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Jethro’s Counsel

18 Now (A)Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt. And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife (B)Zipporah, after he had sent her away, and her (C)two sons, of whom [a]one was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have been (D)a [b]sojourner in a foreign land.” [c]And the other was named [d](E)Eliezer, for he said, “(F)The God of my father was my help and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses [e]in the wilderness where he was camped, at (G)the mount of God. And he [f]sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her.” Then Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and (H)he bowed down and (I)kissed him; and they (J)asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. And Moses recounted to his father-in-law all that Yahweh had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians (K)for Israel’s sake, all the (L)hardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how (M)Yahweh had delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced over all (N)the goodness which Yahweh had done to Israel, that He had delivered [g]them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 So Jethro said, “(O)Blessed be Yahweh who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that (P)Yahweh is greater than all the gods; [h]for (Q)in this matter they acted presumptuously against [i]the people.” 12 (R)Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat [j]a meal with Moses’ father-in-law before God.

13 Now it happened the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. 14 And Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, so he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me (S)to inquire of God. 16 When they have a (T)matter, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.” 17 And Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 (U)You will surely wear out, both yourself and [k]these people who are with you, for the [l]task is too heavy for you; (V)you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to my voice: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. [m]You be the people’s representative before God, and you (W)bring the matters to God; 20 (X)then warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make known to them (Y)the way in which they shall go and the work they shall do. 21 But you shall [n]select (Z)excellent men out of all the people, (AA)those who fear God, men of truth, those who (AB)hate greedy gain; and you shall place these men over them as leaders of thousands, [o]of hundreds, [p]of fifties, and [q]of tens. 22 And they will judge the people at all times. And it will be (AC)that every major matter they will bring to you, but every minor matter they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and (AD)they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to [r]endure, and all [s]these people also will go to [t]their place in peace.”

24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 And Moses chose (AE)excellent men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, [u]of hundreds, [v]of fifties, and [w]of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times; (AF)the difficult matter they would bring to Moses, but every minor matter they themselves would judge. 27 Then Moses [x](AG)let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.


  1. Exodus 18:3 Lit the name of the one was
  2. Exodus 18:3 Heb ger
  3. Exodus 18:4 Lit The name of the other was
  4. Exodus 18:4 Lit My God is help
  5. Exodus 18:5 Lit unto
  6. Exodus 18:6 Lit said
  7. Exodus 18:9 Lit him
  8. Exodus 18:11 Lit indeed, in the thing in which they
  9. Exodus 18:11 Lit them
  10. Exodus 18:12 Lit bread
  11. Exodus 18:18 Lit this
  12. Exodus 18:18 Lit matter
  13. Exodus 18:19 Lit You be for the people in front of God
  14. Exodus 18:21 Lit see
  15. Exodus 18:21 Lit leaders of
  16. Exodus 18:21 Lit leaders of
  17. Exodus 18:21 Lit leaders of
  18. Exodus 18:23 Lit stand
  19. Exodus 18:23 Lit this
  20. Exodus 18:23 Lit his
  21. Exodus 18:25 Lit leaders of
  22. Exodus 18:25 Lit leaders of
  23. Exodus 18:25 Lit leaders of
  24. Exodus 18:27 Lit sent off his father-in-law