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When Moses had completed the appointment of the elders and had asked them to accompany him to the Tabernacle, there to receive the Holy Spirit, Eldad and Medad, two of these elders, in their humility, did not obey his summons, but hid themselves, deeming themselves unworthy of this distinction. God rewarded them for their humility by distinguishing them five-fold above the other elders. These prophesied what would take place on the following day, announcing the appearance of the quails, but Eldad and Medad prophesied what was still veiled in the distant future. The elders prophesied only on this one day, but Eldad and Medad retained the gift for life. The elders died in the desert, whereas Eldad and Medad were the leaders of the people after the death of Joshua. The elders are not mentioned by name in the Scriptures, whereas theses two are called by name. The elders, furthermore, had received the prophetic gift from Moses, whereas Eldad and Medad received it directly from God. [481]

Eldad now began to make prophecies, saying: "Moses will die, and Joshua the son of Nun will be his successor as leader of the people, whom he will lead into the land of Canaan, and to whom he will give it as a possession." Medad's prophecy was as follows: "Quails will come from the sea and will cover the camp of Israel, but they will bring evil to the people." Besides these prophecies, both together announced the following revelation: "At the end of days there will come up out of the land of Magog a king to whom all nations will do homage. Crowned kings, princes, and warriors with shields will gather to make war upon those returned from exile in the land of Israel. But God, the Lord, will stand by Israel in their need and will slay all their enemies by hurling a flame from under His glorious Throne. This will consume the souls in the hosts of the king of Magog, so that their bodies will drop lifeless upon the mountains of the land of Israel, and will become a prey to the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air. Then will all the dead among Israel arise and rejoice in the good that at the beginning of the world was laid up for them, and will receive the reward for their good deeds." [482]

When Gershon, Moses' son, heard these prophecies of Eldad and Medad, he hurried to his father and told him of them. Joshua was now greatly agitated about the prophecy that Moses was to die in the desert and that he as to be his successor, and said to Moses: "O lord, destroy these people that prophesy such evil news!" But Moses replied: "O Joshua, canst thou believe that I begrudge thee thy splendid future? It is my wish that thou mayest be honored as much as I have been and that all Israel be honored like thee." [483]

Eldad and Medad were distinguished not only by their prophetic gift, but also by their noble birth, being half-brothers of Moses and Aaron. When the marriage laws were revealed, all those who had been married to relatives by blood had to be divorced from them, so that Amram, too, had to be separated from his wife Jochebed, who was his aunt, and he married another woman. From this union sprang Eldad, "not of an aunt," and Medad, "in place of an aunt," so called by Amram to explain by these names why he had divorced his first wife, his aunt. [484]

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