Numbers 11:28
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
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(28) My lord Moses, forbid them.—The motive which prompted Joshua in making this request appears to have been similar to that which led St. John to forbid the man to cast out devils who did not follow with the Apostles (Mark 9:38-39; Luke 9:49-50). But as the man did not cast out devils in his own name, but in that of Christ, so in this case Eldad and Medad prophesied in virtue of the spirit which rested upon them from above, of which the Holy Ghost, not Moses, was the giver. The motives which deterred Eldad and Medad from going to the tent of meeting are unknown. The history teaches the freeness and the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit’s influences, as afterwards did that of Cornelius, when the Holy Ghost fell upon him and upon those who were with him, previously to the reception of baptism, and they spoke with tongues and magnified God (Acts 10:44-48).

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.Of them that were written - i. e. enrolled among the Seventy. The expression points to a regular appointment duly recorded and permanent.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). One of his young men, or one of his choice ministers, a chosen or excellent person; which may be emphatically added, to note that even great and good men may mistake and misjudge about the works of God. Or, from his youth, as the words will bear, and the Chaldee, Syriac, &c. render it. So it may be added as a reason why Joshua above others were concerned for Moses’s honour and authority. He feared either schism or sedition, or that by their usurpation of authority independently upon Moses, and separately from him, his power and esteem might be lessened, as the next words show.

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses,.... That waited upon him, and ministered to him, and executed his orders, especially in civil things, and was to be his successor:

one of his young men; not that Joshua was a young man in age, for he must be now between fifty and sixty years of age; see Gill on Exodus 33:11; nor does the word necessarily suppose that those men were young among whom Joshua was; but choice excellent persons, the principal servants of Moses, at the head of whom Joshua was being his prime minister: the Targum of Onkelos and the Syriac version render it, "from his youth", joining it with the word servant, as if he was the servant of Moses from his youth, or ever since he was a young man; but Moses had not been out of Midian but about two years, where he had kept his father's sheep; however, he

answered and said, my lord Moses, forbid them; prophesying, restrain them from it, suffer them not to go on in it; he would have him exert his authority as the chief magistrate, which he thought was affected by their prophesying without his knowledge and consent; and because a word from the root here used signifies a prison, some here interpret it,"put them in prison,''which is a sense Jarchi mentions; but it can hardly be thought that Joshua meant that such rigorous measures should be taken, only that they should be rebuked for what they had done, and be charged for the future to be silent.

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his {q} young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, {r} forbid them.

(q) Or, a young man whom he had chosen from his youth.

(r) Such blind zeal was in the apostles, Mr 9:38, Lu 9:44.

28. Joshua was not one of the seventy, but was attached to the sacred Tent as its aedituus or caretaker. Cf. Exodus 33:11.

one of his chosen men] R.V. marg. is probably right—from his youth. But Joshua was still in his youth (Exodus 33:11). The narrator, writing long after the event, adds parenthetically a general description of Joshua, not merely a description of what he had been at the moment.

Verse 28. - Joshua the son of Nun. See on Exodus 17:9. As before, he is called Joshua by anticipation. One of his young men. This implies that there were others who to some extent shared his duties towards Moses; but that Joshua stood in a peculiar relation to his master is evident from Exodus 24:13 and Exodus 32:17, as well as from this passage itself. My lord Moses, forbid them. Probably he did not know that they had been enrolled, and he was naturally jealous for the honour of Moses - a jealousy which was not at all unnecessary, as the events of the next chapter proved. The prophesying of Eldad and Medad in the camp might well seem like the setting up of an independent authority, not in harmony with that of Moses. Numbers 11:28This phenomenon in the camp itself produced such excitement, that a boy (הנּער, with the article like הפּליט in Genesis 14:13) reported the thing to Moses, whereupon Joshua requested Moses to prohibit the two from prophesying. Joshua felt himself warranted in doing this, because he had been Moses' servant from his youth up (see at Exodus 17:9), and in this capacity he regarded the prophesying of these men in the camp as detracting from the authority of his lord, since they had not received this gift from Moses, at least not through his mediation. Joshua was jealous for the honour of Moses, just as the disciples of Jesus, in Mark 9:38-39, were for the honour of their Lord; and he was reproved by Moses, as the latter afterwards were by Christ.
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