1Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was the priest of Midian. He heard about everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel. Jethro heard how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.2Moses had sent his wife Zipporah to his father-in-law. So Jethro welcomed her3and her two sons. One son was named Gershom. That’s because Moses had said, ‘I’m an outsider in a strange land.’4The other was named Eliezer. That’s because Moses had said, ‘My father’s God helped me. He saved me from Pharaoh’s sword.’5Moses’ father-in-law Jethro came to Moses in the desert. Moses’ sons and wife came with Jethro. Moses was camped near the mountain of God.6Jethro had sent a message to him. It said, ‘I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you. I’m bringing your wife and her two sons.’7So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. Moses bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other. Then they went into the tent.8Moses told Jethro everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The LORD did all of this because of how much he loved Israel. Moses told Jethro about all their hard times along the way. He told him about how the LORD had saved them.9Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel. He heard about how God had saved them from the power of the Egyptians.10He said, ‘I praise the LORD. He saved you and your people from the power of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh.11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods. See what he did to those who looked down on Israel.’12Then Moses’ father-in-law Jethro brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God. Aaron came with all the elders of Israel. They ate a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the sight of God.13The next day Moses took his seat to serve the people as their judge. They stood around him from morning until evening.14His father-in-law saw everything Moses was doing for the people. So he said, ‘Aren’t you trying to do too much for the people? You are the only judge. And all these people are standing around you from morning until evening.’15Moses answered, ‘The people come to me to find out what God wants them to do.16Anytime they don’t agree with one another, they come to me. I decide between them. I tell them about God’s rules and instructions.’17Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing isn’t good.18You will just get worn out. And so will these people who come to you. There’s too much work for you. You can’t possibly handle it by yourself.19Listen to me. I’ll give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must speak to God for the people. Take their problems to him.20Teach them his rules and instructions. Show them how to live and what to do.21But choose men of ability from all the people. They must have respect for God. You must be able to trust them. They must not try to get money by cheating others. Appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.22Let them serve the people as judges. But let them bring every hard case to you. They can decide the easy ones themselves. That will make your load lighter. They will share it with you.23If this is what God wants and if you do it, then you will be able to carry the load. And all these people will go home satisfied.’24Moses listened to his father-in-law. He did everything Jethro said.25He chose men of ability from the whole community of Israel. He made them leaders of the people. They became officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.26They judged the people at all times. They brought the hard cases to Moses. But they decided the easy ones themselves.27Moses sent his father-in-law on his way. So Jethro returned to his own country.
English Standard Version
1Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. (Ex 2:16; Ex 2:18; Ex 18:12)2Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her home,3along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”), (Ex 2:22; Ex 4:20; Ps 39:12; Ac 7:29; Heb 11:13)4and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”).5Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God. (Ex 3:1)6And when he sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her,”7Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. (Ge 14:17; Ge 18:2; Ge 19:1; Ge 29:13; Ge 33:4; 2Sa 19:39; 1Ki 2:19)8Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. (Ne 9:9; Ps 78:12; Ps 78:42; Ps 106:7)9And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.10Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. (Ge 14:20; 2Sa 18:28; Lu 1:68)11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” (1Ch 16:25; 2Ch 2:5; Ne 9:10; Ps 95:3; Ps 97:9; Ps 119:21; Ps 135:5; Da 4:37; Lu 1:51)12And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God. (Ge 31:54; Ex 24:11; De 12:7; De 14:26; 1Ch 29:22)13The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening.14When 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 sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?”15And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; (Le 24:12; Nu 15:34)16when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” (Ex 24:14; De 4:5; De 5:1; De 17:8; 2Sa 15:2; 1Co 6:1)17Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.18You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. (Nu 11:14; Nu 11:17; De 1:9; De 1:12)19Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, (Ex 4:16; Ex 20:19; Nu 27:5; De 5:5)20and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. (De 1:18; Ps 143:8)21Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. (De 1:15; De 16:18; 2Ch 19:5; Ac 6:3)22And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. (Ex 18:26; Le 24:11; Nu 11:17; Nu 15:33; Nu 27:2; Nu 36:1; De 1:17; De 17:8)23If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” (Ex 18:18)24So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.25Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. (De 1:15)26And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. (Ex 18:22)27Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country. (Nu 10:29)