Exodus 18 The Arm Wrestling Continues

Even Moses needs a “hand”.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist. ) Yes, even Moses needs to ask for help, so why shouldn’t we?!

Continuing in Exodus, Chapter 18

1 When Jethro, 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;

Jethro was miles away in Midian, yet he still heard that God had brought Israel out of Egypt. This was big news and traveled far.

2 Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back,

When did Moses send Zipporah back to her father? Why? To take care of his sons?  To keep his sons away, keep them at Midian so that Moses would not be distracted in his duty?

Anybody know? Bueller?

3 And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:

Gershom, a stranger in a strange land, was named after the fact that God told Abraham that his people Israel would be strangers in a strange land (Egypt). This symbolizes a fulfillment of prophecy.

4 And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:

Eliezer was a constant reminder: for the God of our father, Abraham, was my help, and delivered me from death by Pharaoh’s hand.

5 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:

Jethro brought Moses’ family and met up with Moses at the mount of God, where this whole adventure had started. They could get a fresh start from this point.


6 And he said unto Moses, I your father in law Jethro am come unto you, and your wife, and her two sons with her.

Jethro sent a message ahead of his arrival to let Moses know he was on the way with his family.

7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.

Here we have another 10-cent word, obeisance, which means to revere, to respect, or to bow down in honor. Moses honored his father-in-law.

8 And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.

Moses told Jethro of all that they had gone through: the plagues, the chase into the Red Sea, and how the Lord snatched them out of danger.

9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.

Rejoice with them that rejoice. Jethro was happy to learn all the goodness of God, who plucked them out of the Pharaoh’s hand.


10 And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

Again, Blessed be the Lord, who did these great things! He delivered the Israelites out of the hand of the Egyptians (the bondage), from the hand of Pharaoh (personally), and out from under the hand of the Egyptians (the chase at the Red Sea).

11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.

Here is Jethro’s personal confession of faith. He knows that the God of Moses is above any other god.

12 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God.

Jethro made an offering to God, and the elders came and ate with him, acknowledging his kinship with them.


13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.

The next day, Moses went back to his day job. Moses was a Judge (like the people’s court) to decide issues they had against one another.

14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that you do to the people? why sit you yourself alone, and all the people stand by you from morning unto even?

Jethro watched Moses all day, and scratched his head. “Moses, why do you sit alone all day, listening to these peoples’ problems until evening?”

Remember in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone!” Sure, Moses had a wife and family, but he worked alone all day.

15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God:

Moses told Jethro, “The people want me to inquire of God on their behalf. It’s my job.”

16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.

“When they have a problem, they come to me, and I made a decision, and I make them know the rules of God, and His Laws.”

17 And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that you do is not good.

Jethro tells Moses, “This is not good.” It’s not good because he’s alone.

18 You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you: for this thing is too heavy for thee; you are not able to perform it yourself alone.

In modern language: “Moses, you’re going to burn yourself out. This is too much for one person to handle.”

19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give you counsel, and God shall be with you: Be you for the people to Godward, that you may bring the causes unto God:

Jethro advised Moses further. “Listen to me, I will give you advice, and God will be with you.”

20 And you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.

“Teach them God’s ordinances and laws, teach them how to walk, show them the work they need to do for themselves.”

This reminds me of the New Testament scripture:   But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him.  1 John 2:27

21 Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

More good advice. Break it down into smaller groups, smaller pieces, so it’s not so overwhelming. That’s what I did on this blog. One sentence at a time.

22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto you, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you.

So Moses, let those people be the smaller court system, and if it is something that needs to be kicked upstairs to you, so be it. But give yourself a break: delegate.

23 If you shall do this thing, and God command you so, then you shall be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

So do it this way, because it’s not good for man to be alone, and because you’re only human, let other people help you, and things will be more peaceful. Less stress all around.

24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.

Moses decided Jethro knew what he was talking about and took his advice.

25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

So Moses implemented the plan. He chose good men, and made a hierarchy system.

26 And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

Moses continued to oversee the harder cases, but the smaller details were worked out by the other folks.

27 And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.

Moses knew that Jethro had come and done his task. Now it was time for Jethro to leave, and he went home.

“Always leave them wanting more.”


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