Exodus 18

Jethro visits Moses

1 Jethro, the priest of Midian, was the father of Moses' wife. He heard about all the things that God had done for Moses and for the Israelites. He also heard how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.

2 Moses had sent Zipporah, who was his wife, back to her home. Then her father, Jethro, brought her 3 and her two sons into his house. One son was called Gershom. Moses said about him, ‘I have become a stranger in a foreign country.’ 4 The other son was called Eliezer. Moses said about him, ‘My father's God gave me help. He saved me from Pharaoh, when Pharaoh wanted to kill me.’

18:4The name Gershom means ‘a foreign person’. The name Eliezer means ‘My God gives me help’.

5 Then Jethro came to Moses in the desert. Moses was staying near the mountain of God. Jethro brought with him Moses' sons and Moses' wife. 6 Jethro had sent a message to Moses. He said: ‘I am Jethro, your wife's father. I am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.’

7 So Moses went out to meet his wife's father. Moses bent his head and he kissed Jethro. They spoke together and then they went into the tent. 8 Moses told his wife's father about all the things that the LORD had done to Pharaoh. He told him also what the LORD had done to the Egyptians because of the Israelites. He told Jethro about the troubles that had happened to them during the journey. And Moses told him how the LORD had saved his people, the Israelites.

9 Jethro was very happy to listen to Moses. Moses repeated to him how the LORD had saved the Israelites from the authority of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said: ‘Let us thank the LORD, who saved you from the authority of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He saved all the people also from the authority of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods. The LORD did these things to the people who were cruel towards the Israelites.’ 12 Then Jethro, the father of Moses' wife, brought an animal, and other gifts, to God. And Aaron came, with all the leaders of the Israelites. They ate a meal together with Jethro, where God could see them.

13 The next day, Moses sat down to judge the people. They stood round him from morning until evening. 14 Jethro saw all that Moses did for the people. Then he said: ‘What is this that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone and judge the people? These people stand round you during the whole day.’

15 Moses answered Jethro: ‘The people come to me to discover God's commands. 16 When they cannot agree, they come to me. I decide between them and I tell them about God's laws and rules.’

17 The father of Moses' wife replied: ‘The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and the people who come to you will become too tired. The work is too much for you. You cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to me! I will give you some good ideas, and God will make you strong. You must be the person who speaks to God, for the Israelites. Bring their quarrels to him. 20 Teach them the rules and laws. Show them how they should live. Explain to them the things that they must do.

21 But you must choose wise men from all the people. They must be men who obey God. They must be good men, who will not do false things. Make these men officers over groups of the people. Some groups will be 1,000 people; some groups will be 100 people. Some groups will be 50 people and some will be only 10 people. 22 Let them work as judges for the people, every day. They can decide the small problems, but they must bring the difficult problems to you. That will make your work easier, because they will work with you. 23 If God commands you to do this, please obey him. Then the work will not be too hard for you. You will keep your good health. And all these people will go home and they will be happy.’

24 Then Moses listened to Jethro. And Moses did everything that he suggested.

25 Moses chose good and wise men from all the Israelites. He made them leaders and officers of the people. Some were officers over 1,000 people; some were officers over 100 people. Some were officers over 50 people and some were officers over 10 people. 26 They worked as judges for the people at all times. They told Moses about the difficult problems, but they decided the easy problems without his help.

27 Then Moses said goodbye to his wife's father and Jethro returned to his own country.