On Selection and Judgment

(א) משֶׁה קִבֵּל תּוֹרָה מִסִּינַי, וּמְסָרָהּ לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ לִזְקֵנִים, וּזְקֵנִים לִנְבִיאִים, וּנְבִיאִים מְסָרוּהָ לְאַנְשֵׁי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה. הֵם אָמְרוּ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים, הֱווּ מְתוּנִים בַּדִּין, וְהַעֲמִידוּ תַלְמִידִים הַרְבֵּה, וַעֲשׂוּ סְיָג לַתּוֹרָה:

(1) Moshe received the Torah from Sinai, and transmitted it to Yehoshua, and Yehoshua to the Elders, and the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, and establish many students, and make a fence for the Torah.

(ו) הוו מתונים בדין שאם בא דין לפניך פעם ושתים ושלש, לא תאמר דין זה כבר בא לפני ושניתי ושלשתי בו, אלא הוו מתונים, כלומר ממתינים קודם שתפסקו הדין:

Be deliberate in judgement...meaning, if a case comes before you a second or third time, don't say "I've already decided this case two or three times before." Rather, be moderate, which is to say, take your time before issuing the decision.

Legends of the Jews 3:4:63-65

(63) God bade Moses choose as his helpers in the guidance of the people such men as had already been active leaders and officers in Egypt. In the days of Egyptian bondage it frequently happened that the officers of the children of Israel were beaten if the people had not fulfilled their task in making bricks, but "he that is willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of Israel shall be rewarded with honor, dignity, and the gift of the Holy Spirit." The officers suffered in Egypt for Israel, and were now found worthy of having the Holy Spirit come upon them. God moreover said to Moses: "With kindly words welcome the elders to their new dignity, saying, 'Hail to you that are deemed worthy by God of being fit for this office.' At the same time, however, speak seriously with them also, saying, 'Know ye that the Israelites are a troublesome and stiff-necked people, and that you must ever be prepared to have them curse you or cast stones at you'" (64) God commanded the selection of the elders to take place at the Tabernacle, that Israel might reverence them, saying, "Surely these are worthy men," but they were not permitted with Moses to enter the Tabernacle and hear God's word. The people were however mistaken in assuming that God's word reached the ears of the elders, for He spoke with Moses alone, even though the prophetic spirit came upon them also. (65) Now when Moses wished to proceed to the selection of the seventy elders, he was in a sore predicament because he could not evenly divide the number seventy among the twelve tribes, and was anxious to show no partiality to one tribe over another, which would lead to dissatisfaction among Israel. Bezalel, son of Uri, however, gave Moses good advice. He took seventy slips of paper on which was written "elder," and with them two blank slips, and mixed all these in an urn. Seventy-two elders, six to each tribe, now advance and each drew a slip. Those whose slips were marked "elder" were elected, while those who had drawn blank slips were rejected, but in such a wise that they could not well accuse Moses of partiality.