Exodus 18

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English: Basic English Bible         

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1 Now news came to Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, of all God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, and how the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt.

2 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her away,

3 And her two sons, one of whom was named Gershom, for he said, I have been living in a strange land:

4 And the name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, The God of my father was my help, and kept me safe from the sword of Pharaoh:

5 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to where Moses had put up his tent in the waste land, by the mountain of God.

6 And he said to Moses, I, your father-in-law, have come to you, with your wife and your two sons.

7 And Moses went out to his father-in-law, and went down on his face before him and gave him a kiss; and they said to one another, Are you well? and they came into the tent.

8 And Moses gave his father-in-law an account of all the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians because of Israel, and of all the troubles which had come on them by the way, and how the Lord had given them salvation.

9 And Jethro was glad because the Lord had been good to Israel, freeing them from the power of the Egyptians.

10 And Jethro said, Praise be to the Lord, who has taken you out of the hand of Pharaoh and out of the hand of the Egyptians; freeing the people from the yoke of the Egyptians.

11 Now I am certain that the Lord is greater than all gods, for he has overcome them in their pride.

12 Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, made a burned offering to God: and Aaron came, with the chiefs of Israel, and had a meal with Moses' father-in-law, before God.

13 Now on the day after, Moses took his seat to give decisions for the people: and the people were waiting before Moses from morning till evening.

14 And when Moses' father-in-law saw all he was doing, he said, What is this you are doing for the people? why are you seated here by yourself, with all the people waiting before you from morning till evening?

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, Because the people come to me to get directions from God:

16 And if they have any question between themselves, they come to me, and I am judge between a man and his neighbour, and I give them the orders and laws of God.

17 And Moses' father-in-law said to him, What you are doing is not good.

18 Your strength and that of the people will be completely used up: this work is more than you are able to do by yourself.

19 Give ear now to my suggestion, and may God be with you: you are to be the people's representative before God, taking their causes to him:

20 Teaching them his rules and his laws, guiding them in the way they have to go, and making clear to them the work they have to do.

21 But for the rest, take from among the people able men, such as have the fear of God, true men hating profits wrongly made; and put such men over them, to be captains of thousands, captains of hundreds and of fifties and of tens;

22 And let them be judges in the causes of the people at all times: and let them put before you all important questions, but in small things let them give decisions themselves: in this way, it will be less hard for you, and they will take the weight off you.

23 If you do this, and God gives approval, then you will be able to go on without weariness, and all this people will go to their tents in peace.

24 So Moses took note of the words of his father-in-law, and did as he had said.

25 And he made selection of able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, captains of thousands, captains of hundreds and of fifties and of tens.

26 And they were judges in the causes of the people at all times: the hard questions they put before Moses; but on every small point they gave decisions themselves.

27 And Moses let his father-in-law go away, and he went back to his land.

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Jethro
Jethro,' the father-in-law of Moses, in Exodus 18:1, represents divine good, from which proceeds ordering. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses,' signifies the good of the...

Midian
'Midian' signifies people who are in falsity.

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

Father-in-law
Father-in-law denotes good, from which comes good conjoined to truth.

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

egypt
In the Bible, Egypt means knowledge and the love of knowledge. In a good sense that means knowledge of truth from the Lord through the...

Zipporah
Zipporah, Moses's first wife, signifies different things in the three places that she appears. The relationships of Zipporah, her father Jethro (also known as Reuel)...

wife
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

Gershom
Gershom, as in Exodus 18:3, denotes the quality of the good of truth among those who are without the church.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Strange land
The phrase 'strange land' denotes a place where there is no church or genuine truth.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

Eliezer
Eliezer (Exod. 18:4) signifies the quality of the good of truths among those who are within the church.

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

Sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

Pharaoh
'Pharaoh' signifies scientific ideas, or the natural principle in general. 'Pharaoh' signifies false ideas infesting the truth of the church. Pharaoh,' in Genesis 40, represents...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Tent
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

mountain
The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Kiss
To kiss' signifies uniting or conjunction from affection. To kiss,' as in c, signifies initiation. 'To kiss' signifies conjunction and acknowledgment.

Well
'A well,' as in Numbers 21:17-18, signifies the Word of the ancient church. 'A well,' or 'pit,' as in Luke 14:5, signifies falsity and the...

Egyptians
Egyptians represent those who are in natural science, thus the natural, but the Hebrews, those who are of the church, thus respectively the spiritual. The...

Way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

salvation
'Salvation, to the Lord our God,' as in Revelation 19:1, signifies an acknowledgment and confession that salvation is from the Lord.

Glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

Power
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

gods
The Lord is called "Jehovah" in the Bible when the text is referring to his essence, which is love itself. He is called "God" when...

Overcome
'To overcome' signifies receiving in heart. 'To overcome' signifies conquering temptations, and remaining in a state of faith derived from charity.

Pride
'Pride' signifies the love of self.

aaron
Aaron was the brother of Moses. He symbolizes two things, one during the first part of the exodus, when he was Moses' spokesperson, and another...

chiefs
On July 3, 1863, 12,500 Confederate troops attacked their Union foes during the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the American Civil War. The...

Meal
'Meal and farina' signifies the truth of faith, or truth from good.

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

Evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

seated
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

judge
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

Laws
All laws, even civil and judicial laws, which are in the Word, correspond to the laws of good and truth, which are in heaven.

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

Strength
Strength' relates truth and falsity. Strength,' as in Luke 10:27, signifies the will and understanding extended to extremes. Strength,' as in Revelation 1:6, signifies divine...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

the rest
In Leviticus 6:16, 'Aaron and his sons eating the remainder' signifies a person’s reciprocation and making something one's own. This represents conjunction by means of...

rest
'To slumber' and 'sleep' denotes the state of a person who is not in truths, as in Jeremiah 51:39, 57, Psalm 8:3 and 76:5, and...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Fear of God
Fear of God, as used in the Word, signifies worship, either grounded in fear, or in the good of faith, or in the good of...

Fear
Fear has various significations according to the thing which causes it. Fear signifies love. Fear, as in Gen 28:17, signifies a holy change.

hating
If you truly hate someone, that means you would kill them and destroy their reputation if you could do so without repercussion – not a...

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

Captains
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

fifties
God rested on the seventh day of creation. That represents a state of holiness and tranquility that was preserved in the form of the sabbath....

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Weariness
'Weariness' denotes a state of temptation combat.

Tents
'Ohalim' or 'tabernacles' signify the holy part of what is good.

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

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