“There were two men who stayed in the camp, one named Eldad and the other Medad, and the Spirit came to rest on them. They were among those listed to go out to the tent, but they hadn’t done so, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moshe, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!’ Y’hoshua, the son of Nun, who from his youth up had been Moshe’s assistant, answered, “My lord, Moshe, stop them!” But Moshe replied, ‘Are you so zealous to protect me? I wish all of Adonai’s people were prophets! I wish Adonai would put his Spirit on all of them’!”-Numbers 11:26-29
From verse 26 in Numbers 11, the scene suddenly pivots and out of the blue we’re told about two men named Eldad and Medad who although not being part of the 70 elders also received God’s Holy Spirit.
We’re told they began prophesying (speaking in ecstatic language) and this occurrence seemed so unusual and out of order that a young man ran to Moses and said “Hey, a couple of dudes not authorized to receive the Spirit have received it and they’re prophesying!“.
We’re told that even Moses’ assistant Joshua was upset and he asked Moses to stop them.
The men just could not fathom how it could be appropriate for God to give His Spirit to these men.
Well, the takeaway here is simple.
Think about it for a second.
We have the Holy Spirit descending upon men both inside the camp (Eldad and Medad) and outside the camp (the 70 elders).
Is this not a picture that the Holy Spirit of God was intended for all men of all classes and backgrounds?
That’s right man!
The Holy Spirit of God isn’t confined to men’s prejudices and ideas about who should or should not receive the Spirit.
This situation is also prophetic of what will happen in the future when even uncircumcised gentiles will receive the Spirit!
I love Moses’ response to Joshua when he objected to Eldad and Medad prophesying.
“Are you so zealous to protect me?
I wish all of Adonai’s people were prophets!
I wish Adonai would put his Spirit on all of them!”
This is awesome and reminds us about an important attribute of Moses’ character that Scripture tells us about.
“Now Moses was a very humble man,
more humble than anyone else
on the face of the earth.”
Moses didn’t care about selfishly guarding his reputation as the only person who carried God’s Holy Spirit.
He didn’t care about being seen as special.
Joshua and the others were getting all huffy and puffy because they were afraid Moses might lose face as God’s specially chosen savior for Israel.
But Moses didn’t care.
He unselfishly wanted everybody to partake of the Lord’s Holy Spirit.
Now that’s a Godly leader!
One final point before I close.
You may be wondering how could Eldad and Medad be away from the Tabernacle where the 70 elders were yet inside the camp?
Wasn’t the Tabernacle inside the camp?
The answer is simple and the Oral Torah supports this as well.
When the people were camping in a given spot for only a short period of time, the portable Tabernacle was set up OUTSIDE Of the camp instead of in the center of the camp.
Remember, we’re talking about a total population of about 3 million people here.
While traveling, all of the people would have formed a long column stretching for miles.
Hence, the Wilderness Tabernacle was first set up at a location ahead of the people and then afterwards the people would gather around it.
Hence, this incident of the 70 elders receiving the Spirit must have occurred during a short stop while traveling.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Even as Peter was saying these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were
listening to the message.
The Jewish believers who came
with Peter were amazed
that the gift of the Holy Spirit
had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.
For they heard them speaking
in other tongues and praising God.”
“I urge you, first of all,
to pray for all people.
Ask God to help them;
intercede on their behalf,
and give thanks for them.
Pray this way for kings and
all who are in authority
so that we can live peaceful
and quiet lives marked by
godliness and dignity.
This is good and pleases
God our Savior,
who wants everyone to be saved
and to understand the truth.“
-1 Timothy 2:1-4