The book of Eldad and Modad.

Counted among the pseudepigrapha.


Attributed author(s).
Eldad and Modad.

Text(s) available.
On site (present page; fragment in Greek and English).
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.

Useful links.
Eldad and Medad in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
A Worst Case Scenario (J. Davila).
EJW (Peter Kirby).

The book of Eldad and Modad is counted among the pseudepigrapha. It was apparently an ancient Jewish book of which little or nothing is known any longer. It is no longer extant. Only one fragment remains, as it is quoted in Vision 2.3.4 of the Shepherd of Hermas:

Εγγυς κυριος τοις επιστρεφομενοις, ως γεγραπται εν τω Ελδαδ και Μωδατ, τοις προφητευσασιν εν τη ερημω τω λαω.

The Lord is near to those who turn to him, as it is written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness.

It has been conjectured that a certain shared quotation from both 1 and 2 Clement also anonymously preserve a passage from this lost text:

1 Clement 23.3-4. 2 Clement 11.2-3.
Πορρω γενεσθω αφ ημων
η γραφη αυτη, οπου λεγει·
Ταλαιπωροι εισιν οι διψυχοι,
οι δισταζοντες τη ψυχη,
οι λεγοντες· Ταυτα
ηκουσαμεν και επι των
πατερων ημων, και ιδου,
γεγηρακαμεν, και ουδεν
ημιν τουτων
συνβεβηκεν.
ω ανοητοι, συμβαλετε εαυτους
ξυλω· λαβετε αμπελον·
πρωτον μεν φυλλοροει,
ειτα βλαστος γινεται,
ειτα φυλλον, ειτα ανθος,
και μετα ταυτα ομφαξ,
ειτα σταφυλη παρεστηκυια.
 
Let this scripture be far away
from us where he says:
Wretched are the doublesouled,
who doubt in their soul,
and who say: We heard these
things in the time
of our fathers also, and behold,
we have grown old,
and none of these things
has befallen us.
O fools, compare yourselves
to a tree; take a vine.
First it sheds its leaves,
then a shoot comes into being,
then a leaf, then a flower,
and after these a berry,
then a ripe bunch.
Λεγει γαρ και
ο προφητικος λογος·
Ταλαιπωροι εισιν οι διψυχοι,
οι δισταζοντες τη καρδια,
οι λεγοντες· Ταυτα παλαι
ηκουσαμεν και επι των
πατερων ημων,
ημεις δε ημεραν εξ ημερας
προσδεχομενοι ουδεν
τουτων εωρακαμεν.
ανοητοι, συμβαλετε εαυτους
ξυλω· λαβετε αμπελον·
πρωτον μεν φυλλοροει,
ειτα βλαστος γινεται·
 
μετα ταυτα ομφαξ,
ειτα σταφυλη παρεστηκυια.
 
For the prophetic word
also says:
Wretched are the doublesouled,
who doubt in their heart,
and who say: We heard these
things of old in the time
of our fathers also,
but, having waited day after day,
we have seen
none of these things.
O fools, compare yourselves
to a tree; take a vine.
First it sheds its leaves,
then a shoot comes into being;
 
after these a berry,
then a ripe bunch.

Likewise, it has been conjectured that 1 Clement 8.4 may preserve another anonymous passage from Eldad and Modad:

...προστιθεις και γνωμην αγαθην· Μετανοησατε, οικος Ισραηλ, απο της ανομιας υμων. ειπον τοις υιοις του λαου μου· Εαν ωσιν αι αμαρτιαι υμων απο της γης εως του ουρανου και εαν ωσιν πυρροτεραι κοκκου και μελανωτεραι σακκου, και επιστραφητε προς με εξ ολης της καρδιας και ειπητε· Πατερ, επακουσομαι υμων ως λαου αγιου.

...having added also a good judgment: Repent, house of Israel, of your lawlessness. Say to the sons of my people: Even if your sins should reach from the earth unto heaven, and even if they should be redder than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, and you turn toward me from your whole heart and say: Father, I will listen to you as to a holy people.

These suggestions, of course, amount to no more than informed speculation, and 1 Clement 8.4 has also been thought to belong to the apocryphon of Ezekiel.

The Stichometry of (pseudo-)Nicephorus states that the book of El[d]ad and Modad contained 400 verses or lines (Ηλαδ και Μωδαδ, στιχοι υʹ).


Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).

Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the book of Eldad and Modad:

Emil Schürer writes: "This was a writing that was circulated under the name of the two Israelites [Eldad and Modad], who according to Num. xi. 26-29 uttered certain predictions in the camp during the march through the wilderness. Besides being mentioned in the lists of the Apocrypha, this book is also quoted in the Shepherd of Hermas, and that as a genuine prophetical work. According to the Targum of Jonathan on Num. xi. 26-29, the predictions of the two personages here in question had reference chiefly to Magog's final attack upon the congregation of Israel. But whether this may be regarded as indicating what the theme of our book is likely to have been is extremely doubtful." (The Literature of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, p. 129)

James Charlesworth writes: "According to Numbers 11:24-30, Eldad and Modad (Medad) are two of the seventy elders who received the spirit and prophesied while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses. The Stichometry of Nicephorus indicates that the book contained 400 lines, but only the following is extant: '"The Lord is near those that turn to him," as it is written in the book of Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness.'" (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, p. 95)