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We get the full count in Numbers 31:32 which returns us to our normal biblical state; i.e., disbelief.

Eleazarís 1/500th of the soldierís half of the spoils yields him 808 animals to slaughter (thatíll keep him busy!) and 32 virgin girls (thatíll keep him busy!). Itís too bad Eleazar didnít convert to Islam, he could have got 72 virgins in Paradise. The bible does the math for Elezar, but not for the Levites who would get 8,080 animals and 320 virgins. Amazingly, all of the spoils are evenly divisible by 50 and 500! Itís almost as if it were planned that way!

Iím not so much interested in the number of livestock since the Midianites were a pastoral people, the thing that gives me pause is the human count. Remember, the Israelite war-party consisted of 12,000 men. That means that the Midianites had almost three times as many little girls running around as Israelite invaders. This means there were probably an equal number of boys, thatís 32,000 little boys murdered at Mosesí command! But realistically, a good percentage of the children were probably killed in the invasion, so letís just round the 64,000 up to 70,000. If each family had 4 kids, thatís 17,500 parents. Add half of that for living grand-parents, and weíre looking at 26,250 adults among the Midianites, about 13,000 of which would be men.

So letís look at the military factors involved. Each side has about the same number of men fighting for them, but the Midianites have all their adult women as well. The Midianites were living in their homeland for generations and would have had a longterm infrastructure in place while the Israelites were just scavenging off the cities they sacked. The Midianites would also have defensive structures in place that the Israelites would have to over come. The Midianites were fighting for their homes and protecting their families while the Israelites were just fighting for wealth. So far, every advantage goes to the Midianites, but the Israelites have the element of surprise what with their cowardly unprovoked attack, but then, the Midianites didnít have to deal with a whole bunch of suicidal plagues from their god.

In the end, the advantage clearly goes to the Midianites, but, as we know, the Israelites won. This means that the Israelites probably suffered severe casualties with their underdog victory. Keep this in mind when you read tomorrowís post.



Great Tiger writes:


No, the Israelites would have few casualties, because Yahweh taught them the Kaio-ken technique so his genocidal worshipers could go Super Saiya-jin...


tussock writes:


Strictly speaking, the constant warfare would lead to them having far better training, command structures, and weaponry. There's only so much mechanical advantage to be had in the bronze age, but concentrated force applied repeatedly against a disorganised foe is just devastating.

The Midianites would mostly live spread out in communities of a couple hundred at best, and when thousands of hardened killers hit you at dawn from all sides there's usually not going to be any survivors.

Raiding warrior cultures bent on killing and slavery rather than in-place subjugation are simply devastating, and have often destroyed cultures many times their own size.


Oh the irony!