Exodus 18

1 Iethro the prest of Madian Moses father in lawe herde of all that God had done vnto Moses and to Israel his people, how that the Lorde had broughte Israel out of Egipte.
2 And he toke Ziphora Moses wyfe, after she was sente backe,
3 and hir .ij. sonnes, of which the one was called Gerson, for he sayde: I haue bene an alient in a straunge lande.
4 And the other was called Eliesar: for the God of my father was myne helpe ad delyuered me from the swerde of Pharao.
5 And Iethro Moses father in lawe came wyth his two sonnes and his wife vnto Moses in to the wildernesse: where he had pitched his tente by the mounte of God.
6 And he sent worde to Moses: I thi father in law Iethro am come to the, and thi wyfe also, and hir two sonnes with her.
7 And Moses went out to mete his father in lawe and dyd obeyssaunce and kyssed him, and they saluted etch other ad came in to the tente.
8 And Moses tolde his father in lawe all that the Lorde had done vnto Pharao and to the Egiptians for Israels sake, and all the trauayle that had happened them by the waye, and how the Lorde had delyuered them.
9 And Iethro reioesed ouer all the good which the Lorde had done to Israel, and because he had delyuered them out of the hande of the Egiptians.
10 And Iethro sayde: blessed be the Lorde which hath delyuered you out of the hande of the Egiptians ad out of the hande of Pharao, which hath delyuered his people from vnder the power of the Egiptians.
11 Now I knowe that the Lorde is greater the all goddes, for because that they dealte prowdly with them.
12 And Iethro Moses father in lawe offred burntoffrynges and sacrifyces vnto God. And Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eate bred with Moses father in lawe before God.
13 And it chaunched on the morow, that Moses satt to iudge the people, and the people stode aboute Moses from mornynge vnto euen.
14 when his father in lawe sawe all that he dyd vnto the people, he sayde: what is this that thou doest vnto the people? why syttest thou thi self and lettest all the people stonde aboute the fro mornynge vnto euen?
15 And Moses sayde vnto his father in lawe: because the people came vnto me to seke councell of God.
16 For whe they haue a matter, they come vnto me, and I must iudge betwene euery man and his neyboure, and must shewe them the ordinauces of God and his lawes.
17 And his father in lawe sayde vnto him: it is not well that thou dost.
18 Thou doest vnwysely and also this people that is with the: because the thinge is to greuous for the, and thou art not able to do it thi selfe alone.
19 But heare my voyce, and I will geue the councell, and God shalbe with the. Be thou vnto the people to Godwarde, and brynge the causes vnto God
20 and prouyde them ordinaunces and lawes, ad shewe them the waye wherin they must walke and the werkes that they must doo.
21 Morouer seke out amonge all the people, men of actiuite which feare God and men that are true ad hate covetuousnes: and make them heedes ouer the people, captaynes ouer thousandes, ouer hundredes, ouer fyftie, and ouer ten.
22 And let them iudge the people at all seasons: Yf there be any greate matter, let them brynge that vnto the, and let them iudge all small causes them selues, and ease thi selfe, ad let them bere with the.
23 Yf thou shalt doo this thinge, then thou shalt be able to endure that which God chargeth the with all, and all this people shall goo to their places quietly.
24 And Moses herde the voyce of his father in lawe, and dyd all that he had sayde,
25 and chose actyue men out of all Israel and made them heedes ouer the people, captaynes ouer thousandes, ouer hundreds, ouer fiftie and ouer ten
26 And they iudged the people at all seasons, ad broughte the harde causes vnto Moses: and iudged all small maters them selues.
27 And tha Moses let his father in lawe departe, and he went in to his awne londe.

Exodus 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Jethro brings to Moses his wife and two sons. (1-6) Moses entertains Jethro. (7-12) Jethro's counsel to Moses. (13-27)

Verses 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, ( 1 Timothy. 3:5 )

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of Jethro, Moses's father-in-law, with Zipporah his daughter, the wife of Moses, and her two sons, meeting him in the wilderness, who was kindly received by him, Ex 18:1-7 and on Moses' relating the great things God had done for Israel, Jethro expressed his joy on that account, gave praise to God, offered sacrifice, and kept a feast with the elders of Israel, Ex 18:8-12, and observing the constant and fatiguing business Moses had on his hands from morning to evening in judging the people, Ex 18:13-18, he gave him advice to appoint persons under him to receive laws and ordinances from him, he should have from God, and, according to them, judge and govern the people under them, some being rulers of thousands, others of hundreds, others of fifties, and some of tens, Ex 18:19-23, which counsel was acceptable to Moses, and he took it, Ex 18:24-26 and the chapter is concluded with their friendly parting, Ex 18:27.

Exodus 18 Commentaries

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