Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Jethro. See chap. ii. 18. --- Priest. Hebrew Cohen means also a prince. Both offices were performed by the heads of families, in the law of nature. (Worthington) --- It is supposed that this interview took place later, and should be placed [at?] Numbers x. 10. (Calmet)
Back, with her consent, when he was going to the court of Pharao. (Menochius) --- Since he had the vision of God, St. Epiphanius says, he lived in continence with her. (Hœr. 78.)
Mountain. Horeb, (chap. iii. 1,) or Sinai. (Menochius)
Word. Hebrew, "And he said unto Moses, I, &c. 7. And Moses went out to meet," &c., which seems very strange, after he had been just talking with him. The authors of the Septuagint and Syriac read behold, instead of I. "It was told Moses. Behold thy," &c. Kennicott observes, that five Samaritan copies retain ene, "behold," instead of ani, "I," and thus obviate the nonsense which disturbs the reader of the present Hebrew.
Worshipped, bending to the ground, according to the custom of the country. (Haydock) --- Tent of the Lord, if it were then erected, and afterwards into that of Moses. (Calmet)
Rejoiced. Septuagint, "was in an ecstacy," of admiration, mixed with joy. (Menochius)
I know. I am now more convinced of this truth. Jethro instructed his family in these principles. The Rechabites were his descendants. (1 Paralipomenon ii. 55; Jeremias xxxv.) (Menochius) --- Proudly. Hebrew, "because in the thing in which they did proudly, he was against, or above them." Something must be supplied. God turned the wisdom and arms of the Egyptians to their own confusion. (Calmet)
Sacrifices. Peace-offerings, of which he might partake with the ancients. (Haydock) --- Jethro being a stranger, and a servant of the true God, might perform this duty in person, even though we allow that the priesthood was restrained to the family of Aaron before this time with regard to the Hebrews. (Calmet) --- Before God. St. Augustine, who supposes that the tabernacle was not yet erected, explains this in honour of God: but others, who believe this happened at the close of the year, say that the feast was made before the tabernacle, the house of God. (Menochius)
Good, or convenient, either for yourself, or for the people. (Haydock)
Foolish. Septuagint, "intolerable." --- Labour. Hebrew, "thou wilt surely sink, or be wasted away."
To do. Be a mediator between God and the people: explain their wants, and bring back his decision: but let inferior officers see them executed. (Haydock)
Avarice. That they may not be bribed against their better knowledge. The wise, rich, and disinterested, must be appointed magistrates; such as may not be under any undue influence. Aristotle blames the Lacedemonians for entrusting such offices to people who had nothing. See Isaias iii. 7.
Thou shalt. Hebrew, "and God shall order thee." Jethro does not wish his advice should be followed, till God had been consulted. (Calmet) --- By his plan, he thought Moses would have time to confer more with God, and promote his own welfare, and the convenient dispatch of business. (Menochius)
Tens. The Samaritan copy here inserts, from Deuteronomy i. 9 to 19, where this is related at greater length. The Septuagint also add to the other officers, the Grammatoeisagogeis, or Shoterim, mentioned in the same place, as lectors or scribes, whose business it perhaps was to present written requests.
To him. Whether they regarded religious or civil matters. No appeal was made from an inferior or any other tribunal, but that of the supreme magistrate. (Calmet)
Depart, upon his consenting to leave his son Hobab, for a guide, (Bonfrere on Numbers x. 29,) or perhaps he departed for a time, and returned again. (Calmet) --- Moses shews by his example, that superiors ought not to disdain receiving prudent admonitions from any one. (St. Chrysostom) (Worthington)