Now Jethro,1 the priest of Midian2 and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.3
References for Exodus 18:1
After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah,4 his father-in-law Jethro received her
References for Exodus 18:2
and her two sons.5 One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, "I have become a foreigner in a foreign land";6
References for Exodus 18:3
and the other was named Eliezer,7 for he said, "My father's God was my helper;8 he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh."
References for Exodus 18:4
Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain9 of God.
References for Exodus 18:5
Jethro had sent word to him, "I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons."
So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down10 and kissed11 him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent.
References for Exodus 18:7
Moses told his father-in-law about everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel's sake and about all the hardships12 they had met along the way and how the LORD had saved13 them.
References for Exodus 18:8
Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things14 the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.
References for Exodus 18:9
He said, "Praise be to the LORD,15 who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.
References for Exodus 18:10
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods,16 for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly."17
References for Exodus 18:11
Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law,18 brought a burnt offering19 and other sacrifices20 to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread21 with Moses' father-in-law in the presence22 of God.
References for Exodus 18:12
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.
When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?"
Moses answered him, "Because the people come to me to seek God's will.23
References for Exodus 18:15
Whenever they have a dispute,24 it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and instructions."25
References for Exodus 18:16
Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good.
You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.26
References for Exodus 18:18
Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.27 You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes28 to him.
References for Exodus 18:19
Teach them his decrees and instructions,29 and show them the way they are to live30 and how they are to behave.31
References for Exodus 18:20
But select capable men32 from all the people--men who fear33 God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain34--and appoint them as officials35 over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
References for Exodus 18:21
Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case36 to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share37 it with you.
References for Exodus 18:22
If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied."
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.
He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders38 of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.39
References for Exodus 18:25
They served as judges40 for the people at all times. The difficult cases41 they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.42
References for Exodus 18:26
Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.43
References for Exodus 18:27