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is to be explained one of the most decisive passages in point: “ Ye are all,” it is said Deut. 29: 10, “ standing to-day before the Lord your God, your heads, your tribes, your elders, your officers, every man of Israel; your children, your wives, and thy stranger who is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water.” That Moses had at that time actually convoked an assembly, is evident from 29: 2. This, however, could be composed only of the representatives of those enumerated; for what business, for instance, had little children in a national assembly ? Through the representatives, who were the delegates of the people, the latter took part in the assembly; and from them they afterwards learned the subjects and results of the legislative discussions. This passage is particularly important; the idea of representing the absent by those who are present, being indicated in it. “ Not with you alone,” says the lawgiver (29: 14 sq.), “ do I make this covenant and this oath; but with him who stands with us to-day before the Lord our God, and with him who is not with us to-day;" consequently, also with generations to come (v. 25). These are represented by the generation of the present, just as, in the national assembly, the absent of the living generation are represented by those who are present. The passage begins, indeed, with saying, “your heads, your tribes;” yet it is mani. fest that the entire tribes cannot be meant, as it would, in that case, be needless to mention, in addition, the heads, elders, and officers. The word “ tribes" is added only by way of illustration. It explains more particularly the term "heads,” and calls to mind the heads or princes proper of the tribes; both of these titles being likewise applied, in Num. 1: 16, to the twelve princes of the tribes. Thus, too, it is said in respect to Moses (Deut. 33:5)? : “ In Jeshurun (surname
Many commentators, both Christian and Jewish. refer the word "King"? i fied, on the ground of the improbability of Moses assuming such a title in a t"ee state. They suppose, therefore, that the word “Moses” in the prereline verse (4), crept in by the pen of some transcriber; or, that the whole of the 4th Tere is thrown in parcnthetically as the language of Israel. But the anthor's explanation of the word “King” (see above), removes the objection againse reComing it to loses, and does no violence to the connection of the two verses.
of Israel) he was king (i. e. supreme guide and regent), when there assembled the heads of the people, together the tribes of Israel.” Here, of course, the parallelism, “ tribes," is nothing more than the “ heads" of Israel. It seems, therefore, that in the passage under consideration (Deut. 29: 10), the threefold dignity is specified, by virtue of which the representation of the people could be effected. This threefold dig. nity was that of the twelve princes of tribes, that of the elders, and that of the officers.
§ 3. The mode of representation was closely related to the organization of the people. The whole nation, as was shown in the preceding chapter, was divided into distinct,
greater or smaller, bodies (such as tribes, families, households, i etc.. With reference to this organic division, three bodies of representatives were chosen. These were, on various occasions, at the head of the people, represented them in the assembly; or, when measures of general interest were to be adopted, assisted Moses, who was their supreme leader. When the people are to be numbered (for the purpose of ascertaining the number of men able to bear arms), the twelve princes of the tribes are expressly named (Num. 1: 5–16) as assistants of Moses and Aaron in this undertaking. These princes, of whom there was one for every tribe, are more particularly described (Num. 1:16) as the “ deputed of the congregation.” That this designation, however, did not belong to them exclusively, and that the number of those who appeared in the general assembly as the representatives of the people, was much greater, is evident from Num. 16: 2. For here the 250 men who conspired with Korah against Moses and Aaron, are all said to have been " princes of the congregation, deputed of the assembly.” They must, accordingly, have been the most distinguished fathers of families, called also sometimes elders (Num. 11: 16. Deut. 29: 10. 31:28), and making their appearance while yet in Egypt (Ex. 12: 21). The full assembly of the most distinguished
1 The tribe of Joseph, being divided into two divisions, had two representatives. The tribe of Levi, on the other hand, is omitted; it being permanently exempt from military service.
men of all the tribes, is called Moëd. This word properly signifies a “fixed appointment” of time or place. The persons assembled constitute the Edah,' i.e. the “congregation," assembled according to this fixed manner. Hence, those men (see above), as being the deputed of sto) the assembly or congregation,4 are respectively denominated a princes of the congregation " (Nesië Eda).5 Another term applied to those who assembled upon such deputation or convocation, is the word Kahal. 6 This term also signifies assembly; compare the 12th chapter of Exodus, where (v. 3) mention is made of the “ congregation of Israel," and then (v. 21) the phrase “ elders of Israel” substituted, with the 31st chapter of Deut., where (v. 28) the “ elders of your tribes and your officers” are first spoken of, and then (v 30)-the phrase " the whole assembly (Kahal] of Israel,” used instead. The two different terms, therefore, are in each case identical in sense, the phrase " congregation or assembly of Israel” signifying the people of Israel present through their representatives.
