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וַיִּקְרַ֨ע יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ שִׂמְלֹתָ֗יו וַיִּפֹּל֩ עַל־פָּנָ֨יו אַ֜רְצָה לִפְנֵ֨י אֲר֤וֹן יְהוָה֙ עַד־הָעֶ֔רֶב ה֖וּא וְזִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּעֲל֥וּ עָפָ֖ר עַל־רֹאשָֽׁם׃ Joshua thereupon rent his clothes. He and the elders of Israel lay until evening with their faces to the ground in front of the Ark of the LORD; and they strewed earth on their heads.

This is in Joshua 7:6...how were there any elders didnt they all die in the desert?

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  • Alexander, welcome to this online community of learning. We hope you learn lots!
    – Dr. Shmuel
    May 1, 2020 at 4:18
  • Welcome. You could improve your question by explaining why all elders died in the desert. May 3, 2020 at 19:13

1 Answer 1

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As elders died, new elders were added to maintain the group. We see in Pirkei Avos that the elders were maintained until the beginning of the neviim (Shmuel Hanavi) the entire era of the shoftim. As we see in Shoftim 2:7

And the nation served the Lord during all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua and who had seen all the great deed of the Lord that He had performed for Israel.

Each shofet (judge) had a court who were called the elders of that generation.

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  • How did they add new elders? Didn't they all die in the desert?
    – Double AA
    May 1, 2020 at 14:16
  • Are you saying "elders" are not necessarily defined by age? May 1, 2020 at 18:43
  • @AlexanderMermelstein The originals died in the desert, but new ones were appointed. May 1, 2020 at 22:56
  • Note that people who were under 20 at the Exodus would have been just under 60 on reaching Canaan. Also those who were over 60 would have only been just over 100 so they could have lived to appoint and teach new elders May 1, 2020 at 22:59

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