Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;Exodus 18:11
You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. 'No man ever had a point of pride that was not injurious to him,' said Burke.... Treat men as pawns and ninepins, and you shall suffer as well as they.
—Emerson on Compensation.
'Manning,' says Mr. Purcell in his Life of the great Cardinal (ii. p. 505), 'never understood early or late the wisdom of cooperation; never valued the virtue of competition. His idea was the concentration of authority; one mind to conceive, one hand to execute. This narrowness of mind was his chief intellectual defect It led by degrees to the isolation of his life.'
Our Bishops in St. George's Company will be constituted in order founded on that appointed by the first Bishop of Israel, namely, that their Primate, or Supreme Watchman, shall appoint under him 'out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers (or, at the least, observers) of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens'.... Of course for such work, I must be able to find what Jethro of Midian assumes could be found at once in Israel, these 'men of truth, hating covetousness,' and all my friends laugh me to scorn for thinking to find any such. Naturally, in a Christian country, it will be difficult enough; but I know there are still that kind of people among Midianites, Caffres, Red Indians, and the destitute afflicted, and tormented, in dens and caves of the earth, where God has kept them safe from missionaries:—and, as I above said, even out of the rotten mob of money-begotten traitors calling itself a 'people' in England, I do believe I shall be able to extricate, by slow degrees, some faithful and true persons, hating covetousness, and fearing God.
And you will please to observe that this hate and fear are flat opposites one to the other; so that if a man fear or reverence God, he must hate covetousness; and if he fear or reverence covetousness, he must hate God; and there is no intermediate way whatsoever.
—Ruskin, Fors Clavigera, Letter lxii.
'Able men, such as fear God.'
The Italians have an ungracious proverb: Tanto buon che val niente: so good that he is good for nothing. And one of the Doctors of Italy, Nicholas Macchiavel, had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plaine Termes: that the Christian Faith had given up Good Men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust. Which he spake because indeed there never was Law or Sect or Opinion did so much magnifie Goodnesse as the Christian religion doth. Therefore to avoid the Scandall and the Danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the Errours of a Habit so excellent. Seeke the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their Faces or Fancies; for that is but Facilitie or Softnesse; which taketh our honest Minde Prisoner.
—Bacon, Essays ('of Goodnesse').
One has nothing to fear from those who fear God.
—Eugénie de Guérin.
References.—XVIII. 21.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Exodus, etc., p. 88. C. Silvester Home, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xli. 1892, p. 403. XVIII. 24.—M. Eastwood, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliv. 1893, p. 22.
Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,
And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:
And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
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.
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.
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?
And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God:
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.
And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
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.
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.