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In Parshas Yisro (Shemos 18:25) Moshe appoints the Chiefs of the 10, 50, 100 and 1,000.

"וַיִּבְחַר מֹשֶׁה אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם רָאשִׁים עַל־הָעָם שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת׃"

Moses chose capable men out of all Israel, and appointed them heads over the people—chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens;

We meet them again when Moshe repeats the story (with slight differences as noted here) in Devorim 1:15.

"וָאֶקַּח אֶת־רָאשֵׁי שִׁבְטֵיכֶם אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וִידֻעִים וָאֶתֵּן אֹתָם רָאשִׁים עֲלֵיכֶם שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים וְשָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת וְשָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת וְשֹׁטְרִים לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם׃ "

So I took your tribal leaders, wise and experienced men, and appointed them heads over you: Chiefs of thousands, chiefs of hundreds, chiefs of fifties, and chiefs of tens, and officials for your tribes.

But we never hear about them actually doing anything else. Notably, in Beha'alothcho (Bemidbar 11:16) Moshe appoints a set of 70 Elders to help deal with the people. There is no indication that there was an overlap between the Chiefs and the 70 Elders.

How long did the Chiefs retain their positions? What do we know about them except for the fact that they were appointed?

A quick search of Tanach does not seem to find them later on in history.

  • Related (did you read my other questions on this topic?) judaism.stackexchange.com/…. – Al Berko Jan 20 at 10:30
  • "But we never hear about them actually doing anything." - I think every time Rashi mentions that the courts of 3 (?) judged and executed the sinners, like in Egel or Bnot Moav, he implies those were from those chiefs. But I never saw a clear explanation of how it worked. – Al Berko Jan 20 at 11:07
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I'm not sure where in the Torah you would expect to see them. As many mefarshim point out, once the Torah mentions something in one place, it does not need to detail it in any other places whatsoever. A good example of this is the Selav not being mentioned in Hashem's introduction to the Man, as explained by Ramban (Shemos 16:4):

והנה לא הזכיר כאן דבר רק המן שהוא הלחם שהמטיר להם, אבל כאשר אמר להם משה: בתת י״י לכם בערב בשר לאכול ולחם בבקר לשבוע (שמות ט״ז:ח׳), ידענו כי הכל נאמר לו, אבל הכתוב יקצר בדברים הנכפלים בענין הצווי או בספור, כאשר הזכרתי לך פעמים רבים (רמב״ן שמות ט׳:י״ב, י׳:י״ב, י״א:א׳), ופעמים לא יזכיר האחד כלל, דכתיב בפרשה הזאת: זה הדבר אשר צוה י״י מלא העומר ממנו (שמות ט״ז:ל״ב), ולא נכתבה הצואה כלל, וכן במקומות רבים.‏

However, in this case it is very possible that they do appear elsewhere in the Torah.

In Parshas Matos (Bamidbar 31), Moshe gets angry and rebukes "Pekudei Hechayil, Sarei Alafaim and Sarei Mei'os", "officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds", who are mentioned a number of times in that Parsha, not only within the context of war itself, but also about related halachos (see there for details). This wording is almost identical to when Moshe chooses these leaders:

וַיִּקְצֹ֣ף מֹשֶׁ֔ה עַ֖ל פְּקוּדֵ֣י הֶחָ֑יִל שָׂרֵ֤י הָאֲלָפִים֙ וְשָׂרֵ֣י הַמֵּא֔וֹת הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְּבָ֥א הַמִּלְחָמָֽה׃‏

Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who came from the service of the war.

וַיִּבְחַ֨ר מֹשֶׁ֤ה אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֙יִל֙ מִכׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם רָאשִׁ֖ים עַל־הָעָ֑ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת׃‏

Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

Perhaps these leaders who Moshe speaks with here in Bamidbar were those same leaders who he appointed?

