Daily MannaWeekly ParashahDonationsTrinity DoctrineAudio

Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Mattot 42-4


Numbers 31:25-41

"You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured.

Num. 31:26 NIV

How were the Midianite virgins lifted up?

The Eternal commanded Moshe not only to count the booty of the war against Midian, but also to give tribute from it to the high priest and the Levites. They didn't have to count the goods though, but only the people and animals. That's why the Hebrew text reads literally: שׂא את ראשׁ מלקוח  sa et rosh malkoach – lift up the head of the booty.  

In a simple sense it means to take the person or animal into account, to make a census. But the same expression, “to lift up the head”, is an invitation for us to think that when a person is counted, taken into account, he/she is also lifted up. The feeling of no one counting on me can be very negative. That's why to be counted in is a way of being honoured.

The expression can also be understood as an elevation of spiritual or moral dignity. In this way we can also understand that not only the 32000 young virgins but also the animals that were captured in the war, were elevated to a higher level at the moment of being received in the people of Israel. It's not only a great honour for a person to be able to serve the priestly people, but also the one who does it is also spiritually and morally lifted up.

It must have been very painful and frustrating for the prisoner girls not only to have lost their families and homes but also to have to submit to and serve a strange people with language, culture and customs that were very different from theirs.

On the other hand, these daughters of Midian would learn good rules from the Torah and noble customs from the people of the covenant that would enable them to lift themselves up to a level of obedience to the Eternal that they would have never achieved in their place of origin. Definitely, the war against Midian was very painful for them, but in the long run the benefit was very high.

The first thing the Eternal commanded for these virgins was that their heads were lifted up. They didn't have to walk looking to the floor anymore; they were counted, taken into account, valued and delivered to the sacred service. Thus, humiliation was transformed into elevation.

Blessed be the Eternal for lifting up the fallen ones!


Flash Player Needed