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Exodus 18:7-12

Context
18:7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him; 1  they each asked about the other’s welfare, and then they went into the tent. 18:8 Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to Egypt for Israel’s sake, and all the hardship 2  that had come on them 3  along the way, and how 4  the Lord had delivered them.

18:9 Jethro rejoiced 5  because of all the good that the Lord had done for Israel, whom he had delivered from the hand of Egypt. 18:10 Jethro said, “Blessed 6  be the Lord who has delivered you from the hand of Egypt, and from the hand of Pharaoh, who has delivered the people from the Egyptians’ control! 7  18:11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods, for in the thing in which they dealt proudly against them he has destroyed them.” 8  18:12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought 9  a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, 10  and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat food 11  with the father-in-law of Moses before God.

1 sn This is more than polite oriental custom. Jethro was Moses’ benefactor, father-in-law, and a priest. He paid much respect to him. Now he could invite Jethro into his home (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 496).

2 tn A rare word, “weariness” of the hardships.

3 tn Heb “found them.”

4 tn Here “how” has been supplied.

5 tn The word חָדָה (khada) is rare, occurring only in Job 3:6 and Ps 21:6, although it is common in Aramaic. The LXX translated it “he shuddered.” U. Cassuto suggests that that rendering was based on the midrashic interpretation in b. Sanhedrin 94b, “he felt cuts in his body” – a wordplay on the verb (Exodus, 215-16).

6 tn This is a common form of praise. The verb בָּרוּךְ (barukh) is the Qal passive participle of the verb. Here must be supplied a jussive, making this participle the predicate: “May Yahweh be blessed.” The verb essentially means “to enrich”; in praise it would mean that he would be enriched by the praises of the people.

7 tn Heb “from under the hand of the Egyptians.”

8 tn The end of this sentence seems not to have been finished, or it is very elliptical. In the present translation the phrase “he has destroyed them” is supplied. Others take the last prepositional phrase to be the completion and supply only a verb: “[he was] above them.” U. Cassuto (Exodus, 216) takes the word “gods” to be the subject of the verb “act proudly,” giving the sense of “precisely (כִּי, ki) in respect of these things of which the gods of Egypt boasted – He is greater than they (עֲלֵיהֶם, ‘alehem).” He suggests rendering the clause, “excelling them in the very things to which they laid claim.”

9 tn The verb is “and he took” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). It must have the sense of getting the animals for the sacrifice. The Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate have “offered.” But Cody argues because of the precise wording in the text Jethro did not offer the sacrifices but received them (A. Cody, “Exodus 18,12: Jethro Accepts a Covenant with the Israelites,” Bib 49 [1968]: 159-61).

10 sn Jethro brought offerings as if he were the one who had been delivered. The “burnt offering” is singular, to honor God first. The other sacrifices were intended for the invited guests to eat (a forerunner of the peace offering). See B. Jacob, Exodus, 498.

11 tn The word לֶחֶם (lekhem) here means the sacrifice and all the foods that were offered with it. The eating before God was part of covenantal ritual, for it signified that they were in communion with the Deity, and with one another.



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