Exodus 18:12

12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

Exodus 18:12 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 18:12

And Jethro, Moses's father in law, took a burnt offering and
sacrifices for God
The burnt offering, which was either of the flock or of the herd, was wholly consumed by fire, from whence it had its name; the peace offering for thanksgiving, which seemed to be meant by the sacrifices here, the flesh of them were to be eaten, ( Leviticus 7:15 ) and now a feast was kept, as the latter part of the verse shows: whether Jethro brought cattle along with him for such a purpose, and so "gave" F16 or "offered" them for a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; as the word for took may be rendered, one and the same word signifying both to give and take, see ( Psalms 68:18 ) , compared with ( Ephesians 4:8 ) or whether, with the leave of Moses and the children of Israel, he took them out of their flocks and herds, it matters not, since this is only observed to show Jethro's devotion to God, and the grateful sense he had of the divine goodness to Israel; and since he was a priest of Midian, as he is generally said to be, and a priest of the most high God, as Melchizedek was, he might offer sacrifices; for it does not appear that he delivered them to others to be offered, or that these were slain by Aaron; for, though he is after mentioned, yet not as a sacrificer, but as a guest; and perhaps this might be before he and his sons were separated to the priest's office, or, at least, before they had entered upon it; nor is this mention of a burnt offering and sacrifices any proof of Jethro's meeting Moses after the giving of the law, since, before that, sacrifices were in use, and Jethro being a grandchild of Abraham, might have learnt the use of them from him:

and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses's
father in law, before God;
the tents of Moses being on the east side of the tabernacle, as Aben Ezra says, in which was the mercy seat and cherubim, between which the divine Majesty was; but there is no need to suppose that the tabernacle was now built, for this tent of Moses might be placed before or near the pillar of cloud in which Jehovah was; or the sense may only be, that they ate their food in the presence of God, in the fear of the Lord, with gladness and singleness of heart, as good men do; and especially as this was an eucharistic sacrifice unto God they partook of, Aaron and the elders came out of a civil respect to Jethro, to take a meal with him, as well as to join with him in a religious action: the bread they ate was, no doubt, the manna, which Jethro, though a Midianite, yet a descendant of Abraham, and a good man, partook of, and is put for the whole repast, the flesh of the sacrifices and what else were eaten: no mention is made of Moses, nor was there any need of it, as Aben Ezra observes, it being his tent in which they were: the Targum of Jonathan adds,

``Moses stood and ministered before them;''

and so says Jarchi; which is not very probable, it being not agreeable to the dignity of his station and office.


F16 (xqyw) "acceptumque obtulit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Fagius, Drusius.

Exodus 18:12 In-Context

10 “Praise the LORD,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!
11 I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.”
12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.
13 The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.
14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?”
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