|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:24-30 We have here the fulfilment of God's word to Moses, that he should have help in the government of Israel. He gave of his Spirit to the seventy elders. They discoursed to the people of the things of God, so that all who heard them might say, that God was with them of a truth. Two of the elders, Eldad and Medad, went not out unto the tabernacle, as the rest, being sensible of their own weakness and unworthiness. But the Spirit of God found them in the camp, and there they exercised their gift of praying, preaching, and praising God; they spake as moved by the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God is not confined to the tabernacle, but, like the wind, blows where He listeth. And they that humble themselves shall be exalted; and those who are most fit for government, are least ambitious of it. Joshua does not desire that they should be punished, but only restrained for the future. This motion he made out of zeal for what he thought to be the unity of the church. He would have them silenced, lest they should occasion a schism, or should rival Moses; but Moses was not afraid of any such effects from that Spirit which God had put upon them. Shall we reject those whom Christ has owned, or restrain any from doing good, because they are not in every thing of our mind? Moses wishes all the Lord's people were prophets, that he would put his Spirit upon all of them. Let the testimony of Moses be believed by those who desire to be in power; that government is a burden. It is a burden of care and trouble to those who make conscience of the duty of it; and to those who do not, it will prove a heavier burden in the day of account. Let the example of Moses be followed by those in power; let them not despise the advice and assistance of others, but desire it, and be thankful for it. If all the present number of the Lord's people were rendered prophets, or ministers, by the Spirit of Christ, though not all agreed in outward matters, there is work enough for all, in calling sinners to repentance, and faith in our Lord Jesus.
Verse 26. - There remained two of the men in the camp. No reason is here given why they did not accompany the rest to the tabernacle; but as they did not thereby forfeit the gift designed for them, it is certain that some necessity or duty detained them. They were of them that were written. This incidental notice shows how usual the practice of writing was, at any rate with Moses, who was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). And they prophesied in the camp. As a sign that they too had received the charisma from the Lord. Seeing that it was the work of the Holy Spirit, there was of course nothing really more wonderful in their case than in the ease of the others, but no doubt it seemed so. That men in the camp, and away from the visible center and scene of Divine manifestations, should be accessible to the heavenly afflatus was a vast astonishment to an ignorant people. We may compare the surprise felt by the Jewish Christians when the sign of tongues was shown among the Gentiles (Acts 10:45, 46).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But there remained two of the men in the camp,.... Of the seventy who were summoned, that came not out of the camp of Israel to the tabernacle when the rest did:
the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: who, according to the Targum of Jonathan, were brethren of Moses by his mother's side; for it says, they were the sons of Elizaphan the son of Parnac, whom Jochebed the daughter of Levi brought forth at the time that Amram her husband dismissed her, and she was married to him before she brought forth Moses; but it is elsewhere said (r), that Elizaphan married her after the death of Amram; and Eldad and Medad were born unto them:
and the Spirit rested upon them; as it did upon the rest of the seventy that came to the tabernacle; these two had the same gifts of the Spirit bestowed upon them as they had:
and they were of them that were written; among the seventy whose names were put down in the summons Moses gave them to attend the tabernacle; for as for the notion of the Jews about schedules and pieces of paper put into an urn to draw lots with, there is no foundation in the text:
but went not out unto the tabernacle; out of the camp to it, when they were summoned to come together; which they declined, as is commonly said, out of modesty, thinking themselves unfit for such an high office; and therefore, as Saul hid himself among the stuff when he was about to be chosen king, so did they, or something like it: the Targum of Jonathan is express for it, which adds, because they hid themselves to flee from government; but the Spirit of God found them out, and filled them with his gifts, and constrained them to prophesy, whereby they were discovered:
and they prophesied in the camp; perhaps in a private manner, it may be in their own houses; which, how it came to be known is after related: what they prophesied of cannot be said; according to the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, and other Jewish writers (s), they prophesied of the quails, and of the death of Moses, and the succession of Joshua, of Gog and Magog, and their armies, and of their destruction by the Messiah, and of the resurrection of the dead; but these are things not to be depended on.
(r) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 1.((s) Vid. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 17. 1. Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26-29. But there remained two of the men in the camp—They did not repair with the rest to the tabernacle, either from modesty in shrinking from the assumption of a public office, or being prevented by some ceremonial defilement. They, however, received the gifts of the Spirit as well as their brethren. And when Moses was urged to forbid their prophesying, his answer displayed a noble disinterestedness as well as zeal for the glory of God akin to that of our Lord (Mr 9:39).
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