The Antiquities of the Jews, 3.66–3.74

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

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661. The next day, as Raguel saw Moses in the midst of a crowd of business for he determined the differences of those that referred them to him, every one still going to him, and supposing that they should then only obtain justice, if he were the arbitrator; 67and those that lost their causes thought it no harm, while they thought they lost them justly, and not by partiality. Raguel however said nothing to him at that time, as not desirous to be any hinderance to such as had a mind to make use of the virtue of their conductor. But afterward he took him to himself, and when he had him alone, he instructed him in what he ought to do; 68and advised him to leave the trouble of lesser causes to others, but himself to take care of the greater, and of the people’s safety, for that certain others of the Hebrews might be found that were fit to determine causes, but that nobody but a Moses could take care of the safety of so many ten thousands. 69“Be therefore,” says he, “insensible of thine own virtue, and what thou hast done by ministering under God to the people’s preservation. Permit, therefore, the determination of common causes to be done by others, but do thou reserve thyself to the attendance on God only, and look out for methods of preserving the multitude from their present distress. 70Make use of the method I suggest to you, as to human affairs; and take a review of the army, and appoint chosen rulers over tens of thousands, and then over thousands; then divide them into five hundreds, and again into hundreds, and into fifties; 71and set rulers over each of them, who may distinguish them into thirties, and keep them in order; and at last number them by twenties and by tens: and let there be one commander over each number, to be denominated from the number of those over whom they are rulers, but such as the whole multitude have tried, and do approve of, as being good and righteous men; 72and let those rulers decide the controversies they have one with another. But if any great cause arise, let them bring the cognizance of it before the rulers of a higher dignity; but if any great difficulty arise that is too hard for even their determination, let them send it to thee. By these means two advantages will be gained; the Hebrews will have justice done them, and thou wilt be able to attend constantly on God, and procure him to be more favorable to the people.”

732. This was the admonition of Raguel; and Moses received his advice very kindly, and acted according to his suggestion. Nor did he conceal the invention of this method, nor pretend to it himself, but informed the multitude who it was that invented it: 74nay, he has named Raguel in the books he wrote, as the person who invented this ordering of the people, as thinking it right to give a true testimony to worthy persons, although he might have gotten reputation by ascribing to himself the inventions of other men; whence we may learn the virtuous disposition of Moses: but of such his disposition, we shall have proper occasion to speak in other places of these books.

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