Our double Torah portion begins with rules regarding the binding nature of - and the nullification of - vows, particularly those made by women.
The Israelites successfully defeat and slay the Midianites, including the five kings of the region and Balaam, the sorcerer. Nevertheless, the warriors are chastised by Moses for sparing the Midianite women with whom the Israelites had recently engaged in idolatry and promiscuity. The army is sent out again to complete the mission. The spoils of war are divided.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of Menasseh possessed large herds and were desirous of settling on the conquered lands on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Permission is granted to them - provided they participate in the efforts to wrest the territory on the western side of the Jordan from the Canaanites. They agree and take a vow to this effect.
The various locales in which the Israelites encamped from the time of the Exodus until their arrival at the plains of Moab are enumerated.
Following an admonition to root out idolatry in Canaan upon its conquest, the land is divided by lot under the supervision of Joshua, Elazar and the leaders of the ten tribes whose peoples will occupy the territory west of the Jordan River.
Six Cities of Refuge are established - three on each side of the Jordan. These cities are to be given to the Levites and will serve as a place of sanctuary for anyone who has committed murder accidentally. Vengeful relatives of the deceased may not pursue these individuals into the Cities of Refuge.
One additional refinement is made to the laws of inheritance in order to maintain the tribal integrity of real property; in cases where daughters inherit their fathers' property, the heiresses may not marry men from other tribes.