Numbers 11:24-30

Numbers 11:24-30
Pentecost A27


24 So MosesA went out and told the peopleB the wordsC of the Lord;D and he gathered seventy eldersE of the people, and placed them all aroundF the tent.G 

Notes on verse 24

A “Moses” = mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
B “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
C “words” = dabar. Related to “told” in v24. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
D “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
E “elders” = enosh + zaqen. Enosh is from anash (to be weak or sick). It is human, humankind, or mortal. Zaqen is from the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
F “all around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
G “tent” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.

25 Then the Lord came down in the cloudH and spoke to him, and tookI some of the spiritJ that was on him and put it on the seventy elders;K and when the spirit restedL upon them, they prophesied.M But they did not do so again.

Notes on verse 25

H “cloud” = anan. May be from anan (cover, cloud over; figuratively, acting in a secret way, practicing magic or soothsaying). This is a cloud as something that covers the sky.
I “took” = atsal. 5x in OT. From the same as etsel (proximity, near, toward). This is to reserve, withhold, withdraw, or take. It can be to refuse, join, or separate.
J “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
K “elders” = ish + zaqen. Related to “elders” in v24. Ish is perhaps from enosh (see note E above). This is man, husband, another, or humankind. Zaqen is the same as “elders in v24.
L “rested” = nuach. This is to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait. It is rest and so implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense. This is perhaps the root verb of the name “Noah.”
M “prophesied” = naba. From nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. Older usages referred to raving, religious ecstasy that sometimes went along with music. In later usage, it was religious teachings that sometimes held prediction. Prophesying is speaking the truth of what is and where it will lead.

26 Two men remainedN in the camp,O one namedP Eldad,Q and the other named Medad,R and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 

Notes on verse 26

N “remained” = shaar. Properly, this is swelling up i.e. being left over, a remnant, remaining, being redundant.
O “camp” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.
P “named” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
Q “Eldad” = eldad. 2x in OT. From el (God, a god) + dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. This is Eldad, meaning “God has loved.”
R “Medad” = medad. 2x in OT. Related to “eldad” in v26. From the same as yadid (beloved, lovely, amiable); from the same as dod (see note Q above). This is Medad, meaning “affectionate.”

27 And a young manS ranT and toldU Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 

Notes on verse 27

S “young man” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.
T “ran” = ruts. This is to run or rush, divide quickly, bring swiftly. It can also refer to a footman or guard.
U “told” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.

28 And JoshuaV son of Nun,W the assistantX of Moses, one of his chosen men,Y said, “My lordZ Moses, stopAA them!” 

Notes on verse 28

V “Joshua” = yehoshua. Related to “Lord” in v24. From YHVH (see note above) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Joshua, meaning “the Lord is salvation.”
W “Nun” = nun. From nun (to increase, propagate using shoots, continue; figuratively, being perpetual). This is Nun or Non, meaning “perpetuity.”
X “assistant” = sharath. This is ministering, serving, or waiting on. It can refer to one offering service as a worshipper or one serving as a servant.
Y “chosen men” = bechurim.3x in OT. From bachur (choice, chosen, selected; a youth or young man); from bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is youth or the time of young manhood.
Z “lord” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
AA “stop” = kala. 18x in OT. This is to stop in the sense of holding back or restraining. It could be keep, refuse, forbid, or to prohibit by word.

29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealousBB for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets,CC and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” 30 And Moses and the elders of IsraelDD returned to the camp.

Notes on verses 29-30

BB “are…jealous” = qanah. From qinah (zeal, jealousy). This is to be zealous or to provoke to jealousy.
CC “prophets” = nabi. Related to “prophesied” in v25. See note M above.
DD “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

Image credit: “Moses with the Tablets of the Law” at the St. Heribert Church in Kreuzau, Germany.

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