Numbers 31:54
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And Moses and Eleazar the priest received the gold from the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tent of meeting, as a memorial for the people of Israel before the LORD.

King James Bible
And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.

American Standard Version
And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tent of meeting, for a memorial for the children of Israel before Jehovah.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And that which was received they brought into the tabernacle of the testimony, for a memorial of the children of Israel before the Lord.

English Revised Version
And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the tent of meeting, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands, and of hundreds, and brought it into the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD.

Numbers 31:54 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Sacred Oblations of the Officers. - When the officers reviewed the men of war who were "in their hand," i.e., who had fought the battle under their command, and found not a single man missing, they felt constrained to give a practical expression to their gratitude for this miraculous preservation of the whole of the men, by presenting a sacrificial gift to Jehovah; they therefore brought all the golden articles that they had received as booty, and offered them to the Lord "for the expiation of their souls" (see at Leviticus 1:4), namely, with the feeling that they were not worthy of any such grace, and not "because they had done wrong in failing to destroy all the enemies of Jehovah" (Knobel). This gift, which was offered as a heave-offering for Jehovah, consisted of the following articles of gold: אצעדה, "arm-rings," according to 2 Samuel 1:10 (lxx χελιδῶνα; Suidas: χελιδόναι κοσμοὶ περὶ τοὺς βραχιόνας, καλοῦνται δὲ βραχιάλια); צמיד, bands, generally armlets (Genesis 24:22, etc.); טבּעת, signet-rings; עגיל, hoops, - according to Ezekiel 16:12, ear-rings; and כּוּמז, gold balls (Exodus 35:22). They amounted in all to 16,750 shekels; and the men of war had received their own booty in addition to this. This gift, presented on the part of the officers, was brought into the tabernacle "as a memorial of the children of Israel before Jehovah" (cf. Exodus 30:16); that is to say, it was placed in the treasury of the sanctuary.

The fact that the Israelites did not lose a single man in the battle, is certainly a striking proof of the protection of God; but it is not so marvellous as to furnish any good ground for calling in question the correctness of the narrative.

(Note: Rosenmller has cited an example from Tacitus (Ann. xiii. 39), of the Romans having slaughtered all the foe without losing a single man on the capture of a Parthian castle; and another from Strabo (xvi. 1128), of a battle in which 1000 Arabs were slain, and only 2 Romans. And Hvernick mentions a similar account from the life of Saladin in his Introduction (i. 2, p. 452).)

The Midianites were a nomad tribe, who lived by rearing flocks and herds, and therefore were not a warlike people. Moreover, they were probably attacked quite unawares, and being unprepared, were completely routed and cut down without quarter. The quantity of booty brought home is also not so great as to appear incredible. Judging from the 32,000 females who had never lain with a man, the tribes governed by the five kings may have numbered about 130,000 or 150,000, and therefore not have contained much more than 35,000 fighting men, who might easily have been surprised by 12,000 brave warriors, and entirely destroyed. And again, there is nothing in the statement that 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 oxen, and 61,000 asses were taken as booty from these tribes, to astonish any one who has formed correct notions of the wealth of nomad tribes in flocks and herds. The only thing that could appear surprising is, that there are no camels mentioned.

But it is questionable, in the first place, whether the Midianites were in the habit of rearing camels; and, in the second place, if they did possess them, it is still questionable whether the Israelitish army took them away, and did not rather put to death all that they found, as being of no value to the Israelites in their existing circumstances. Lastly, the quantity of jewellery seized as booty is quite in harmony with the well-known love of nomads, and even of barbarous tribes, for ornaments of this kind; and the peculiar liking of the Midianites for such things is confirmed by the account in Judges 8:26, according to which Gideon took as much as 1700 shekels in weight of golden rings from the Midianites alone, beside ornaments of other kinds. If we take the golden shekel at 10 thalers (30 shillings), the value of the ornaments taken by the officers under Moses would be about 167,500 thalers (L.25,125). It is quite possible that the kings and other chiefs, together with their wives, may have possessed as much as this.

Numbers 31:54 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

a memorial

Numbers 16:40 To be a memorial to the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron...

Exodus 30:16 And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel...

Joshua 4:7 Then you shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD...

Psalm 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks to you, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises to your name.

Psalm 103:1,2 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name...

Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for your mercy, and for your truth's sake.

Psalm 145:7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of your great goodness, and shall sing of your righteousness.

Zechariah 6:14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah...

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you...

Acts 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said to him...

Cross References
Exodus 28:12
And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance.

Exodus 30:16
You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the LORD, so as to make atonement for your lives."

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Numbers 31:53
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