20th July 2009, mgh
This Article: (8 Pages)
4) Spirit as an aid to Teaching:
Moses and the 70 leaders
Numbers 11 gives an interesting and enlightening account demonstrating the function of the spirit 'ruach'. Consider the following verses.
The LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou know to be the elders of the people..
I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit (ruach) 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.
And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD'S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not...
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 (ruach) that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that , when the spirit (ruach) rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and ..the other Medad: and the spirit (ruach) rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. (Numbers 11:16-26)
Moses, burdened with the rebellious attitude of the Israelites, had appealed to Yahweh and confessed his inability to deal with the problems that had arisen in his leadership. Yahweh tells Moses to choose seventy reliable leaders of the people to assist him govern the people. Moses in his wisdom would have selected men who revealed a dedicated attitude to their God. The spirit that rested on Moses also then rests on the selected 70 men. Though two men remained in the camp, they also reveal evidence of bestowal of the spirit.
What was the function of these 70 men?
Having had the spirit from Yahweh placed on them, they prophesied, which revealed their understanding of the Law and the promises to the nation.
They were responsible for the welfare and teaching of the people.
They instructed and administered the laws and judgments of the Law related to religious and social issues.
They were given understanding and an intellect that was responsive to the Creator's will.
We note here that there were no miraculous or healing powers given to these men.
Their function was to ensure the welfare and survival of the nation of Israel in the guidelines of Yahweh's commandments.
Also in this chapter, the word 'ruach' again appears as 'wind',
And there went forth a wind (ruach) from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. (Numbers 11: 31)
This is a miraculous event, but we note here that this is an act of Yahweh and not of the chosen men on whom the spirit had rested.