And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.…
I do not agree with those who think that there was any diminution of the spirit that rested upon Moses. It is very difficult to speak of the subdivision of spirit. You cannot draw it off from one man to others, as you draw off water. The whole Spirit of God is in each man, waiting to fill him to the uttermost of his capacity. It seems to me, therefore, that nothing more is intended than to affirm that the seventy were "clothed upon" with the same kind of spiritual force as that which rested upon Moses. For sixty-eight of them the power of utterance was only spasmodic and temporary. "They prophesied, but they did so no more." Emblems are they of those who, beneath some special influence like that which cast Saul down among the prophets, suddenly break out into speech and act, and give promises not destined to be fulfilled. Two, however, of the selected number, who, for some reason, had remained in the camp, suddenly became conscious of their reception of that same spirit, and they, too, broke out into prophecy and appeared to have continued to do so. Instantly a young man, jealous for the honour of Moses, carried to him the startling tidings, "Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp"; and as he heard the announcement Joshua, equally chivalrous, exclaimed, "My lord Moses, forbid them!" eliciting the magnificent answer, "Art thou jealous for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets — that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!" It was as if he said, "Do you think that I alone am the channel through which the Divine influences can pour? Do you suppose that the supplies in the being of God are so meagre, that He must stint what He gives through me, when He gives through others? If it should please Him to create new stars, must He rob the sun of its light to give them brilliance? Is the gratification of a mean motive of vanity a matter of any moment to me, who have gazed on the face of God? Besides, what am I, or what is my position, amongst this people, compared with the benefit which would accrue to them, and the glory which would redound to God, if He did for each of them all that He has done for me?" This is the spirit of true magnanimity. A spirit of self aggrandisement is set on retaining its exclusive position as the sole depository of the Divine blessing, and this has the certain effect of forfeiting it, so that fresh supplies cease to pass through. There is no test more searching than this. Am I as eager for God's kingdom to come through others as through myself? And yet, in so far as we fall short of that position, do we not betray the earthly ingredients which have mingled, and mingle still, in our holy service?
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.