Exodus 18

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English: Webster's Bible         

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1 When Jethro the priest of Midian, Moses's 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:

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

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

4 And the name of the other was Eliezer; (for the God of my father, said he, was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:)

5 And Jethro, Moses's father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:

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

7 And 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.

8 And Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to 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.

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

10 And 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.

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

12 And Jethro, Moses's 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's father-in-law before God.

13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening.

14 And when Moses's 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 to evening?

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

16 When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between one and another, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.

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

18 Thou 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.

19 Hearken now to my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people toward God, that thou mayest bring the causes to God:

20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do.

21 Moreover, 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:

22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring to thee, but every small matter they shall judge: So shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.

23 If 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.

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

25 And 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.

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

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

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...

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.

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...

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...

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...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

mount
'Mount Olivet' signifies the celestial church, or celestial good, which comes from love towards the Lord, and divine love.

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...

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...

asked
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

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...

travail
'To travail in birth' signifies conceiving and bringing forth the elements of spiritual life.

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

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...

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...

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

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...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

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...

Elders of Israel
The elders of Israel (Deut. 1:13, 15) represent celestial men.

Elders
Elders are mentioned in the Bible mainly in two ways: First the elders of Israel: and second the 24 elders seated about the throne of...

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...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Stand
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

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...

Hearken
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

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...

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...

Ordinances
'Ordinances' in the prophets, signify changes relative to spiritual and celestial things, both in general and particular, which are also compared to the changes of...

show
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

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.

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...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

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....

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

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

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...

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...

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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 Balancing Work and Leisure
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