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.