Moses elects the Council of Seventy Elders

Jacob de Wit1737

Royal Palace Amsterdam

Royal Palace Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

This vast painting by Jacob de Wit fills the entire wall. Moses stands in the centre, surrounded by the 70 elders he has selected. Behind Moses and off to one side, screened by a tent flap, is the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments engraved on tablets of stone. In the top left-hand corner, a group of clouds indicates the presence of God.

Additional information:
Moses was told by God to select 70 elders to receive some of the Holy Spirit conferred on him and to share with him the burden of ruling the people of Israel. The story illustrates the task of the 36 members of the council who met in the Council Chamber (Vroedschapskamer). Like the elders in the Bible story, they helped run the city by advising the four burgomasters.

Artwork history:
De Wit made this painting between November 1735 and October 1737 in response to a commission from the city fathers. There is a preparatory study for the work in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives.


  • Title: Moses elects the Council of Seventy Elders
  • Creator Lifespan: 1695 - 1754
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Amsterdam
  • Creator Birth Place: Amsterdam
  • Date Created: 1737
  • Place Part Of: Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: w13710 x h5940 mm (without frame)
  • Display: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Description: Oil on Canvas
  • Artist: Jacob de Wit
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © Stichting Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam., ©Stichting Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam

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