Jethro visits Moses. Jethro offers wise advice.
VERSE 1. Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.
Jethro. He is also known as “Reuel.”
the priest of Midian. Jethro is revered as the spiritual founder and chief prophet in the Druze religion.
The Druze religion is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion. It is based on the teachings of Hamza ibn-‘Ali ibn-Ahmad and the sixth Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, as well as Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.
Zipporah. She was one of the seven daughters of Jethro. She was married to Moses.
after he had sent her away. The Hebrew expression is difficult to translate. The word that makes it difficult is שִׁלּוּחֶֽיהָ׃ (“šil·lū·ḥe·hā”). It means a sending away, parting gift.
Another possible translation is that she sent things or persons, perhaps the announcement of the victory over Amalek.
VERSE 3. and her two sons. The name of one son was Gershom, for Moses said, “I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land”.
Gershom. This word sounds like the Hebrew expression for “an alien there.”
VERSE 4. The name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my help and delivered me from Pharaoh’s sword.”
Eliezer. This word means “God is my helper.”
VERSE 5. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with Moses’ sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness where he was encamped, at the Mountain of God.
the Mountain of God. This might refer to Mt. Sinai. Or to the Sinai Peninsula.
VERSE 6. He said to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, have come to you with your wife, and her two sons with her.”
come to you with your wife. Apparently Zipporah had been staying with her father Jethro.
VERSE 7. Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent.
VERSE 8. Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that had come on them on the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
Moses told … all that the LORD had done. Moses shares the Good News with a non-Hebrew person.
The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »
VERSE 9. Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
Jethro rejoiced. He was delighted to learn of the good fortune of others.
VERSE 10. Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
Blessed be the LORD. Jethro praises the One God of the Hebrew people.
VERSE 11. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods because of the way that they treated people arrogantly.”
the LORD is greater than all gods. This phrase stems from “henotheism.”
Henotheism is the belief in and worship of a single God, while also accepting the existence (or possible existence) of other deities that may also be worshipped.
VERSE 12. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Aaron came with all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
Jethro … took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Jethro is offering a sacrifice.
Was Jethro circumcised?
VERSE 13. On the next day, Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from the morning to the evening.
VERSE 14. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, “What is this thing that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning to evening?”
What is this thing that you do for the people? In the following verses, we learn that Jethro is very wise.
VERSE 15. Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.
VERSE 16. When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.”
I judge. Moses “lays down the law.” He makes his own decisions. And those decisions are considered the Law of God.
VERSE 17. Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good.
VERSE 18. You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone.
You are not able to perform it yourself alone. The task was too heavy. Moses needed to change it somehow.
VERSE 19. Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You represent the people before God, and bring the causes to God.
VERSE 20. You shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do.
You shall teach them the statutes and the laws. Moses will retain his role as the primary spiritual teacher of the people.
VERSE 21. Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men which fear God: men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
VERSE 22. Let them judge the people at all times. It shall be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge themselves. So shall it be easier for you, and they shall share the load with you.
Let them judge the people at all times. Moses needed to delegate. He needed to share some of his God-given authority.
VERSE 23. If you will do this thing, and God commands you so, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.”
you will be able to endure. If Moses were to delegate some of his God-given authority, Moses himself will benefit.
The never-ending demands of the people won’t wear him out.
all these people also will go to their place in peace. If Moses were to delegate some of his God-given authority, the people will benefit.
Their route to justice would be much more immediate. And along their path to justice, the system itself would be more likely to teach them the ways of God.
There is a spiritual principle here. The spiritual leader should be eager to train others to share his authority.
It isn’t right to keep all the spiritual treasures to oneself. Spiritual things are to be shouted from the rooftops. God’s teachings are to be promulgated to the ends of the earth!
Moses … did all that he had said. Moses acted upon the wise counsel from Jethro.
VERSE 25. Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
VERSE 26. They judged the people at all times. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
They judged the people at all times. By Moses delegating some of his God-given authority, the judges will benefit.
They will learn the ways of God, and help teach them to the people.
VERSE 27. Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.