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Numbers 1:2-3 tell you what eleph means and how it is used. "Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel; by tribe by house, or family all ...
The way I read it the "take vengeance" part includes both the battle and the removal of all of the followers of Balaam son of Beor just as it is written.
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