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.
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.
14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
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.
17 And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover thou shalt 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:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
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.
26 And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
27 And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.
K.J.V. Bible Text
Not recalling anything from church teachings about Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, after yesterday’s reading I wondered about his motives. Today’s reading indicates that Jethro offered sacrifices to God and joined the elders of Israel to eat bread.
Jethro also observed Moses as the people gathered around him from morning to evening enquiring of him and seeking to know the statutes of God.
Jethro told Moses he would “surely wear away” by doing all that he did for the people alone.
Jethro counseled Moses to teach the people the ordinances and laws and let them know how they must live. He further adviced him to take just men and have them judge the people in small matters while he himself judged only the great matters. Moses did as his father-in-law suggested and then allowed his father-in-law to depart for his own land.
It would seem that in spite of the status of Moses among the people, Moses still maintained respect for the elders around him, such as Jethro; and it seems that Jethro’s visit was a help to Moses and the children of Israel because, due to his suggestion, Moses was preserved from wearying detail and long hours of dealing with the people in order to carry out more important duties.
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