Dave Burnette's Commentary

Exodus Chapter 18

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Deliverance of Israel (c 1-40)
Theme: Israel in the Wilderness (c 13-18)
Message: Jethro Visits Moses  (v 1-27)

Exodus 18 Commentary

(18:7) Jethro Comes to Moses - Jethro entered Moses' tent, where the two talked. Tents were the homes of shepherds. In shape and design, they resembled the tents of today, but they were very large and made of a thick cloth woven from goat or camel hair. This fabric breathed in warm weather and contracted in stormy weather to offer protection from the winter wind and rain. The floors were often covered with animal-skin rugs, while curtains divided the inside space into rooms.

(18:8-11) Moses tells of the Goodness of God - Moses told his father-in-law all that God had done, convincing him that the Lord was greater than any other god. Our relatives are often the hardest people to tell about God. Yet we should look for opportunities to tell them what God is doing in our lives because we can have an important influence on them.

(18:12) A Reunion Supper - This reunion turned into a large celebration. The Israelites frequently shared sacrificial meals among themselves. A burnt offering would be sacrificed to God, and then the meal taken from the sacrifice would be dedicated to God and eaten ceremonially as a fellowship dinner.

(18:13-26) Moses Learns to Delegate - Moses was spending so much time and energy hearing the Hebrews' complaints that he could not get to other important work Jethro suggested that Moses delegate most of this work to others and focus his efforts on jobs only he could do. People in positions of responsibility sometimes feel they are the only ones who can do necessary tasks, but in actuality others are often capable of handling part of the load. Delegation relieved Moses' stress and improved the quality of governance. It helped prepare the Israelites for the system of government that would later be set up in Canaan. Proper delegation can multiply your effectiveness while giving others a chance to grow.

(18:16) Conflict Turns to Obedience -  Moses not only decided these cases but also taught the people God's laws. Whenever we help others settle disputes or resolve conflicts, we should also look for opportunities to teach them about God.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Find Your Ministry

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Exodus with Chapter 18 and in today's text we see Moses' reunion with Jethro, his father in law, and Moses receives wise council that he alone can not do the Lord's work unto himself. He elects men to help in the administration of the Lords business to distribute the work that is needed to be completed. In making application we see a truth of how the Lords work is to be distributed before His people. It is not the leaders responsibility to do all the work of Ministry. Unfortunately today we expect the pastor to do all the Ministries of the Church. As Christians we are to serve the body and reach the lost. The word "Ministry" means "Service" and we are to serve under the authority of the pastor and the leading of the Holy Spirit. How about you? Do you Minister through the local Church? If not, contact your Pastor today and ask him how you can help the Church to serve others? Let us learn from today's text to get involved and find our Ministry. 


Exodus 18

Exodus 18

 1When 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;

 2Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,

 3And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:

 4And 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:

 5And 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:

 6And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.

 7And 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.

 8And 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.

 9And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.

 10And 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.

 11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.

 12And 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.

 13And 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.

 14And 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?

 15And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:

 16When 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.

 17And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.

 18Thou 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.

 19Hearken 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:

 20And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.

 21Moreover 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:

 22And 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.

 23If 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.

 24So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.

 25And 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.

 26And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

 27And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.