And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come on them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Moses told . . . All.—Jethro had only heard previously a very imperfect account of the transactions. (See Note 2 on Exodus 18:1.) Moses now told him all the particulars.For Israel’s sake, or, concerning Israel’s business.
and to the Egyptians, for Israel's sake; the several plagues affecting them, especially the last, the slaughter of their firstborn; and who also were spoiled of their riches by the Israelites, and a numerous army of them drowned in the Red sea, and all because of the people of Israel; because they had made their lives bitter in hard bondage, had refused to let them go out of the land, and when they were departed pursued after them to fetch them back or cut them off:
and all the travail that had come upon them by the way; to the Red sea, and at Marah, and Rephidim, and how Amalek fought with them, as the Targum of Jonathan observes; what a fright they were put into, when pursued by Pharaoh and his host behind them, the rocks on each side of them, and the sea before them; their want of water in the wilderness, not being able to drink of the waters at Marah because bitter; their hunger, having no bread nor flesh in the wilderness of Sin, and their violent thirst, and no water to allay it, in the plains of Rephidim, and where also they were attacked by an army of the Amalekites: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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. the travail] lit. weariness: cf. Numbers 20:14 (in a similar connexion), Lamentations 3:5, Nehemiah 9:32†.
8–12. Jethro rejoices to hear of the deliverances vouchsafed to Israel; and offers in thankfulness a sacrifice (v. 12), in which Aaron and the elders of Israel take part as his guests.Verse 8. - Moses told his father-in-law. Jethro had heard in Midian the general outline of what had happened (verse 1). Moses now gave him a full and complete narrative (misphar) of the transactions. Compare Genesis 24:66; Joshua 2:23; where the same verb is used. All the travail. Literally, "the weariness." Compare Malachi 1:13, where the same word is used. The Lord delivered them. The Septuagint adds "from the hand of Pharaoh and from the hand of the Egyptians. Exodus 2:18; on Moses' wife and sons, see Exodus 2:21-22; and on the expression in Exodus 18:2, "after he had sent her back," Exodus 4:26.) - Jethro came to Moses "into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God." The mount of God is Horeb (Exodus 3:1); and the place of encampment is Rephidim, at Horeb, i.e., at the spot where the Sheikh valley opens into the plain of er Rahah (Exodus 17:1). This part is designated as a wilderness; and according to Robinson (1, pp. 130, 131) the district round this valley and plain is "naked desert," and "wild and desolate." The occasion for Jethro the priest to bring back to his son-in-law his wife and children was furnished by the intelligence which had reached him, that Jehovah had brought Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 18:1), and, as we may obviously supply, had led them to Horeb. When Moses sent his wife and sons back to Jethro, he probably stipulated that they were to return to him on the arrival of the Israelites at Horeb. For when God first called Moses at Horeb, He foretold to him that Israel would be brought to this mountain on its deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 3:12).
(Note: Kurtz (Hist. of O. C. iii. 46, 53) supposes that it was chiefly the report of the glorious result of the battle with Amalek which led Jethro to resolve to bring Moses' family back to him. There is no statement, however, to this effect in the biblical text, but rather the opposite, namely, that what Jethro had heard of all that God had done to Moses and Israel consisted of the fact that Jehovah had brought Israel out of Egypt. Again, there are not sufficient grounds for placing the arrival of Jethro at the camp of Israel, in the desert of Sinai and after the giving of the law, as Ranke has done. For the fact that the mount of God is mentioned as the place of encampment at the time, is an argument in favour of Rephidim, rather than against it, as we have already shown. And we can see no force in the assertion that the circumstances, in which we find the people, point rather to the longer stay at Sinai, than to the passing halt at Rephidim. For how do we know that the stay at Rephidim was such a passing one, that it would not afford time enough for Jethro's visit? It is true that, according to the ordinary assumption, only half a month intervened between the arrival of the Israelites in the desert of Sin and their arrival in the desert of Sinai; but within this space of time everything might have taken place that is said to have occurred on the march from the former to the latter place of encampment. It is not stated in the biblical text that seven days were absorbed in the desert of Sin alone, but only that the Israelites spent a Sabbath there, and had received manna a few days before, so that three or four days (say from Thursday to Saturday inclusive) would amply suffice for all that took place. If the Israelites, therefore, encamped there in the evening of the 15th, they might have moved farther on the morning of the 19th or 20th, and after a two days' journey by Dofkah and Alush have reached Rephidim on the 21st or 22nd. They could then have fought the battle with the Amalekites the following day, so that Jethro might have come to the camp on the 24th or 25th, and held the sacrificial meal with the Israelites the next day. In that case there would still be four or five days left for him to see Moses sitting in judgment a whole day long (Exodus 18:13), and for the introduction of the judicial arrangements proposed by Jethro; - amply sufficient time, inasmuch as one whole day would suffice for the sight of the judicial sitting, which is said to have taken place the day after the sacrificial meal (Exodus 18:13). And the election of judges on the part of the people, for which Moses gave directions in accordance with Jethro's advice, might easily have been carried out in two days. For, on the one hand, it is most probable that after Jethro had watched this severe and exhausting occupation of Moses for a whole day, he spoke to Moses on the subject the very same evening, and laid his plan before him; and on the other hand, the execution of this plan did not require a very long time, as the people were not scattered over a whole country, but were collected together in one camp. Moreover, Moses carried on all his negotiations with the people through the elders as their representatives; and the judges were not elected in modern fashion by universal suffrage, but were nominated by the people, i.e., by the natural representatives of the nation, from the body of elders, according to their tribes, and then appointed by Moses himself. - Again, it is by no means certain that Israel arrived at the desert of Sinai on the first day of the third month, and that only half a month (15 or 16 days) elapsed between their arrival in the desert of sin and their encamping at Sinai (cf. Exodus 19:1). And lastly, though Kurtz still affirms that Jethro lived on the other side of the Elanitic Gulf, and did not set out till he heard of the defeat of the Amalekites, in which case a whole month might easily intervene between the victory of Israel and the arrival of Jethro, the two premises upon which this conclusion is based, are assumptions without foundation, as we have already shown at Exodus 3:1 in relation to the former, and have just shown in relation to the latter.)
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