Deuteronomy 1:13—Did Moses appoint the judges or did the people?

Problem: Exodus 18:25 declares that “Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people.” However, here Moses told the people to choose their own judges (Deut. 1:13).

Solution: Both are correct, as is indicated only two verses later, where it says Moses “took the heads of your tribes ... and made them heads [judges] over you.” The people had chosen their leaders and Moses appointed these as their judges. So it is proper to speak of either Moses or the people as choosing the judges.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.