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The Seventy Elders
by Wayne Blank
The seriousness of Moses' too-heavy workload was made evident when he asked The Lord to mercifully kill him rather than have him continue with the entire responsibility himself:
"I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray Thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in Thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness." (Numbers 11:14-15 KJV)
The Lord answered Moses' plea with the appointment of the seventy elders who would be given the Holy Spirit, the same as Moses:
"And The Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto The Tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone." (Numbers 11:16-17 KJV)
And so the seventy elders were established. When two of them, Eldad and Medad, seemed to be too zealous for the liking of those who were jealous for Moses' sake, the relieved-of-a-too-heavy-burden Moses assured them that all was well:
"And Moses went out, and told the people the words of The Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the Tabernacle. And The Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease."
Just before the people of Israel were formally given the Ten Commandments (God's people knew and observed The Decalogue long before that, in fact, always before that - see The Ten Commandments Before Sinai?) the seventy elders accompanied Moses, Aaron, Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu, and Joshua part way up onto Mount Sinai where all of them "saw God, and did eat and drink":
"And He said unto Moses, Come up unto The Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near The Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him."
Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ appoint a "Seventy" (sometimes translated as seventy two) also?