This describes the Hebrew people in its collective capacity under its peculiar aspect as a holy community, held together by religious rather than political bonds. Sometimes it is used in a broad sense as inclusive of foreign settlers, (Exodus 12:19) but more properly as exclusively appropriate to the Hebrew element of the population. (Numbers 15:15) The congregation was governed by the father or head of each family and tribe. The number of these representatives being inconveniently large for ordinary business, a further selection was made by Moses of 70, who formed a species of standing committee. (Numbers 11:16) Occasionally indeed the whole body of people was assembled at the door of the tabernacle, hence usually called the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 10:3) The people were strictly bound by the acts of their representatives, even in cases where they disapproved of them. (Joshua 9:18)
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