18:5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ 1 sons and his wife, came to Moses in the desert where he was camping by 2 the mountain of God. 3 18:6 He said 4 to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, along with your wife and her two sons with her.”
1 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
2 tn This is an adverbial accusative that defines the place (see GKC 373-74 §118.g).
3 sn The mountain of God is Horeb, and so the desert here must be the Sinai desert by it. But chap. 19 suggests that they left Rephidim to go the 24 miles to Sinai. It may be that this chapter fits in chronologically after the move to Sinai, but was placed here thematically. W. C. Kaiser defends the present location of the story by responding to other reasons for the change given by Lightfoot, but does not deal with the travel locations (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:411).
4 sn This verse may seem out of place, since the report has already been given that they came to the desert. It begins to provide details of the event that the previous verse summarizes. The announcement in verse 6 may have come in advance by means of a messenger or at the time of arrival, either of which would fit with the attention to formal greetings in verse 7. This would suit a meeting between two important men; the status of Moses has changed. The LXX solves the problem by taking the pronoun “I” as the particle “behold” and reads it this way: “one said to Moses, ‘Behold, your father-in-law has come….’”