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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.

Read Exodus 18:21 Using Other Translations

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:
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.
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.

What does Exodus 18:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
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).


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.

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