Exodus 2:18
And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Exodus 2:18. Reuel — Or Raguel (see Numbers 10:29) is thought by some to have been their grandfather, and father of Hobab or Jethro, their immediate father.

2:16-22 Moses found shelter in Midian. He was ready to help Reuel's daughters to water their flocks, although bred in learning and at court. Moses loved to be doing justice, and to act in defence of such as he saw injured, which every man ought to do, as far as it is in his power. He loved to be doing good; wherever the providence of God casts us, we should desire and try to be useful; and when we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can. Moses commended himself to the prince of Midian; who married one of his daughters to Moses, by whom he had a son, called Gershom, a stranger there, that he might keep in remembrance the land in which he had been a stranger.Reuel - Or, as in Numbers 10:29, "Raguel." The name means "friend of God." It appears to have been not uncommon among Hebrews and Edomites; e. g. Genesis 36:4, Genesis 36:10. If Reuel be identified with Jethro, a point open to grave objection (see Exodus 3:1), then Reuel was his proper name, and Jether or Jethro, which means "excellency," was his official designation. 16-22. the priest of Midian—or, "prince of Midian." As the officers were usually conjoined, he was the ruler also of the people called Cushites or Ethiopians, and like many other chiefs of pastoral people in that early age, he still retained the faith and worship of the true God.

seven daughters—were shepherdesses to whom Moses was favorably introduced by an act of courtesy and courage in protecting them from the rude shepherds of some neighboring tribe at a well. He afterwards formed a close and permanent alliance with this family by marrying one of the daughters, Zipporah, "a little bird," called a Cushite or Ethiopian (Nu 12:1), and whom Moses doubtless obtained in the manner of Jacob by service [see Ex 3:1]. He had by her two sons, whose names were, according to common practice, commemorative of incidents in the family history [Ex 18:3, 4].

Their father; either,

1. Strictly, and then he is the same who elsewhere is called Jethro, Exodus 3:1 Exo 18 oft times; and, as some think, Hobab, Judges 4:11. Or,

2. Largely, i.e. their grandfather, for such are oft called fathers, as Genesis 31:43 2 Kings 14:3 16:2 18:3; so he was the father of Jethro, or Hobab, Numbers 10:29.

And when they came to Reuel their father,.... Or Ragouel, as the Septuagint; and so Artapanus (s) calls him. The Targum of Jonathan has it, their father's father; and so Aben Ezra says he was; and is the sense of others, induced thereto by Numbers 10:29, but it does not follow from thence: he said:

how is it that you are come so soon today? it being not only sooner than they were wont to come, but perhaps their business was done in so short a time; that it was marvellous to him that it could be done in it, so quick a dispatch had Moses made, and they through his assistance; and especially it might be more strange, if it was usual, as it seems it was, to be molested by the shepherds.

(s) Ut supra. (Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 434.)

And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. Reuel] Heb. רעואל, the ‘friend’ or ‘companion of God’ (Sayce, EHH. p. 163 ‘Shepherd of God’: but why should the name be Assyrian?). (AV. Raguel, where the g comes from the LXX., and is one of the many instances of ע being expressed in that version by g, as Gaza, Gomorrah, Gotholiah, &c.: see the writer’s Notes on Samuel, on 1 Samuel 16:20.) The name occurs also in Edom (Genesis 36:4; Genesis 36:10) and Israel (1 Chronicles 9:8). Here it occasions a difficulty. In Exodus 3:1, Exodus 4:18, and ch. 18, Moses’ father-in-law is called Jethro1[102]; in Numbers 10:29, Jdg 4:11 (RVm.) he is called Hobab (RV. ‘brother-in-law,’ cf. Exodus 1:16, is a doubtful rend., adopted entirely from harmonistic motives): here, if Reuel is correct, he would have had a third name. Perhaps, however, the word here is a gloss, due to a misconception of Numbers 10:29 (so Ryssel in Di. al.): had the name been original, it would naturally have been given in v. 16 (where the ‘priest of Midian’ is first mentioned). Still, it is strange, if a name had to be found, that it was taken from the remote Numbers 10:29, rather than from Exodus 3:1. ‘Tradition,’ says Prof. Sayce (EHH. p. 163), ‘has handed down more than one name for the high-priest of Midian’; perhaps indeed, as Nielsen (Die altarab. Mondreligion u. die Mos. Ueberlief., 1904, p. 131) has suggested, the variation is due to the fact that, like many of the Sabaean kings, and some of the Sabaean priests (Mordtmann, Beiträge zur Z. für Assyr. 1897, p. 75 f.), he had actually two names. There seem also to have been different traditions about his nationality; for Hobab,—whether he were really the same as Jethro, or Jethro’s son,—though he is a Midianite in Num Exo 10:29, is a Kenite in Jdg 4:11 (cf. Exodus 1:16).