  • 1
    Where are the heads of the 10's and 50's mentioned? Also even the heads of of the 1000s and 100s clearly were not the same people, as all the Yotzei Mitzraim between 20 and 60 had already died in the wilderness in Parshas Chukas before Aharon died. This war with Midian happened afterwards just before Moshe died (see Rashi) so evidently these are not the same people mentioned in Parshas Yisro. – yosefkorn Jan 20 at 20:14
  • @yosefkorn 1. As the Meforshim there note, Moshe only spoke to the Gedolim (which would be the Sarei Alafim and Mei'os), so the omission of 10s and 50s is inconsequential. 2. Good point - I didn't mean to say that it was those same exact people, but rather the people in those same positions that Moshe created. 3. And thirdly, I would support the approach that they were not mentioned elsewhere, and that doesn't matter, I just wanted to say that it is possible that they are mentioned elsewhere... – רבות מחשבות Jan 20 at 23:03
  • Everything's possible but the questioner asked specifically for the Dayanim appointed in Parshas Yisro so that's why this cannot be the right answer to this question interesting though it is. – yosefkorn Jan 21 at 21:36
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Moshe Aharon Nadav and Avihu and The 70 sages already were appointed on the people, yet Yisro told them it as still way too much for all 74 of them to bear as stated in Mechilta Shemos 18,17:

ר' אלעזר המודעי אומר, ינבלו אותך ויקנטרו אותך כתאנה זו שעליה נובלות שנ' (ישעיה לד) כנבול עלה מגפן וכנובלת מתאנה. - גם אתה. אתה, זה משה. גם, זה אהרן. העם הזה אשר עמך, אלו שבעים זקנים, דברי ר' יהושע; ר' אלעזר המודעי אומר: אתה, זה משה. גם, זה אהרן. גם זה, נדב ואביהוא, העם הזה אשר עמך, אלו שבעים זקנים.

So therefore Sanhedrin 18a says in order to judge the people on a day to day basis (for all 40 years of wandering wilderness till they died where they were probably replaced to make up the shortfall of Dayanim) there were 78,600 Dayanim appointed:

תנו רבנן (שמות יח, כא) ושמת עליהם שרי אלפים שרי מאות שרי חמשים ושרי עשרות שרי אלפים שש מאות שרי מאות ששת אלפים שרי חמשים שנים עשר אלף שרי עשרות ששת ריבוא נמצאו דייני ישראל שבעת ריבוא ושמונת אלפים ושש מאות:

The 70 sages were replacement of the 70 sages(the grand Sanhedrin) that died in Taveira as stated in Rashi quoting Tanchuma Bamidbar 11,6:

אספה לי. הֲרֵי תְשׁוּבָה לִתְלוּנָתְךָ שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ לֹא אוּכַל אָנֹכִי לְבַדִּי; וְהַזְּקֵנִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הֵיכָן הָיוּ? וַהֲלֹא אַף בְּמִצְרַיִם יָשְׁבוּ עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ג') "לֵךְ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל"? אֶלָּא בְּאֵשׁ תַּבְעֵרָה מֵתוּ; וּרְאוּיִים הָיוּ לְכָךְ מִסִּינַי, דִּכְתִיב "וַיֶּחֱזוּ אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים" (שם כ"ד) — שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ קַלּוּת רֹאשׁ כְּנוֹשֵׁךְ פִּתּוֹ וּמְדַבֵּר בִּפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ, וְזֶהוּ "וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ", וְלֹא רָצָה הַקָּבָּ"ה לִתֵּן אֲבֵלוּת בְּמַתַּן תּוֹרָה וּפָרַע לָהֶם כָּאן (תנחומא):
But where were the first elders, that God commanded him to gather elders anew? Had they not sat as judges together with them (with Moses and Aaron) in Egypt, as it is stated, (Exodus 3:16) “Go and gather the elders of Israel together”? But these had died by the consuming fire of Taberah (v. 3).

  • @dannyschoeman, do you not like this post? i'm sorry for quoting sources that quoted that these people were regular Dayanim like there has always been since. i'm sorry if you were expecting them to be very special that some medrash should mention some unbelievable things they did – user15464 Jan 20 at 12:35
  • I actually don't like your post, since you got the cronology wrong. The 74 were apponted long after the Cheifs were apopinted. – Danny Schoemann Jan 20 at 14:40
  • @dannyschoeman the first zekeinim from Mitrayim only died after They travelled to taveira, so they were still there when Yisro asked to appoint extra Dayanim as this happened while they were still at Har Sinai. This is explicit in the mechilta – yosefkorn Jan 20 at 14:52
  • @yosefkorn - of course, but they had not been appointed to help Moshe Rabbeinu until much later. – Danny Schoemann Jan 20 at 15:11
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    @dannyshoenan So why does the Mechilta say that Moshe Aharon, Nadav, Avihu and the 70 sages shall wither away (and therefore need extra people to help) if they weren't doing anything according to you. Try take a deep breath and look at the answer again. Everything is there including Rashi who says that the zekeinim were a replacement of those that died in Taveira – yosefkorn Jan 20 at 19:54

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