Exodus 18International Standard Version (ISV)
Jethro Visits Moses
18 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken back Moses’ wife Zipporah after she had been sent away, 3 along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom, because he would say, “I was an alien[a] in a foreign land,” 4 while the name of the other was Eliezer,[b] because he would say,[c] “My father’s God helped me and delivered me from Pharaoh’s sword.”
5 Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, together with Moses’ two sons and his wife, came to Moses in the desert where he was camped at the mountain of God.[d] 6 He told Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you along with your wife and her two sons.” 7 When Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, he bowed low and kissed him, and they greeted one another. Then they went into the tent.
8 Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians on Israel’s behalf, all the hardships that they had encountered along the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. 9 Jethro rejoiced over all the good that the Lord had done for Israel in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from the oppression[e] of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods,[f] because of what happened to[g] the Egyptians when[h] they acted arrogantly against Israel.” 12 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to dine with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
Jethro Advises Moses to Appoint Judges
13 The next day Moses sat down to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge,[i] with all the people standing around you from morning until evening?”
15 Moses told his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.[j] 16 When they have a dispute, it comes to me and I decide between a person and his neighbor, and make known the statutes of God and his instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law told him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You will certainly wear yourself out, both you and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You cannot do it by yourself. 19 Now listen to me. I’ll advise you, and may God be with you. You are to represent the people before God and bring the disputes to God. 20 You are to teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they’re to go and the things they’re to do. 21 You are to look for capable men among the people, men who fear God, men of integrity who hate dishonest gain. You are to set these men over them as officials over thousands, hundreds,[k] fifties,[l] and tens.[m] 22 They are to judge the people at all times. Let them bring every major matter to you, but let them judge every minor matter. It will lighten your burden, and they’ll bear it with you. 23 If you do this,[n] and God so commands you, you will be able to stand the strain,[o] and all these people will also go to their homes in peace.”
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 Moses chose capable men from all Israel and appointed them as heads over the people, as officials over thousands, hundreds,[p] fifties,[q] and tens.[r] 26 They judged the people at all times; the difficult matters they brought to Moses, but every minor matter they judged. 27 Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and he went to his own land.
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