water. 24And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may enter the camp.”

Everything that Israel has captured must be purified. The cleansing is done by putting it in the fire and then washing it with water. What cannot stand the fire should only be cleansed with water. The cleansing is carried out under the responsibility of Eleazar, who as a high priest must ensure that the cleansing is done strictly according to the prescription of Numbers 19 (Num 19:1-221Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,2“This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect [and] on which a yoke has never been placed.3You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.4Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.5Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned.6The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet [material] and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.7The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening.8The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening.9Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin.10The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns among them.11‘The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days.12That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, [and then] he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.13Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.14‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean for seven days.15Every open vessel, which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean.16Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died [naturally], or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days.17Then for the unclean [person] they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel.18A clean person shall take hyssop and dip [it] in the water, and sprinkle [it] on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying [naturally] or the grave.19Then the clean [person] shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe [himself] in water and shall be clean by evening.20‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean.21So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. And he who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening.22Furthermore, anything that the unclean [person] touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches [it] shall be unclean until evening.’”).

Nothing can be used by Israel without first going through the fire. The spoils that come from our unfaithfulness must also be cleansed to make them suitable for our own use. Everything that has been in the hands of Midian and is therefore unclean must be cleansed.

We can apply this to unbiblical practices of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These unbiblical practices are a consequence of our unfaithfulness. When baptism and supper are brought back to the foundation of the Bible, when they are cleansed of what is contrary to it, they can again be accepted as a blessing from God’s hand and used for His glory.

Fire and water must thus be applied to every truth we confess and every practice we connect to it in order to use it for God. The fire speaks of judgment, the water speaks of the Word of God. Fire consumes what cannot exist for God, water removes dirt and cleanses. Everything that has been under God’s judgment and is in accordance with God’s Word can be used for His glorification. If we get to this point, it is the result of the high priestly work of the Lord Jesus that He, as the true Eleazar, does for us. He leads us to see and to do everything so that God can accept it.


How to Distribute the Booty

25Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 26“You and Eleazar the priest and the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the congregation take a count of the booty that was captured, both of man and of animal; 27and divide the booty between the warriors who went out to battle and all the congregation. 28Levy a tax for the LORD from the men of war who went out to battle, one in five hundred of the persons and of the cattle and of the donkeys and of the sheep; 29take it from their half and give it to Eleazar the priest, as an offering to the LORD. 30From the sons of Israel’s half, you shall take one drawn out of every fifty of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys and of the sheep, from all the animals, and give them to the Levites who keep charge of the tabernacle of the LORD.” 31Moses and Eleazar the priest did just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

The booty must be divided into two parts. One half is for the warriors, the other half is for the people. The booty is not only for the warriors. David later acts in the same way (1Sam 30:21-2521When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow David, who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them.22Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead [them] away and depart.”23Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us.24And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”25So it has been from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.; cf. Jos 22:88and said to them, “Return to your tents with great riches and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and with very many clothes; divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.”). In proportion, the warriors get more. They have also experienced the difficulties, efforts and dangers of war.

The LORD makes sure that every Israelite can share in the joy of victory. He chooses who takes part in the war and honors them. He also wants to honor those who have stayed behind according to His sovereign will and who have faithfully fulfilled their task according to His will at their designated place.

Not everyone is equally capable of taking part in the battle. When believers achieve spiritual victories, the spoils must be shared with all. The spiritual riches one acquires must be shared with other believers.

Peter once made a fall. He has denied the Lord Jesus. The cause of this is the connection he has made with the world. He sat down in their midst (Lk 22:5555After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.). The Lord has even foretold this denial, but he said that Peter would convert from that evil way. He even connects to it a command for Peter: after that bitter experience Peter will become an instrument of blessing for others (Lk 22:31-3431“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded [permission] to sift you like wheat;32but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”33But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”34And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”). His letters are proof that he has carried out that task.

The warriors must also give part to the LORD. This part is for the benefit of the Levites. Their service is also dedicated to the priestly service. Levites are encouraged in their task as they share in the spoils. Our spiritual victories should contribute to the promotion of the Levite service and through them also to the priestly service.

Everything is connected to the tabernacle (verses 30,4730From the sons of Israel’s half, you shall take one drawn out of every fifty of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys and of the sheep, from all the animals, and give them to the Levites who keep charge of the tabernacle of the LORD.”47and from the sons of Israel’s half, Moses took one drawn out of every fifty, both of man and of animals, and gave them to the Levites, who kept charge of the tabernacle of the LORD, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.) where ultimately the spiritual gain of each victory ends up. There God is served and God’s people have fellowship with Him and with each other. The meetings of the believers are then places where believers come from richer than they came.


