Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.
“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them.
The Spiritual Fallout of Anger
The women of Midian had enticed and seduced the men of Israel into sin and idolatry. As a result, 24,000 Israelites died in a plague. God told Moses to take revenge on the Midianites for the damage they caused. In this war, the soldiers failed to fulfill God’s command. Although Moses’ anger came from a righteous place, we see in the verses that follow that his spiritual status suffered. After Moses’ angry rebuke, Eleazar, the High Priest had to instruct the people regarding the laws of purification of the vessels captured in the war. Moses had always gives instructions of the law to the people. Moses could not relay God’s command at this time because he had become angry, and the Divine Presence necessary to relay God’s command was inaccessible to him. When you feel anger beginning to burn, stop, take a deep breath, and turn to God. Tell God about your anger and work out a way to be constructive and not destructive.