1Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.2After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her3and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, ‘I have become a foreigner in a foreign land’;4and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, ‘My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.’5Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God.6Jethro had sent word to him, ‘I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.’7So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent.8Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.9Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.10He said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.’12Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.13The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood round him from morning till evening.14When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand round you from morning till evening?’15Moses answered him, ‘Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.16Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.’17Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good.18You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.19Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him.20Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.21But select capable men from all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.22Let them serve as judges for the people at all times, but let them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.23If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.’24Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.25He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.26They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.27Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and 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)