Distribution of the Booty

32Now the booty that remained from the spoil which the men of war had plundered was 675,000 sheep, 33and 72,000 cattle, 34and 61,000 donkeys, 35and of human beings, of the women who had not known man intimately, all the persons were 32,000. 36The half, the portion of those who went out to war, was [as follows]: the number of sheep was 337,500, 37and the LORD’s levy of the sheep was 675; 38and the cattle were 36,000, from which the LORD’s levy was 72; 39and the donkeys were 30,500, from which the LORD’s levy was 61; 40and the human beings were 16,000, from whom the LORD’s levy was 32 persons. 41Moses gave the levy [which was] the LORD’s offering to Eleazar the priest, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 42As for the sons of Israel’s half, which Moses separated from the men who had gone to war— 43now the congregation’s half was 337,500 sheep, 44and 36,000 cattle, 45and 30,500 donkeys, 46and the human beings were 16,000— 47and from the sons of Israel’s half, Moses took one drawn out of every fifty, both of man and of animals, and gave them to the Levites, who kept charge of the tabernacle of the LORD, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

The booty and its distribution are as follows:

Booty of sheep: 675,000
1. for the soldiers: 337,500 of which 675 (=1/1000 of 675,000) for the LORD
2. for the people: 337,500 of which 6,750 (=1/100 of 675,000) for the Levites

Booty of cattle: 72,000
1. for the soldiers: 36,000 of which 72 for the LORD
2. for the people: 36,000 of which 720 for the Levites

Booty of donkeys: 61,000
1. for the soldiers: 30,500 of which 61 for the LORD
2. for the people: 30,500 of which 610 for the Levites

Booty of people: 32,000
1. for the soldiers: 16,000 of whom 32 for the LORD
2. for the people: 16,000 of whom 320 for the Levites


The Voluntary Gift of the Spoils

48Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, approached Moses, 49and they said to Moses, “Your servants have taken a census of men of war who are in our charge, and no man of us is missing. 50So we have brought as an offering to the LORD what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD.” 51Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from them, all kinds of wrought articles. 52All the gold of the offering which they offered up to the LORD, from the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, was 16,750 shekels. 53The men of war had taken booty, every man for himself. 54So Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it to the tent of meeting as a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD.

A spontaneous action of the superiors takes place out of gratitude. They are impressed by the fact that no one has died. They do not attribute this to their own competence. Many have perished in Numbers 25 because of their unfaithfulness. Now that no one has perished, they give God the honor for it.

The Lord Jesus will also make sure that no one who belongs to Him will be lost (Jn 17:1212While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.). No one will be missed in eternal glory from all those who have fought for the Lord on earth. All who abide by the Word of God attain salvation. We see this in the picture in Acts 27, which concludes with: “And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land” (Acts 27:4444and the rest [should follow], some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.). The Lord Jesus will be praised for this for all eternity. This certainty will lead us now to worship Him in “the tent of meeting” (verse 5454So Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold from the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it to the tent of meeting as a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD.).

From spiritual leaders it may be expected to have more understanding of God’s goodness. Here it is even mentioned that these things are given to make atonement. It is exceptional that atonement is attributed to materials. That is always reserved for the blood.

However, there are exceptions. Atonement is also done in Numbers 16 by incense, although there is connection with the altar where the fire comes from (Num 16:46-4846Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense [on it]; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun!”47Then Aaron took [it] as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put [on] the incense and made atonement for the people.48He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked.). In Exodus 30, atonement takes place through silver (Exo 30:11-1611The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying,12“When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.13This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD.14Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the LORD.15The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD to make atonement for yourselves.16You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”). In order to exist for God, a price must be paid. Then someone becomes one of the numbered. Atonement means covering.

Normally that atonement has to do with sins, that they are covered. Here it is about God’s glory covering His people after they have failed. This is about recognizing that it is only His glory that matters and that we want to hide in it, even if it is due to causes which we ourselves are to blame for.

The gold is brought by Moses and Eleazar into the tent of meeting (cf. 1Chr 18:1111King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek.; 2Chr 15:1818He brought into the house of God the dedicated things of his father and his own dedicated things: silver and gold and utensils.). All experiences should enrich our meetings. Every meeting should reflect all the experiences we have had over the past week that have impressed us with God’s goodness and faithfulness and glory.

In the history of this chapter we see an illustration of Samson’s riddle: here something to eat comes out of the eater and something sweet comes out of the strong (Jdg 14:1414So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
But they could not tell the riddle in three days.
). What the enemy (the eater, the strong) wants to do to destroy the people, works out for the glory of God and blessing for His people (something to eat and something sweet).


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