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Matot

  
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 31:6
 31:7
31:6 Moses sent forth the 1000 men from each tribe as an army along with Pinchas son of Eleazar the priest, who was in charge of the sacred articles and signal trumpets.
Vayishlach otam Moshe elef lamateh latsava otam ve'et-Pinchas ben-El'azar hakohen latsava uchley hakodesh vachatsotsrot hatru'ah beyado.
31:7 They mounted a surprise attack against Midian as God had commanded Moses, and killed all the [adult] males.
Vayitsbe'u al-Midyan ka'asher tsivah Adonay et-Moshe vayahargu kol-zachar.



Commentary:

as an army
  Or, ' ... along with Pinchas sons of Eleazar, the army priest' (HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). See next note.

Pinchas
  He was sent out as the priest anointed for war (Sotah 43a; Rashi). See Deuteronomy 20:2 (Yad, Melakhim 7:1). He was also the one who had begun the battle against Midian (Numbers 25:7; Rashi).

in charge
  (Sifri; Rashi). Literally, 'who had in his hand.'

sacred articles
  The ark (Sifri; Sotah 43b; Rashi). See note on Numbers 10:33. Others say that it was the priestly forehead plate (tzitz) mentioned in Exodus 28:36 (Rashi; Midrash Aggadah), or the Urim and Thumim (Exodus 28:30; Targum Yonathan). Or, 'the sacred vessels which were the trumpets' (Ralbag).

signal
  (Septuagint). Teruah in Hebrew, literally staccato.

trumpets
  See Numbers 10:9 (Midrash HaGadol). Others say that these were ram's horns (Sotah 43b; Tzafanath Paneach).

mounted a surprise attack
  (Saadia). Or, 'set themselves in battle array' (Septuagint), or, 'sieged' (Sifri). Josephus writes that the Midianites assembled an army and set up a fortified line on their borders (Antiquities 4:8:1).

adult
  (Ibn Ezra). See Numbers 31:9.





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