Exodus 18:11
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
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(11) For in the thing . . . —Heb., even in the matter in which they dealt proudly against them. Jehovah’s superior power had been shown especially in the matter in which the Egyptians had dealt most proudly—viz., in pursuing the Israelites with an army when they had given them leave to depart, and attempting to re-capture or destroy them.

Exodus 18:11. Now know I that JEHOVAH is greater than all gods — That the God of Israel is greater than all pretenders — All deities, that usurp divine honours: he silences and subdues them all, and is himself the only living and true God. He is also higher than all princes and potentates, who also are called gods, and has both an incontestible authority over them, and an irresistible power to control them; he manageth them all as he pleaseth, and gets honour upon them, how great soever they are. Now know I — He knew it before, but now he knew it better; his faith grew up to a full assurance, upon this fresh evidence; for wherein they dealt proudly — The magicians or idols of Egypt, or Pharaoh and his grandees, opposing God, and setting themselves up in competition with him; he was above them — The magicians were baffled, Pharaoh humbled, his powers broken, and Israel rescued out of their hands.

18:7-12 Conversation concerning God's wondrous works is good, and edifies. Jethro not only rejoiced in the honour done to his son-in-law, but in all the goodness done to Israel. Standers-by were more affected with the favours God had showed to Israel, than many were who received them. Jethro gave the glory to Israel's God. Whatever we have the joy of, God must have the praise. They joined in a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Mutual friendship is sanctified by joint worship. It is very good for relations and friends to join in the spiritual sacrifice of prayer and praise, as those that meet in Christ. This was a temperate feast; they did eat bread, manna. Jethro must see and taste that bread from heaven, and though a gentile, is welcome: the gentiles are welcomed to Christ the Bread of life.Greater than all gods - See Exodus 15:11. The words simply indicate a conviction of the incomparable might and majesty of Yahweh.

For in ... above them - i. e. the greatness of Yahweh was shown in those transactions wherein the Egyptians had thought to deal haughtily and cruelly against the Israelites. Jethro refers especially to the destruction of the Egyptian host in the Red Sea.

7. Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, &c.—Their salutations would be marked by all the warm and social greetings of Oriental friends (see on [20]Ex 4:27)—the one going out to "meet" the other, the "obeisance," the "kiss" on each side of the head, the silent entrance into the tent for consultation; and their conversation ran in the strain that might have been expected of two pious men, rehearsing and listening to a narrative of the wonderful works and providence of God. Now I know, viz. more clearly and by certain experience; as that phrase signifies, Genesis 22:12 1 Kings 17:18,24. For otherwise it is more than probable that Jethro had the knowledge of the true God before this time, not only because he was the great-grandchild of Abraham, but also because of his long conversation with a person of so great knowledge, and wisdom, and piety, as Moses was.

Wherein they dealt proudly; either,

1. Their false gods, who wrought strange things in and by their servants the magicians, who contended with Moses, and proudly boasted of their skill as not a whit inferior to that of Moses, but at last were forced to yield up the cause, Exodus 8:19; or rather,

2. The Egyptians, spoken of Exodus 18:10, who dealt proudly, and scornfully, and tyrannically with the Israelites, but God showed himself to be above them, and above their king; though Pharaoh would not own him for his superior, Exodus 5:2, but lift up his horn against God, and against his people: but the Lord brought that proud prince upon his knees, and forced him oft to confess his faults, and to become suppliant to Moses for deliverance from the plagues; and at last, when he continued incorrigible, he drowned him in the sea.

Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods,.... He knew the Lord before, and that he was the only true God, and greater than all that were so called; but now he had a fresh instance of it, a clear proof and demonstration of it, and so more plainly and fully knew it, and was assured of it, that he was greater than all the idols of the Gentiles, and particularly than the gods of the Egyptians; since he had saved his people Israel out of their hands, and when they could not protect and defend the Egyptians neither from plagues nor from destruction; nay, could not secure themselves, being all destroyed by the mighty Jehovah, see Exodus 12:12, as also that he is greater than all that are called gods, kings, princes, and civil magistrates, than Pharaoh and all his nobles, generals, and captains, who were destroyed by him: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, he was above them; the idol gods, the gods of the Egyptians, the evil demons, Satan and his principalities, who influenced them, presuming and boasting by their magicians what they could do; but in those things Jehovah in the wonders he wrought appeared to be above them; they were overcome by him, and obliged to acknowledge the finger of God; and this sense stands best connected with the preceding clause: or else in those things, in which the Egyptians dealt proudly with the Israelites, pursuing after them in the pride and vanity of their minds, and giving out that they should overtake them and divide the spoil, and satisfy their lust upon them, when God blew with his wind upon them, the sea covered them, and they sunk as lead in the mighty waters, see Exodus 15:9, and to the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red sea, the Jews commonly apply this: thus the Targum of Jonathan,"wherein the Egyptians dealt wickedly in judging Israel, by the waters, judgment returned upon them that they might be judged by the waters;''and to the same sense Jarchi: they suppose here was a just retaliation, that as the Egyptians drowned the Hebrew infants in the waters of the Nile, they were in righteous judgment drowned in the Red sea; this is the very thing, or is the same way they in their pride and malice dealt with the people of Israel; God dealt with them, and showed himself to be both "against them" (o), as it may be rendered, and above them.

(o) "contra eos", Pagninus, Montanus; "contra illos", V. L. Tigurine version; so Reinbech "de accent". Heb. p. 314.

Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly {e} he was above them.

(e) For they that drowned the children of the Israelites, perished themselves by water.

11. greater than all gods] cf. Exodus 15:11.

for in (or by) the thing wherein they dealt proudly against them …] The end of the sentence has accidentally dropped out; and something like he hath destroyed them must be supplied. Jehovah’s superiority to other gods was shewn by His overthrow of the Egyptians; and this was a consequence of their proud pursuit of the Israelites.

dealt proudly against them] cf. the reminiscence in Nehemiah 9:10.

Verse 11. - Now know I that the Lord is greater than all gods. It would seem that Jethro, like the generality of the heathen, believed in a plurality of gods, and had hitherto regarded the God of the Israelites as merely one among many equals. Now, he renounces this creed, and emphatically declares his belief that Jehovah is above all other gods, greater, higher, more powerful. Compare the confessions of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:47; Daniel 3:26, 27) and Darius the Mede (Daniel 6:26). For in the thing wherein they dealt wickedly he was above them. There is no "he was above them" in the original, nor is the clause a distinct sentence from the preceding one. It is merely a prolongation of that clause, without any new verb; and should be translated, "Even in the very matter that they (the Egyptians) dealt proudly against them "(the Israelites). The superiority of Jehovah to other gods was shown forth even in the very matter of the proud dealing of the Egyptians, which was brought to shame and triumphed over by the might of Jehovah. The allusion is especially to the passage of the Red Sea. Exodus 18:11When Jethro announced his arrival to Moses ("he said," sc., through a messenger), he received his father-in-law with the honour due to his rank; and when he had conducted him to his tent, he related to him all the leading events connected with the departure from Egypt, and all the troubles they had met with on the way, and how Jehovah had delivered them out of them all. Jethro rejoiced at this, and broke out in praise to Jehovah, declaring that Jehovah was greater than all gods, i.e., that He had shown Himself to be exalted above all gods, for God is great in the eyes of men only when He makes known His greatness through the display of His omnipotence. He then gave a practical expression to his praise by a burnt-offering and slain-offering, which he presented to God. The second כּי in Exodus 18:11 is only an emphatic repetition of the first, and אשׁר בּדּבר is not dependent upon ידעתּי, but upon גּדול nopu tub, or upon הגדּיל understood, which is to be supplied in thought after the second כּי: "That He has proved Himself great by the affair in which they (the Egyptians) dealt proudly against them (the Israelites)." Compare Nehemiah 9:10, from which it is evident, that to refer these words to the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea as a punishment for their attempt to destroy the Israelites in the water (Exodus 1:22) is too contracted an interpretation; and that they rather relate to all the measures adopted by the Egyptians for the oppression and detention of the Israelites, and signify that Jehovah had shown Himself great above all gods by all the plagues inflicted upon Egypt down to the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.
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