October 25, Numbers 31
Several things I note in this chapter. It begins with God telling Moses that it's time to settle accounts with the Midianites and then Moses is going to die. He's 120 years old and he's seen a lot of crap, it's possible that he welcomed going home. Now let's look at the vengence of God on the Midianites. We need to look at more than just this chapter and even this book of numbers to get a clearer picture. In verse 8 we're told that all of the leaders were killed and Balaam the son of Beor was also killed. This is the prophet that Balak tried to pay to curse Israel but wouldn't. Although the book of Numbers doesn't tell us, other historical writings do tell us that Balaam helped Balak devise a plan to entice Israel into idolatry and sexual immorality. Events happen between chapters 24 and 25 where Israel falls away from God. (Cited in Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14). To us it may seem cruel that God wanted them to kill all of the Midianites but they were essentially a cancer and if not totally removed they would simply infect Israel. Most of us have the view of God as loving and forgiving and that's true for those who repent and go to Him, but God is also just and sometimes God's justice includes a lot of people dieing.