In Deu. 31:28, it is written,

Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. (KJV)

Then, in Deu. 31:30, it is written,

And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended. (KJV)

Can we infer from these two scriptures that "all the elders of your tribes, and your officers" is [somtimes] equivalent to "all the congregation of Israel"?

For example, in Num. 15:36, it states that "all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died." Did hundreds of thousands of Israelites stone this one man with stones, or was it simply the [seventy] elders of the tribes and their officers?


1 Answer 1


All the congregation of Israel

I believe we can say that "all the elders of your tribes, and your officers" is [somtimes] equivalent to "all the congregation of Israel" in scripture.

Practically it would have been impossible for one man to address the entire nation without some sort of miracle (and we don't read of that).

It also seems that the Jewish people had little trouble with the concept of representation, look for example to Heb 7:9 where the writer tells us that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedeck through Abraham.

I imagine the process involved Moses speaking to the elders and officers and they would then disseminate the information to the rest of the people that they represented before Moses.

The stoning

Practically I don't see how every person in the camp could have been involved in the act of stoning. Some. young children for example, would not have been able to physically take part and there is the question of space around the victim as well.

However whilst it may have only be a few people who actually stoned him, there could have been a crowd who gathered to witness the event that was much larger. However I don't see that we have to conclude it was every single person, it was either enough people (either by number of rank) to allow the author to state that the group present was representative of the congregation.

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