BOOTY. Goods taken from a defeated enemy. In the law as given through Moses, very different arrangements were made for varying circumstances. In the case of some cities whose people were extremely wicked, everything was to be “devoted” to the Lord; i.e., it was to be destroyed absolutely so as not to be used by anyone, except for some metallic vessels that could be sterilized by fire (Josh.6.18-Josh.6.21). Persons could sometimes be enslaved (Deut.20.14), but in other cases they had to be utterly destroyed (Deut.20.16-Deut.20.18). The purpose here was to prevent the pagans from teaching their abominations to God’s people Israel (cf. 1Sam.15.1-1Sam.15.35, where Saul’s hypocritical half-obedience brought ruin on himself and his house).
The very practical question as to the division of the booty was solved partly by custom, as when Abram freely devoted a tenth of the spoil to the Lord by giving it to Melchizedek (Gen.14.20), and partly by legislation, as when David ordered that booty be shared equally by those who because of weariness could not continue in battle (1Sam.30.21-1Sam.30.25).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
"Booty" is the translation of baz or baz, usually rendered "prey" and "spoil" (Jer 49:32); of malqoach, "prey," "booty" (Nu 31:32, "the booty--the rest of the prey," the Revised Version (British and American) "the prey, over and above the booty," baz); of meshiccah, "spoil" (Hab 2:7; Ze 1:13; the Revised Version (British and American) "spoil"); of opheleia, "gain" (2 Macc 8:20). "Booty respects what is of personal service to the captor; spoils whatever serves to designate his triumph; prey includes whatever gratifies the appetite and is to be consumed" (Crabb, English Synonymes). Persons (for slaves, etc.) might be part of the booty. See also SPOIL.