[102] Or, in Exodus 4:18, Jether. The ô, or, as it might be vocalized, u, is doubtless the mark of the Arab. nomin., as in the numerous Arab. names (Zaidu, Sa‘du, etc.) of the Sinaitic inscriptions (p. 179) of 2–3d. cent. a.d.: cf. the Arabian Gashmu, Nehemiah 6:6 (called Geshem in Exodus 6:1-2). The name Yether (meaning apparently excellence) recurs as that of several Israelites. The corresponding Arab. form Watr (or Witr) occurs also several times in the Sabaean inscriptions of S. Arabia, both as a principal name (CIS. iv. Nos. 10, 70, 83), and as a cognomen (Nos. 1, 37; cf. pp. 22, 77); and Witru in CIS. 11. ii. 3156 (from Sinai), and RES. No. 53 (from Ḥauran); οὔιθρος, Waddington, Inscr. Grecques de la Syrie, 2537 h.

drew] actually drew: the Heb. idiom, by accentuating the fact, ‘expresses the surprise which they had felt at the kindness of his action’ (McNeile).

Verse 18. - Reuel their father. Reuel is called "Raguel" in Numbers 10:29, but the Hebrew spelling is the same in both places. The word means "friend of God," and implies monotheisim. Compare Exodus 18:9-12. Exodus 2:18Here Moses secured for himself a hospitable reception from a priest of Midian, and a home at his house, by doing as Jacob had formerly done (Genesis 29:10), viz., helping his daughters to water their father's sheep, and protecting them against the other shepherds. - On the form יושׁען for יושׁען vid., Genesis 19:19; and for the masculine suffixes to יגרשׁוּם and צאנם, Genesis 31:9. תּדלנה for תּדלינה, as in Job 5:12, cf. Ewald, 198a. - The flock of this priest consisted of nothing but צאן, i.e., sheep and goats (vid., Exodus 3:1). Even now there are no oxen reared upon the peninsula of Sinai, as there is not sufficient pasturage or water to be found. For the same reason there are no horses kept there, but only camels and asses (cf. Seetzen, R. iii. 100; Wellsted, R. in Arab. ii. p. 66). In Exodus 2:18 the priest is called Reguel, in Exodus 3:1 Jethro. This title, "the priest of Midian," shows that he was the spiritual head of the branch of the Midianites located there, but hardly that he was the prince or temporal head as well, like Melchizedek, as the Targumists have indicated by רבא, and as Artapanus and the poet Ezekiel distinctly affirm. The other shepherds would hardly have treated the daughters of the Emir in the manner described in Exodus 2:17. The name רעוּאל (Reguel, friend of God) indicates that this priest served the old Semitic God El (אל). This Reguel, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses, was unquestionably the same person as Jethro (יתרו) the חתן of Moses and priest of Midian (Exodus 3:1). Now, as Reguel's son Chobab is called Moses' חתן in Numbers 10:29 (cf. Judges 4:11), the Targumists and others supposed Reguel to be the grandfather of Zipporah, in which case אב would mean the grandfather in Exodus 2:18, and בּת the granddaughter in Exodus 2:21. This hypothesis would undoubtedly be admissible, if it were probable on other grounds. But as a comparison of Numbers 10:29 with Exodus 18 does not necessarily prove that Chobab and Jethro were the same persons, whilst Exodus 18:27 seems to lead to the very opposite conclusion, and התן, like the Greek γαμβρός, may be used for both father-in-law and brother-in-law, it would probably be more correct to regard Chobab as Moses' brother-in-law, Reguel as the proper name of his father-in-law, and Jethro, for which Jether (praestantia) is substituted in Exodus 4:18, as either a title, or the surname which showed the rank of Reguel in his tribe, like the Arabic Imam, i.e., praepositus, spec. sacrorum antistes. Ranke's opinion, that Jethro and Chobab were both of them sons of Reguel and brothers-in-law of Moses, is obviously untenable, if only on the ground that according to the analogy of Numbers 10:29 the epithet "son of Reguel" would not be omitted in Exodus 3:1.
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