A couple things going on in todays readings from Numbers. First is some regulations surrounding oaths and vows made to God, when they can be broken and when they have to be enforced. Also when a woman takes a vow she was to be released from it if her husband or father disapproved in certain circumstances.
Then there’s the war with Midian. Remember they enticed the Israelites to worship Baal by sending what we’re essentially cultic prostitutes to them to get them to turn from God. This was all based on recommendations from Balaam so he was killed in this attack and so we’re all the men of Midian and any woman that was not a virgin. This all seems very harsh to us in today’s world, but it was a very harsh world back then and there was different rules and ethics to warfare.
The holy family goes to the temple on the 40th day after the birth of Jesus for the purification sacrifices as set out by the Law. They offer two turtle doves, and that’s one indications that they were counted among the poor. Also they dedicate Jesus at the temple according to the Law that says all first born males are to be dedicated to the Lord.
While in Jerusalem, they run into two very interesting people. Simeon was an old man, and he had received a revelation from God that he would live to see the messiah. Now standing at the temple he sees Jesus and his parents and praises God for it. He then tells Mary that a sword will pierce her as well. This certainly comes true when she stands by helplessly and watches her only son be brutally beaten and killed. I can’t imagine that level of suffering.
They also meet a prophetess names Anna who had been a widow for around 50-60 years. During that time she never left the temple, just staying there to pray and worship God. She rejoiced and thanked God that she also lived to see this day.