And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
And the Lord said unto Moses,.... Without making any reflection upon him, or upbraiding him with his unbecoming speeches to him, but in a kind and tender manner directs for his assistance and case:
Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel; out from among them, such as were not only men in years, but men of gravity, prudence, and wisdom; elders there were among the people in Egypt, Exodus 3:16; and it was from among such as those the seventy men were to be taken; we read of seventy elders before this time, that went up to the mount with Moses, Exodus 24:1; but they are supposed only to be selected for that purpose at that time, and did not continue as a separate body, or in any office: according to this number seventy, the great sanhedrim, or court of judicature the sat at Jerusalem in later times, consisted of seventy persons, with a prince or president at the head of them, as Moses was at the head of those: and so our Lord, besides his twelve apostles, sent out seventy disciples to be assisting in his work and service, Luke 10:1;
whom thou knowest to be elders of the people; either in age, or in some sort of office and authority among them, or, however, to be good and just men, and had a considerable share of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom:
and officers over them; such as Jethro advised to constitute,
Exodus 18:21; and it is not improbable that these seventy were chosen out of them:
and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee; and be seen by all the people what honour was done them, what authority was conferred upon them, and what gifts were bestowed on them, qualifying them for their office, in which they were to be treated with respect by them.