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CHAPTER IX.

Numbers xxxi.

9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.

10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles with fire.

12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.

14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.

15 And Moses said unto them, have ye saved all the women alive?

16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel. through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor. and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.

17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man.

18 But all the women children, that have not known a man keep alive for yourselves.

25 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying.

26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of beast, thou, and Eleazar the priest. and the chief fathers of the congregation:

3z And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

32 And the, booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,

33 And threescore and twelve thousand beeves.

34 And threescore and one thousand asses.

35 And thirty and two thousand persons in of women that had not known man.

IT appears from the enumeration here of the booty, that the Israelites took in this war against the Midianites seventy-two thousand beeves, six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, sixty-one thousand asses and thirty-two thousand women virgins, beside the women and children killed, (as they said) by God's order. The thirty-two thousand women and women children were given to the soldiers and the priests. Why should the social purity societies in England and America who believe in the divine origin of all Scripture object to the use of women children by their statesmen and soldiers when the custom was permitted to the chosen people of Israel? True, the welfare of the priests, lawgivers and soldiers was carefully guarded in selecting for them the purest of the daughters of the Midianites.

Surely such records are enough to make the most obstinate believer doubt the divine origin of Jewish history and the claim of that people to have been under the special guidance of Jehovah. {p. 120} Their claim to have had conversations with God daily and to have acted under His commands in all their tergiversations of word and action is simply blasphemous. We must discredit their pretensions, or else the wisdom of Jehovah himself. "Talking with God," at that period was a mere form of speech, as "tempted of the devil" was once in the records of our courts. Criminals said "tempted of the devil, I did commit the crime." This chapter places Moses and Eleazar the priest, in a most unenviable light according to the moral standard of any period of human history. Verily the revelations in the Pall Hall Gazette a few years ago, pale before this wholesale desecration of women and children. Bishop Colenso in his exhaustive work on the Pentateuch shows that most of the records therein claiming to be historical facts are merely parables and figments of the imagination of different writers, composed at different periods, full of contradictions, interpolations and discrepancies.

He shows geologically and geographically that a flood over the whole face of the earth was a myth. He asks how was it possible to save two of every animal, bird and creeping thing on both continents and get them safely into the ark and back again to their respective localities. How could they make their way from South America up north through the frigid zone and cross over the polar ices to the eastern continent and carry with them the necessary food to which they had been accustomed, they would all have perished with the cold before reaching the Arctic circle. While the animals from the northern latitudes would all perish with heat before reaching the equator. What a long weary journey the animals, birds and fowls would have taken from Japan and China to Mount Ararat. The parable as an historical fact is hedged with impossibilities and so is the whole journey of forty years from Egypt to Canaan; but if we make up our minds to believe in miracles then it is plain sailing from Genesis to the end of Deuteronomy, Both Ezra and Jeremiah are said to have written the last book of the Pentateuch, and some, question whether Moses was the author of either. Bishop Colenso also questions the arithmetical calculations of

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the historians in regard to the conquest of the Midianites, as described in the book of Numbers.]

E. C. S.

But how thankful we must be that we are no longer obligated to believe, as a matter of fact, of vital consequence to our eternal hope, each separate statement contained in the Pentateuch, such for instance, as the story related in Numbers xxxi!--where we are told that a force of twelve thousand Israelites slew all the males of the Midianites, took captive all the females and children, seized all their cattle and flocks, (seventy-two thousand oxen, sixty one thousand asses, six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep,) and all their goods, and burnt all their cities, and all their goodly castles, without the loss of a single man,--and then, by command of Moses, butchered in cold blood all the women, except "the women-children and virgins, to be given to the priests and soldiers."

They amounted to thirty-two thousand, mostly, we suppose, under the age of sixteen. We may fairly reckon that there were as many more under the age of forty, and half as many more above forty, making altogether eighty thousand females, of whom, according to the story, Moses ordered forty-eight thousand to be killed, besides (say) twenty thousand young boys. The tragedy of Cawnpore, where three hundred were butchered, would sink into nothing, compared with such a massacre, if, indeed, we were required to believe it.

The obvious intention of Moses, as shown in these directions, was to keep the Jewish race from amalgamation. But the great lawgiver seems to have ignored the fact, or been ignorant of it, that transmission of race qualities is even greater through the female line than through the male, and if they kept the women children for themselves they were making sure the fact that in days to come there would be Jewish descendants who might be Jews in name, but, through the law of heredity, aliens in spirit. The freedom of the natural law will make itself evident, for so-called natural law is divine.

P. A. H.

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Zipporah the wife of Moses was a Midianite, Jethro her father was a priest of some sagacity and consideration. When he met Moses in the desert he gave him valuable advice about the government of his people, which the great lawgiver obeyed.

The sons of Zipporah and Moses, Gershon and Eliezer, were therefore of Midianite blood, yet Moses sent an army of twelve thousand armed for war; a thousand of each tribe, with orders to slay every man. If the venerable Jethro was still alive he must have been murdered by his grandsons and their comrades. This is a most extraordinary story. If after the men, women and male children were all killed, thirty thousand maidens and young girls still remained, the Midianites must have been too large a tribe to have been wholly destroyed by twelve thousand Israelites, unless the Jewish God fought the battle.

L. D. B.

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