Moses, the Seventy and Jesus
In the first reading, Moses commissions 70 elders to prophesy. Notably, nowhere are we explicitly told that these elders were Levites. Here then it seems then that we have a kind of charismatic role which is extended to lay Israelites (i.e., non-priests), who exercise a prophetic responsibility which compliments the divinely established office of the priests.
We might also add here that, while the details are a bit sketchy, it seems that Sanhedrin, the governing Jewish body in Jesus’ day, was associated with this tradition. In the Mishna we are told that the Sanhedrin that there were two Sanhedrins, a greater and lesser one. The greater Sanhedrin was composed of “one and seventy judges” (m. Sanh. 1.6). Why seventy? The Mishna directly quotes from Numbers 11―Moses appointed seventy elders.
Finally, we might also note that there is a certain New Testament fulfillment of Moses’ commissioning of the seventy. In the Gospel of Luke we read that Jesus himself appointed seventy. Since this was not the Gospel this week I decided to focus on other things in the video, but I thought I'd elaborate on the significance of Jesus' appointment of seventy in Luke here. In fact, my co-blogger, New Testament scholar Brant Pitre, presented an incredible paper at last year’s Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in which he showed the parallels between the arrangement of Israel under Moses and the description of the concentric circles of disciples Jesus gathers. Here I want to recap what Brant presented.
First, we can note that Peter’s prominence―he is also listed first among the apostles. Second, we note that among the twelve three are typically singled out: Peter, James and John (cf. Mark 5:36; 9:2; 14:33). In fact, these three are the only ones ever explicitly said to be renamed by Jesus (cf. Mark 3:14, 16–17: “And he appointed twelve. . . 16 Simon whom he surnamed Peter; 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-anerges, that is, sons of thunder”). Third, of course, there are the twelve disciples themselves. Fourth, as noted above, Luke tells us that Jesus appointed seventy disciples (Luke 10:1).
As Brant explained in his paper, these concentric circles around Jesus seem to correspond with the description of Israel's leadership under Moses. In particular, Brant highlighted Exodus 24. There, as elsewhere, Aaron seems to have a kind of prominence. Likewise, as Jesus singled out three, God tells Moses to specifically take with him Aaron and two brothers, Nadab and Abihu (cf. Exod 24:1, 9). Interestingly, Jesus also takes aside Peter and two brothers, James and John. Furthermore, Moses has young men offer sacrifices on twelve pillars--it seems possible that here twelve are here envisioned (cf. Exod 24:4-5). Finally, in Exodus 24 Moses is specifically told to bring with him seventy elders (cf. Exod 24:1, 9). The parallels with the arrangement of disciples around Jesus is really quite amazing. Look forward to read about all of this with even greater depth and sophisitication in his new book on the Last Supper, which is due out next year. (I can't wait!) If you can't wait for the book, I suggest obtaining the audio from his Eucharistic Theology class lectures--they're dynamite.
The parallels here would all seem to underscore Jesus’ role as the New Moses, through whom the New Exodus is realized.
What the Hell?
As I explain in the video, the term originated as a reference to the “Valley of Hinnon” (גֵֽי־הִנֹּם֙, cf. Josh 15:8; 18:6), which was known as the site where children were offered as human sacrifices to the god Molech (2 Chron 28:3; 33:6; 2 Kgs 16:3). Because of its association with Molech worship the prophets had uttered condemnations of the valley and described how it would be a place of carnage and devastation in the coming divine judgment (Jer 7:30–33; 19:1–13; 32:34–35; cf. also Isa 31:9; 66:24; 2 Kgs 23:10; Lev 18:21). In later Jewish literature it is identified as the place of God’s eschatological judgment (cf. 1 En. 27:1–5; 54:1–6; 56:1–4; 90:26) and as the place of torment for the wicked dead (Apoc. Abr. 15.6; Sib. Or. 1.100–103; 2.292–310; 4.184–86; 4 Ezra 7:36; m. ʾAbot 1:5; 5.19; b. Šabb. 33a; 39a; 104a; b. ʿErub. 19a; b. Beýah 32b; b. Taʿan. 5a; b. Hag. 15a; b. Yebam. 63b; b. Sotah 4b; 41b; 10b; b. Qidd. 40a; b. B. Bat. 74a; 84a; 78b; b. ʿAbod. Zar. 18b; b. B. Meýiʿa. 59a) from which no one ever escapes (b. Roš. Haš. 16b-17a; b. B. Meýiʿa 58b), and even as the place of everlasting torment (Josephus, A.J. 18.14; B.J. 2.163; Sib. Or. 2.292–310; though see m. ʿEd. 2.10; b. Šabb. 33b; b. Roš. Haš. 16b-17a). In the Gospels, Jesus uses the term to describe the place to which the wicked will be condemned, emphasizing that those who are sent there will experience bodily punishment (cf. Matt 5:29; 10:28).
 Brant Pitre, “Jesus and the Messianic Priesthood” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 2008).
 There is a textual difficulty here. Some sources describe Jesus appointing “seventy-two”. As Marshall explains, the confusion may have emerged because in the Old Testament it is unclear if Moses simply appointed seventy or seventy-two, since Eldad and Medad, who were not enrolled with the seventy elders who were taken outside the camp were still given the gift of prophecy. Indeed, the LXX has Moses appointing seventy-two. Moreover, it should be noted that there number seventy is significant in that according to Genesis 10 the world is comprised of seventy nations. Again, the LXX diverts from the MT here, indicating that there were seventy-two nations. The mission of the seventy then can be taken as a prefiguring of the Church’s mission to evangelize the world. For further discussion see I. Howard Marshall, Gospel according to Luke (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 415.
 For a fuller discussion, see J. Lunde, “Heaven and Hell,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (eds. J. B. Green, S. McKnight, I. H. Marshall; Downers Grove; InterVarsity Press, 1992), 310–11 [307–21]; Joachim Jeremias, “γέεννα,” TDNT 1:657–58.