Exodus 18 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Jethro, Moses’ Father-in-law
18 Now Jethro (Reuel), 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 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife Zipporah, after he had sent her away [from Egypt], 3 along with her two sons, of whom one was named Gershom (stranger), for Moses said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.” 4 The other [son] was named Eliezer (my God is help), for Moses said, “The God of my father was my help, and He rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
5 Then Jethro, his father-in-law, came with Moses’ sons and his wife to [join] Moses in the wilderness where he was camped, at the mountain of God [that is, Mt. Sinai in Horeb]. 6 He sent a message to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons [who are] with her.” 7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and he bowed down [in respect] and kissed him. They asked each other about their well-being and went into the tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law about all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and about all the hardship that had happened during the journey, and how the Lord had rescued them. 9 Jethro rejoiced over all the good things the Lord had done to Israel, in that He had rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who has rescued the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is [a]greater than all gods; indeed, it was proven when they acted insolently toward Israel [and the Lord showed Himself infinitely superior to all their gods].” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and [other] sacrifices [to offer] to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
13 Now the next day Moses sat to judge [the disputes] the people [had with one another], and the people stood around Moses from dawn to dusk. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw everything that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why are you sitting alone [as a judge] with all the people standing around you from dawn to dusk?” 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to ask [about the will] of God. 16 When they have a dispute they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
Jethro Counsels Moses
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you [to bear]; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to [b]me; [c]I will advise you, and may God be with you [to confirm my advice]. You shall represent the people before God. You shall bring their disputes and causes to Him. 20 You shall teach them the decrees and laws. You shall show them the way they are to live and the work they are to do. 21 Furthermore, you shall select from all the people competent men who [reverently] fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; you shall place these over the people as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22 They shall judge the people at all times; have them bring every major dispute to you, but let them judge every minor dispute themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you will do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure [the responsibility], and all these people will also go [back] to their tents in peace.”
24 So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men from all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens [from the highest to the lowest judicial levels]. 26 And they judged the people at all times; they would bring the difficult cases to Moses, but every minor dispute they judged and decided themselves. 27 Then Moses [d]said goodbye to his father-in-law, and Jethro went back to his own land (Midian).
Exodus 18 New International Version (NIV)
Jethro Visits Moses
18 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian 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.
2 After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her 3 and her two sons. One son was named Gershom,[a] for Moses said, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land”; 4 and the other was named Eliezer,[b] for he said, “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God. 6 Jethro had sent word to him, “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 then went into the tent. 8 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 hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.
9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued 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 to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 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?”
15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 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. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.