We have now, then, become acquainted with a twofold council — a small one composed of the princes of the tribes, and a large one composed of all the deputed. These two assemblies, moreover, are to be respectively convoked by different signals, described Num. 10: 3, 4. When simple blasts of the trumpet are heard, the great (congregational) council is to assemble; but when long protracted notes are sounded, the council of princes only shall convene. (See chap. 94. $ 4.)
§ 4. In addition to these, a third body of men was chosen. The number of this body was not so small as that of the chief princes of the tribes, nor so large as that of the joint
2178. 3 Num. 27:21. Here the whole congregation (Edah) is expressly distinguished from * all the children of Israel," and is manifestly designed to denote only the committee, or council.
4 Kerië Moëd or Haëdah, 7 or 7390 (8997) punce. The word op being derived from sp, “ to call,” signifies those called or deputed, and not, as the English version has it, “renowned ” or “famous.”] – Trans.
5 Num. 1: 16.· 16: 2. Comp. T: 18, where, in addition to the princes, the whole congregation is convoked; since, in order to obtain an exact list of births, it was expedient to confer with the respective heads of families.
body of representatives. It constituted, as it were, the elite chosen from among the latter. - The Lord said to Moses : Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, of whom thou knowest that they are the elders of the people and their officers. Take these to the tabernacle of assembly, that they may stand there with thee. I shall speak with thee, and shall take of the spirit which is upon thee and put it upon them, that they may bear with thee the burden of the people, so that thou mayest not bear it alone.” 1 These seventy men were, accordingly, selected from the number of those who were already recognized as elders of the people, and as acting in the capacity of magistrates (Deut. 1: 15). They are to be vested with their new dignity as men deputed and inspired by God; and are henceforth to stand by the side of Moses, and share with him the burden of public affairs. Here, then, we have a permanent senate, composed of a definite number of men in constant activity. This was the body which regularly accompanied Moses as his council and aid. The advantages of this associate body must be evident. For the unanimous voice of the oldest and most esteemed men of the nation, the confidence which they put in the measures adopted relative to the people, could not fail to produce a great moral effect upon all. They exercised, as it were, a perpetual mediation between the interests of the people on the one hand, and the highest aims and purposes of the legislator and executive on the other. This senate of seventy is, in all probability, alluded to when the elders, during the conspiracy of Korah, are men. tioned as accompanying Moses (Num. 16: 25). Still, every
I Num. 11: 16, 17; comp. vs. 24 seq. Comp. Ex. 24: 1, 9, where “serenty of the elders of Israel” are thus early mentioned.
. According to JANIN (Arch. II. 1, p. 59) it would follow from Num. 26: 3—50, that the then existing number of chief families was fifty-nine; and that the heads of these, together with the twelve princes of the tribes, constituted a College of seventy-one. But if we count accurately, the result will be different. For, in numbering the families, we must take into account only the large sub-divisions there given, and not the main divisions. JAIN has, perhaps, overlooked this circumstance. However, the passage quoted shows, at all events, the probable correspondence of the number of chosen elders with the number of chief families.
thing goes to show that this newly constituted council was established to exercise a moral influence only, and not to supply the place of the full assembly of national representatives. On the contrary, the power of representing the people, and of acknowledging the force of legislative measures, continued, subsequently as well as previously, in the hands of the proper representatives. Their number, which probably included the seventy elders, was much more considerable; it being, in general, not limited, and increasing in proportion to the population. When, therefore, at the revolt of Korah, the elders of Israel, i. e. as is very likely, the seventy, are gathered around Moses (Num. 16: 25), it nevertheless follows, from v. 2, that the greater council still continued to exist at the same time; the 250 being said to have belonged to it.
$ 5. The different elements constituting the general assembly which Moses addressed, whenever he desired to invest any measure with legal force, and make it binding upon all the people, are regularly and carefully mentioned. It may not be unimportant to examine these more particularly.
They are, according to Deut. 29: 10, as follows: heads of tribes, elders, and officers. The assembly before which the daughters of Zelophehad appeared, is described thus (Num. 27: 2) : “ Moses, the priest Eleazar, the princes, and the congregation.” The last evidently includes, in this place, the two elements, made distinct in Deut. 29: 10, elders and offi. cers. Compare also Deut. 31: 28: “ Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers." In subsequent narratives we find a fourth element added to the three already given; as, for instance, Joshua (23: 2) calls together as the representatives of " all Israel,” the elders, heads, judges, and officers. Here, then, judges are also mentioned. These are,
' In Deut. 27: 1, it is said that Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people. The command in question was only in regard to one particular ordinance, viz. that of erecting monuments on entering the land of Palestine. But provided that the elders here alluded to are indeed the seventy, vet it is reason. able to suppose that the command in question was first communicated to the great assembly, before being made incumbent on all the people.