Exodus 18:25 MEANING

Exodus 18:25
Verse 25. - Moses chose able men. It appears from Deuteronomy 1:13, that instead of selecting the men himself, which would have been an invidious task, Moses directed their nomination by the people, and only reserved to himself the investing them wit h their authority. Heads over the people. From the time of their appointment, the "rulers" were not merely judges, but "heads" of their respective companies, with authority over them on the march, and command in the battle-field (Numbers 31:14). Thus the organisation was at once civil and military.

18:13-27 Here is the great zeal and the toil of Moses as a magistrate. Having been employed to redeem Israel out of the house of bondage, he is a further type of Christ, that he is employed as a lawgiver and a judge among them. If the people were as quarrelsome one with another as they were with God, no doubt Moses had many causes brought before him. This business Moses was called to; it appears that he did it with great care and kindness. The meanest Israelite was welcome to bring his cause before him. Moses kept to his business from morning to night. Jethro thought it was too much for him to undertake alone; also it would make the administration of justice tiresome to the people. There may be over-doing even in well-doing. Wisdom is profitable to direct, that we may neither content ourselves with less than our duty, nor task ourselves beyond our strength. Jethro advised Moses to a better plan. Great men should not only study to be useful themselves, but contrive to make others useful. Care must be taken in the choice of the persons admitted into such a trust. They should be men of good sense, that understood business, and that would not be daunted by frowns or clamours, but abhorred the thought of a bribe. Men of piety and religion; such as fear God, who dare not to do a base thing, though they could do it secretly and securely. The fear of God will best fortify a man against temptations to injustice. Moses did not despise this advice. Those are not wise, who think themselves too wise to be counselled.And Moses chose able men out of all Israel,.... He looked among them, and selected the best of them, such as most answered to the qualifications it was requisite they should have; and though only one of them is here mentioned, which is the first Jethro gave, yet no doubt they were all attended to, though not expressed:

and made them heads over the people; rulers, governors, judges, and officers; this is a general word, comprehending their several particular offices they sustained; which seem to be chiefly distinguished by the different numbers of people, or families, under them, otherwise their work and office were much the same:

rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens; just as Jethro advised, Exodus 18:21. According to the Targum of Jonathan, the rulers of thousands were six hundred, rulers of hundreds 6000, rulers of fifties 12,000, and the rulers of tens 60,000; and so Jarchi; and the like account is given in both the Talmuds (x), where the whole is summed up, amounting to 78,600; which account Aben Ezra disapproves of, and thinks not credible: it is built upon the number of Israel at this time, when they came out of Egypt, being 600,000 men; and so if there was a ruler to every thousand men, there must be six hundred of them, and so on; but these thousands may intend not individual persons, but families, that these were appointed over, as the families of Israel and Judah are called their thousands, Micah 5:2 and this will serve greatly to reduce the number of these judges and officers.

(x) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 19. 3. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 18. 1.

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