El'dad (Heb. Eldad', אֵלדָּד, whom God has loved; comp. Theophilus; Sept. Ε᾿λδάδ), one of the seventy elders who had been appointed under Moses to assist in the administration of justice among the people. B.C. 1658. He is mentioned along with Medad, another elder, as having on a particular occasion received the gift of prophecy, which came upon them in the camp, while Moses and the rest of the elders were assembled around the door of the tabernacle. The spirit of prophecy was upon them all; and the simple peculiarity in the case of Eldad and Medad was that they did not lose their share in the gift, though they abode in the camp, but they prophesied there. It appeared, however, an irregularity to Joshua, the son of Nun, and seems to have suggested the idea that they were using the gift with a view to their own aggrandizement. He therefore entreated Moses to forbid them. But Moses, with characteristic magnanimity, replied, "Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Nu 11:359). — Fairbairn, s.v. The great fact of the passage is the more general distribution of the spirit of prophecy, which had hitherto been concentrated in Moses;
and the implied sanction of a tendency to separate the exercise of this gift from the service of the tabernacle, and to make it more generally available for the enlightenment and instruction of the Israelites, a tendency which afterwards led to the establishment of "schools of the prophets." The circumstance is in strict accordance with the Jewish tradition that all prophetic inspiration emanated originally from Moses, and was transmitted from him by a legitimate succession down to the time of the captivity. The mode of prophecy in the case of Eldad and Medad was probably the extempore production of hymns, chanted forth to the people (Hammond); comp. the case of Saul, 1Sa 10:11. From Nu 11:25, it appears that the gift was not merely intermittent, but a continuous energy, though only occasionally developed in action. SEE PROPHECY.