Matot

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Vows to God

A vow is a conditional promise, whereas an oath is a self-imposed promise with no conditions.  Four situations are described here:  1) A man’s vow is always sacred; 2) The vow of a young woman still under her father’s covering can be disallowed by her father; 3) The vow of a married woman can be disallowed by her husband; 4) The vow of a divorced or widowed woman is sacred.  If the father / husband does not immediately disallow the woman’s vow, then it is sacred and they are both held accountable.  How much better would this world be today if every person adhered to this standard?

Defeat of the Midianites

As Israel prepares to enter the Promised Land, they have some unfinished business on the east side of the Jordan: God has declared war on the Midianites for using their young women to seduce the young Israelite men.  The Midianites are a large nation and have a huge army.  But God shows His Might by restricting the Israelite army to 12,000 men – 1,000 from each tribe.  There is no quantity of men nor battle strategy that Midian can use to defeat Israel.  With God on Israel’s side, who can defeat them?  Every single Midian soldier is killed  not one Israelite soldier is lost.  What an Awesome God!!

The Spoils of Victory

The victorious Israelite army returns with their spoils of the battle. Now the men and the spoils must be “made clean” with the Water of Purification.  When Moses sees that they have brought back alive all the women and children, he reminds them (in no uncertain terms) that it was those very women who had just seduced them.  Moses allows only the virgin girls to be spared alive.

2½ Tribes East of the Jordan

The heads of the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh make a proposal to Moses: Because they believe the land is perfect for their flocks, they want to settle on the east side and not cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land. Offering to leave their families and flocks there, they promise to send their best fighting men along with the rest of the tribes and to not stop fighting until all the land of Canaan is conquered.  So Moses agrees to allow the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh can settle east of the Jordan.

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