The meeting of Jethro and Moses (Ex 18:1-18:12)

“Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, how Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt.  After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro took her back, along with her two sons.   The name of one was Gershom.  For he said, ‘I have been an alien in a foreign land.’   The name of the other is Eliezer.  For he said, ‘The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.’   Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came into the wilderness where Moses was encamped at the mountain of God, bringing Moses’ sons and his wife to him.  He sent word to Moses, ‘I, your father-in-law Jethro am coming to you, with your wife and her two sons.’  Moses went out to meet his father-in-law.  He bowed down, and kissed him.  Each asked after the other’s welfare, and they went into the tent. Then Moses told his father-in-law all that Yahweh had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had beset them on the way, and how Yahweh had delivered them.”

Here the family of Moses at Midian makes an appearance.  Jethro, Moses’ father in law, the priest of Midian, met Moses at the mountain of God that according to chapter 4 was Horeb in Midian.  Jethro brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him.  However, in chapter 4, they went with Moses to Egypt, but here it says that Moses had sent away his wife and two sons, apparently because things were tricky in Egypt.  There was no mention of a second son in chapter 2, just Gershom and an explanation of this name.  In chapter 4, it says Moses took his sons, but never mentioned the name of Eliezer or the explanation of his name like here.  Eliezer’s name implies a problem with Pharaoh.  Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. Interesting enough, there is more emphasis on their reunion rather than with his wife and children.  This is probably from the Elohist tradition.

“Jethro rejoiced for all the good that Yahweh had done to Israel, in delivering them from the Egyptians.  Jethro said, ‘Blessed be Yahweh, who has delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh.  Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from the Egyptians, when they dealt arrogantly with them.  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God.  Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.”

Jethro rejoiced for all the good that Yahweh had done. He is now sure that Yahweh is greater than all gods, because of what he did to the Egyptians.  He brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God.  Then Aaron and the elders of Israel broke bread with Moses’ father-in-law.  Obviously, the priest of Midian is now clear that Yahweh is the god of gods.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.