Moses spoke to the heads of the Israelite tribes, saying: This is what the Lord has commanded: If a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips.
If a woman makes a vow to the Lord or assumes an obligation while still in her father’s household by reason of her youth, and her father learns of her vow or her self-imposed obligation and offers no objection, all her vows shall stand and every self-imposed obligation shall stand. But if her father restrains her on the day he finds out, none of her vows or self-imposed obligations shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her, since her father restrained her.
If she should marry while her vow or the commitment to which she bound herself is still in force, and her husband learns of it and offers no objection on the day he finds out, her vows shall stand and her self-imposed obligations shall stand. But if her husband restrains her on the day that he learns of it, he thereby annuls her vow which was in force or the commitment to which she bound herself; and the Lord will forgive her. The vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, however, whatever she has imposed on herself, shall be binding upon her. So, too, if, while in her husband’s household, she makes a vow or imposes an obligation on herself by oath, and her husband learns of it, yet offers no objection–thus failing to restrain her–all her vows shall stand and all her self-imposed obligations shall stand.
But if her husband does annul them on the day he finds out, then nothing that has crossed her lips shall stand, whether vows or self-imposed obligations. Her husband has annulled them, and the Lord will forgive her. Every vow and every sworn obligation of self-denial may be upheld by her husband or annulled by her husband. If her husband offers no objection from that day to the next, he has upheld all the vows or obligations she has assumed: he has upheld them by offering no objection on the day he found out. But if he annuls them after [the day] he finds out, he shall bear her guilt.
Those are the laws that the Lord enjoined upon Moses between a man and his wife, and as between a father and his daughter while in her father’s household by reason of her youth.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the Israelite people on the Midianites; then you shall be gathered to your kin.”
Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Let men be picked out from among you for a campaign, and let them fall upon Midian to wreak the Lord’s vengeance on Midian. You shall dispatch on the campaign a thousand from every one of the tribes of Israel.”
So a thousand from each tribe were furnished from the divisions of Israel, twelve thousand picked for the campaign. Moses dispatched them on the campaign, a thousand from each tribe, with Phinehas son of Eleazar serving as a priest on the campaign, equipped with the sacred utensils and the trumpets for sounding the blasts. They took the field against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and slew every male. Along with their other victims, they slew the kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. They also put Balaam son of Beor to the sword.
The Israelites took the women and children of the Midianites captive, and seized as booty all their beasts, all their herds, and all their wealth. And they destroyed by fire all the towns in which they were settled, and their encampments. They gathered all the spoil and all the booty, man and beast, and they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the whole Israelite community, at the camp in the steppes of Moab, at the Jordan near Jericho.
From Parshat Mattot-Masei. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.