Exodus 18

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1 And when Jethro the priest of Madian, the kinsman of Moses, had heard all the things that God had done to Moses, and to Israel his people, and that the Lord had brought forth Israel out of Egypt,

2 He took Sephora the wife of Moses whom he had sent back:

3 And her two sons, of whom one was called Gersam, his father saying: I have been a stranger in a foreign country.

4 And the other Eliezer: For the God of my father, said he, is my helper, and hath delivered me from the sword of Pharao.

5 And Jethro the kinsman of Moses came with his sons and his wife, to Moses into the desert, where he was camped by the mountain of God.

6 And he sent word to Moses, saying: I Jethro thy kinsman come to thee, and thy wife, and thy two sons with her.

7 And he went out to meet his kinsman, and worshipped and kissed him: and they saluted one another with words of peace. And when he was come into the tent,

8 Moses told his kinsman all that the Lord had done to Pharao, and the Egyptians, in favour of Israel: and all the labour which had befallen them in the journey, and that the Lord had delivered them.

9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the good things that the Lord had done to Israel, because he had delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians.

10 And he said: Blessed is the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of Pharao, and out of the hand of the Egyptians, who hath delivered his people out of the hand of Egypt.

11 Now I know that the Lord is great above all gods: because they dealt proudly against them.

12 So Jethro the kinsman of Moses offered holocausts and sacrifices to God: and Aaron and all the ancients of Israel came, to eat bread with them before God.

13 And the next day Moses sat, to judge the people, who stood by Moses from morning until night.

14 And when his kinsman had seen all things that he did among the people, he said: What is it that thou dost among the people? Why sittest thou alone, and all the people wait from morning till night.

15 And Moses answered him: The people come to me to seek the judgment of God.

16 And when any controversy falleth out among them, they come to me to judge between them, and to shew the precepts of God, and his laws.

17 But he said: The thing thou dost is not good.

18 Thou are spent with foolish labour, both thou and this people that is with thee: the business is above thy strength, thou alone canst not bear it.

19 But hear my words and counsels, and God shall be with thee. Be thou to the people in those things that pertain to God, to bring their words to him:

20 And to shew the people the ceremonies and the manner of worshipping, and the way wherein they ought to walk, and the work that they ought to do.

21 And provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, in whom there is truth, and that hate avarice, and appoint of them rulers of thousands, and of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens.

22 Who may judge the people at all times: and when any great matter soever shall fall out, let them refer it to thee, and let them judge the lesser matters only: that so it may be lighter for thee, the burden being shared out unto others.

23 If thou dost this, thou shalt fulfil the commandment of God, and shalt be able to bear his precepts: and all this people shall return to their places with peace.

24 And when Moses heard this, he did all things that he had suggested unto him.

25 And choosing able men out of all Israel, he appointed them rulers of the people, rulers over thousands, and over hundreds, and over fifties, and over tens.

26 And they judged the people at all times: and whatsoever was of greater difficulty they referred to him, and they judged the easier cases only.

27 And he let his kinsman depart: and he returned and went into his own country.

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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...

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...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

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...

Wife of Moses
The wife of Moses, as in Exodus 4, in the internal and in the highest sense, represents good conjoined to truth.

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...

stranger
'A sojourner' or 'stranger,' as in Matthew 25:32, signifies someone who is willing to be instructed.

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

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...

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...

helper
A help-meet for him,' or 'a help as before him,' as mentioned in Genesis 2:18, signifies proprium, or what is one's own. However, whereas the...

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...

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

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...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

meet
In natural language, to "meet" someone can be positive or negative: it can be a welcoming and greeting, or it can be "meeting" them in...

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

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...

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...

Journey
'To journey' signifies the institutes and order of life.

rejoiced
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

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

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

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...

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...

Ancients
Ancients of the people, and the princes thereof ('Isaiah 3:14'), have a similar signification with the twelve disciples.

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

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...

sat
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...

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

seen
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...

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why the...

Judgment
Judgement' pertains to the Lord's divine human and holy proceeding. Judgment' has two sides, a principle of good, and a principle of truth. The faithful...

Shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

precepts
In Deuteronomy 11:1, 'statutes' signify the external parts of the Word, such as rituals, and representations of the internal sense. 'Judgments' signify the internal parts...

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...

Spent
'Spent,' as in Genesis 21:15, signifies being desolated.

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...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

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

truth
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...

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

rulers
"Rulers" or "governors" in the Bible represent the most basic, most essential true ideas that guide us in life, ideas that spring directly from the...

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....

Burden
A burden (Jer. 17:4) signifies that which is from the proprium of man.

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...

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

judged
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...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

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