Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Exodus
Book: Exodus
Chapter: 18

Jethro brings to Moses his Wife and two sons. (1-6) Moses
entertains Jethro. (7-12) Jethro's counsel to Moses. (13-27)

1-6 Jethro came to rejoice with Moses in the happiness of
Israel, and to bring his Wife and children to him. Moses must
have his family with him, that while he ruled the Church of God,
he might set a good Example in family government, 1Ti 3:5.

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. Bystanders
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.

13-27 Here is the great zeal and the toil of Moses as a
Magistrate. Having been employed to redeem Israel out of the
House of Bondage, he is a further Type of Christ, that he is
employed as a lawgiver and a Judge among them. If the people
were as quarrelsome one with another as they were with God, No
doubt Moses had many causes brought before him. This business
Moses was called to; it appears that he did it with great care
and kindness. The meanest Israelite was welcome to bring his
cause before him. Moses kept to his business from morning to
night. Jethro thought it was too much for him to undertake
alone; also it would make the administration of Justice tiresome
to the people. There may be over-doing even in Well-doing.
Wisdom is profitable to direct, that we may neither content
ourselves with less than our duty, nor task ourselves Beyond our
strength. Jethro advised Moses to a better plan. Great men
should not only study to be useful themselves, but contrive to
make others useful. Care must be taken in the choice of the
persons admitted into such a trust. They should be men of good
sense, that understood business, and that would not be daunted
By frowns or clamours, but abhorred the thought of a Bribe. Men
of Piety and religion; such as fear God, who dare not to do a
base thing, though they could do it secretly and securely. The
fear of God will best fortify a Man against temptations to
injustice. Moses did not despise this advice. Those are not
Wise, who think themselves too Wise to be counselled.