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Exodus 18

The Visit of Jethro

1 Now Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, a the priest of Midian, heard about all that God had done for Moses and His people Israel, and how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.

2 After Moses had sent back his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro had received her, 3 along with her two sons. One son was named Gershom, b for Moses had said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” 4 The other son was named Eliezer, c for Moses had said, “The God of my father was my helper and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

5 Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, along with Moses’ wife and sons, came to him in the desert, where he was encamped at the mountain of God. 6 He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”

7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and went into the tent. 8 Then Moses recounted to his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships they had encountered along the way, and how the LORD had delivered them.

9 And Jethro rejoiced over all the good things the LORD had done for Israel, whom He had rescued from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro declared, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for He did this when they treated Israel with arrogance.”

12 Then Moses’ father-in-law Jethro brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

Jethro Advises Moses
(Deuteronomy 1:9–18)

13 The next day Moses took his seat to judge the people, and they stood around him from morning until evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone as judge, with all the people standing around you from morning till evening?”

15 “Because the people come to me to inquire of God,” Moses replied. 16 “Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me to judge between one man and another, and I make known to them the statutes and laws of God.”

17 But Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 Surely you and these people with you will wear yourselves out, because the task is too heavy for you. You cannot handle it alone.

19 Now listen to me; I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their causes to Him. 20 Teach them the statutes and laws, and show them the way to live and the work they must do.

21 Furthermore, select capable men from among the people—God-fearing, trustworthy men who are averse to dishonest gain. Appoint them over the people as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

22 Have these men judge the people at all times. Then they can bring you any major issue, but all minor cases they can judge on their own, so that your load may be lightened as they share it with you.

23 If you follow this advice and God so directs you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people can go home in peace.”

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 So Moses chose capable men from all Israel and made them heads over the people as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times; they would bring the difficult cases to Moses, but any minor issue they would judge themselves.

27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own land.



1 a Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was also called Reuel ; see Exodus 2:18.
3 b Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for sojourner .
4 c Eliezer means God is my helper .

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