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1 When Iethro the Priest of Midian, Moses father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt:

2 Then Iethro Moses father in law tooke Zipporah Moses wife, after he had sent her backe,

3 And her two sonnes, of which the name of the one was Gershom: for he said, I haue bene an alien in a strange land.

4 And the name of the other was Eliezer: for the God of my father, said he, was mine helpe, and deliuered me from the sword of Pharaoh.

5 And Iethro Moses father in law came with his sonnes and his wife vnto Moses into the wildernes, where he encamped at the mount of God.

6 And he said vnto Moses, I thy father in law Iethro am come vnto thee, and thy wife, and her two sonnes with her.

7 And Moses went out to meete his father in law, and did obeysance, and kissed him: and they asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent.

8 And Moses told his father in law, all that the Lord had done vnto Pharaoh, and to the Egyptians for Israels sake, and all the trauaile that had come vpon them by the way, and how the Lord deliuered them.

9 And Iethro reioyced for all the goodnesse which the Lord had doue to Israel: whom he had deliuered out of the hand of the Egyptians.

10 And Iethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath deliuered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath deliuered the people from vnder the hand of the Egyptians.

11 Now I know that the Lord is greater then all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, hee was aboue them.

12 And Iethro, Moses father in law, tooke a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the Elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses father in law before God.

13 And it came to passe on the morrow, that Moses sate to iudge the people: and the people stood by Moses, from the morning vnto the euening.

14 And when Moses father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? Why sittest thou thy selfe alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning vnto euen?

15 And Moses said vnto his father in law, Because the people come vnto me to enquire of God.

16 When they haue a matter, they come vnto mee, and I iudge betweene one and another, and I doe make them know the statutes of God and his Lawes.

17 And Moses father in law saide vnto him, The thing that thou doest, is not good.

18 Thou wilt surely weare away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heauy for thee; thou art not able to performe it thy selfe alone.

19 Hearken now vnto my voyce, I will giue thee counsell, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes vnto God:

20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and lawes, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walke, and the worke that they must doe.

21 Moreouer thou shalt prouide out of all the people able men, such as feare God, men of trueth, hating couetousnesse, and place such ouer them, to bee rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tennes.

22 And let them iudge the people at all seasons: and it shall bee that euery great matter they shall bring vnto thee, but euery small matter they shal iudge: so shall it be easier for thy selfe, and they shall beare the burden with thee.

23 If thou shalt doe this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt bee able to endure, and all this people shall also goe to their place in peace.

24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.

25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads ouer the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tennes.

26 And they iudged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought vnto Moses, but euery small matter they iudged themselues.

27 And Moses let his father in law depart, and he went his way into his owne land.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for Exodus 18

Jethro brings to Moses his wife and two sons. (1-6) Moses entertains Jethro. (7-12) Jethro's counsel to Moses. (13-27)1-6 Jethro came to rejoice with Moses in the happiness of Israel, and to bring his wife and children to him. Moses must have his family with him, that while he ruled the church of God, he might set a good example in family government, #1Ti 3:5|.

7-12 Conversation concerning God's wondrous works is good, and edifies. Jethro not only rejoiced in the honour done to his son-in-law, but in all the goodness done to Israel. Standers-by were more affected with the favours God had showed to Israel, than many were who received them. Jethro gave the glory to Israel's God. Whatever we have the joy of, God must have the praise. They joined in a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Mutual friendship is sanctified by joint worship. It is very good for relations and friends to join in the spiritual sacrifice of prayer and praise, as those that meet in Christ. This was a temperate feast; they did eat bread, manna. Jethro must see and taste that bread from heaven, and though a gentile, is welcome: the gentiles are welcomed to Christ the Bread of life.

13-27 Here is the great zeal and the toil of Moses as a magistrate. Having been employed to redeem Israel out of the house of bondage, he is a further type of Christ, that he is employed as a lawgiver and a judge among them. If the people were as quarrelsome one with another as they were with God, no doubt Moses had many causes brought before him. This business Moses was called to; it appears that he did it with great care and kindness. The meanest Israelite was welcome to bring his cause before him. Moses kept to his business from morning to night. Jethro thought it was too much for him to undertake alone; also it would make the administration of justice tiresome to the people. There may be over-doing even in well-doing. Wisdom is profitable to direct, that we may neither content ourselves with less than our duty, nor task ourselves beyond our strength. Jethro advised Moses to a better plan. Great men should not only study to be useful themselves, but contrive to make others useful. Care must be taken in the choice of the persons admitted into such a trust. They should be men of good sense, that understood business, and that would not be daunted by frowns or clamours, but abhorred the thought of a bribe. Men of piety and religion; such as fear God, who dare not to do a base thing, though they could do it secretly and securely. The fear of God will best fortify a man against temptations to injustice. Moses did not despise this advice. Those are not wise, who think themselves too wise to be counselled.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Exodus 18

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