Exodus 18:21

21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Exodus 18:21 in Other Translations

KJV
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
ESV
21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
NLT
21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.
MSG
21 And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men - men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible - and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten.
CSB
21 But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place [them] over the people as officials of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

Exodus 18:21 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 18:21

Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people
Or look out F20 from among them; see ( Acts 6:3 ) ,

able men;
or "men of power" F21; meaning not so much men of strong and robust constitutions, who, as Aben Ezra says, are able to bear labour; but men that have strength of heart, as Ben Gersom expresses it, men of spirit and courage, and are not afraid to do justice, to repress vice, and countenance virtue; or, as Maimonides says F23, have a strong heart, or courage and boldness to deliver the oppressed from the hands of the oppressor. Jarchi interprets it of rich men, of men of substance, who have no need to flatter, or play the hypocrite, and to know the faces of men:

such as fear God;
who have the fear of God before their eyes, and on their hearts, in all they do, and therefore cannot do those things that others do, who are destitute of it; cannot give a cause the wrong way wilfully, or pervert judgment, and are the reverse of the character of the unjust judge, that neither feared God nor regarded man, ( Luke 18:2 ) :

men of truth;
true men, sincere, upright, and faithful men, that love truth and hate lies and falsehood, and will take some pains to get at the truth of a cause, to inquire where it lies, and pursue and encourage it where it is found, and discourage to the uttermost falsehood, lies, and perjury: hating covetousness; in themselves and others, filthy lucre, dishonest gain, mammon of unrighteousness, and so not to be bribed and corrupted, and execute wrong judgment for the sake of money:

and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds,
rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens;
meaning not courts of judicature, consisting of such a number of judges, for such a court was never known to have a thousand judges upon the bench at once; the highest court of judicature that ever was among the Jews, which was long after this time, consisted but of seventy or seventy one: but the sense is, that each of these should have such a number of persons, or rather families, under their care, who, when they applied unto them for justice, should faithfully administer it to them; (See Gill on Exodus 18:25).


FOOTNOTES:

F20 (hzxt) "videbis", Montanus; "tu prospice", Tigurine version; "tu videto", Drusius.
F21 (lyx yvna) "viros virtutis", Montanus, Vatablus; "viros fortitudinis", Cartwright.


F23 Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 7.

Exodus 18:21 In-Context

19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him.
20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.
21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.
23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

Cross References 4

  • 1. S Genesis 47:6; Acts 6:3
  • 2. S Genesis 22:12
  • 3. Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; 1 Samuel 12:3; Psalms 15:5; Proverbs 17:23; Proverbs 28:8; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Ezekiel 18:8; Ezekiel 22:12
  • 4. Numbers 1:16; Numbers 7:2; Numbers 10:4; Deuteronomy 16:18; Ezr Numbers 7:25; Deuteronomy 1:13,15; 2 Chronicles 19:5-10