It is a rather horrific tale in Numbers 31 in the Hebrew Bible.

The 12,000 Hebrew warriors kill all the male Midianites including five kings (Numbers 31:7-8); however, not one Hebrew warrior goes missing (Numbers 31:49).  I have to ask myself if this really could have happened.  Well, possibly.  If the Midianites suffered a surprise attack, then maybe it did happen that way.  They were butchered by the Hebrews who had no losses.

Moses did not want the warriors to bring home captive women unless they were virgins.  So all the women who did not appear to be virgins were killed (Numbers 31:17-18).  This is where the tale gets even stranger because how could anyone know who was a virgin?  Is this tale historical or just a patriarchal fantasy?  Also all the male children were killed.

This killing is nothing to be proud of.

The result was there were supposedly 32,000 Midianite virgins who were the spoils of war.  How did the Hebrew wives and mothers react to these virgins that their men brought home?  Welcomed with open arms no doubt.  Again, this sounds like fantasy to me.

Not that this attack on the Midianites is a war.  More likely a sneak attack by a militia, pillaging, stealing, burning.  The Hebrews preyed on their neighbors.  Why?  Were the Hebrews unable to sustain their own society without acting like terrorists, killing men, women, and children?

What role did the new Midianite virgin slaves play in Jewish society?  Did they become ancestors to a race of oppressed people within the Jewish community?  Or were they assimilated?

This tale of virgins and other booty (sheep, goats, oxen, and donkeys) raises the question of whether 12,000 men could successfully control 32,000 virgins, and hundreds of thousands of livestock.  On video, I’ve seen sheep bolt and stampede, and I assure you, they run very fast and no man would be able to keep up with them for long if they stampeded.  They run as a group and with luck, the group can be found again.  How did the Hebrew warriors successfully move so much booty – herding sheep and goats, plus donkeys and slower moving oxen, while simultaneously keeping custody of the virgins?  Many of the men would have been experienced sheep herders, but the huge numbers given for the booty make success problematic.  Maybe they roped the virgins together so they could not wander off?

Many of the numbers are rounded off to the nearest 500 or 1,000.  I don’t suppose anyone really counted every last sheep or virgin, if they were counted at all.

One reason this tale of virgins seems non-historical, is that the numbers given for the booty add up to totals which have factors of 70, which is a special number in the Bible.  The booty numbers are made-up to produce this factor of 70??

All booty:

675,000 sheep [goats omitted in original] + 72,000 oxen + 61,000 donkeys + 32,000 virgins = 840,000; factor 70 x 12

Warriors’ share is half:

337,500 sheep and goats + 36,000 oxen + 30,500 donkeys + 16,000 virgins = 420,000; factor 70

Levite share in warriors’ share:

1 in 500 given to Levites (675 sheep and goats + 72 oxen + 61 donkeys + 32 virgins = 840; factor 70 x 12)

Community’s share is half:

337,500 sheep and goats + 36,000 oxen + 30,500 donkeys + 16,000 virgins = 420,000; factor 70;

Levite share in community’s share:

1 in 50 given to Levites (6750 sheep and goats + 720 oxen + 610 donkeys + 320 virgins = 8,400; factor 70 x 12)

Also contributing to my disbelief in this tale is the fact that these booty totals produce what I have termed the Sower’s Sevens (70 x 7), when manipulated with Sower’s parable numbers (100-60-30 and the reverse 30-60-100).

There is already a factor of 7 present in the booty totals; however I get two instances of 70 x 7, and while I have discovered more than 40 examples of documents that yield a 70 x 7, only in the Book of Numbers have I gotten a double instance of 70 x 7 from one number set before.  So I’m willing to write this up and post as possibly significant.  The emergent 7-cubed compensates for the seven factor in the number set, so overall, a 70 x 7 is produced.

As with Numbers chapters 1, 2, and 26 ( ), the 70 x 7 is revealed only after altering the order of the numbers.  The Levite shares are subtracted out as follows:


100 x (420,000 – 840) = 41,916,000

60 x 840,000 = 50,400,000

30 x (420,000 – 8,400) = 12,348,000

Sum of products = 104,664,000; factor 70 x 7 x 12


30 x (420,000 – 840) = 12,574,800

60 x 840,000 = 50,400,000

100 x (420,000 – 8,400) = 41,160,000

Sum of products = 104,134,800; factor 70 x 7 x 7 x 12 (includes 7-cubed)

I strongly suspect that the supposed booty figures have been fabricated in order to produce the 70 x 7 x 12.  A fiction.

I already have accumulated more than 40 examples of Sower’s Sevens that I found in various documents (Bible, etc.), and I feel that must be going against the odds, although I can’t prove it.

And in this case, what are the odds of getting a factor of 49 to appear twice from the same number set?  What are the odds of getting two doubles in the same Book of Numbers?  Not probable the number sets are historical; rather, they are fabricated to produce the ‘special’ 70 x 7.

The biblical “70 x 7” is printed in Matthew 18:22 (NRSV footnote).  The biblical “70 x 7” is also found printed in Genesis 4:24.  This 70 x 7 is the special number which emerges when I apply the Sower’s Parables numbers.   Also 12 emerges in this case, another special number in the Bible.

The Sower’s Parables numbers can be found at: (1) Matthew 13:8 (100, 60, 30); (2) Matthew 13:23 (100, 60, 30); (3) Mark 4:8 (30, 60, 100); (4) Mark 4:20 (30, 60, 100); and (5) Luke 8:8 (100).

No one is edified except to be horrified by this supposedly “sacred” tale of rape and pillage in Numbers 31.  Let’s remember this violence and all the violence against indigenous peoples and domestic animals in the Hebrew Bible, so we can condemn it.  Surely there is no god in heaven worthy of the name who would order people to attack, murder, and steal.

Numbers chapter 31 could never be part of my spirituality.  Gandhi reportedly said he had read the Hebrew Bible, but “Where is the religion in it?”  In my book, raping virgins and stealing sheep is nothing but a crime, not religion.  “Religion is outraged when outrage is done in its name.”  If you want something, just snatch it.  A fantasy.  This can hardly be the approach of adults who have real spirituality.

Because the booty numbers, like the censuses’ numbers, produce the Sower’s Sevens and are thus not likely to be historical, I strongly suspect this entire tale is bogus and the virgin-snatching never happened.  The tale is perhaps propaganda.

Posted May 22, 2018