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Numbers 10:29

Context
The Appeal to Hobab

10:29 1 Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel, the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, 2  “We are journeying to the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, 3  for the Lord has promised good things 4  for Israel.”

1 sn For additional bibliography for this short section, see W. F. Albright, “Jethro, Hobab, and Reuel in Early Hebrew Tradition,” CBQ 25 (1963): 1-11; G. W. Coats, “Moses in Midian,” JBL 92 (1973): 3-10; B. Mazar, “The Sanctuary of Arad and the Family of Hobab the Kenite,” JNES 24 (1965): 297-303; and T. C. Mitchell, “The Meaning of the Noun h£tn in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 93-112.

2 sn There is a problem with the identity of Hobab. The MT says that he is the son of Reuel, making him the brother-in-law of Moses. But Judg 4:11 says he is the father-in-law. In Judg 1:16; 4:11 Hobab is traced to the Kenites, but in Exod 3:1 and 18:1 Jethro (Reuel) is priest of Midian. Jethro is identified with Reuel on the basis of Exod 2:18 and 3:1, and so Hobab becomes Moses’ חֹתֵן (khoten), a relative by marriage and perhaps brother-in-law. There is not enough information to decide on the identity and relationships involved here. Some suggest that there is one person with the three names (G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 93); others suggest Hobab is a family name (R. F. Johnson, IDB 2:615), and some suggest that the expression “the son of Reuel the Midianite” had dropped out of the genealogy of Judges, leading to the conflict (J. Crichton, ISBE 2:1055). If Hobab is the same as Jethro, then Exod 18:27 does not make much sense, for Jethro did go home. On this basis many conclude Hobab is a brother-in-law. This would mean that after Jethro returned home, Moses conversed with Hobab, his brother-in-law. For more discussion, see the articles and the commentaries.

3 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the root “to be good” (יָטַב, yatav); it may be translated “treat well, deal favorably, generously with.” Here it is a perfect tense with vav (ו) following the imperative, showing a sequence in the verbal ideas.

4 tn The Hebrew text simply has “has spoken good” for Israel.



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