2:18 So when they came home 1 to their father Reuel, 2 he asked, “Why have you come home so early 3 today?” 2:19 They said, “An Egyptian man rescued us 4 from the shepherds, 5 and he actually 6 drew water for us and watered the flock!” 2:20 He said 7 to his daughters, “So where is he? 8 Why in the world 9 did you leave the man? Call him, so that he may eat 10 a meal 11 with us.”
1 tn The verb means “to go, to come, to enter.” In this context it means that they returned to their father, or came home.
2 sn The name “Reuel” is given here. In other places (e.g., chap. 18) he is called Jethro (cf. CEV, which uses “Jethro” here). Some suggest that this is simply a confusion of traditions. But it is not uncommon for ancients, like Sabean kings and priests, to have more than one name. Several of the kings of Israel, including Solomon, did. “Reuel” means “friend of God.”
3 tn The sentence uses a verbal hendiadys construction: מִהַרְתֶּן בֹּא (miharten bo’, “you have made quick [to] come”). The finite verb functions as if it were an adverb modifying the infinitive, which becomes the main verb of the clause.
sn Two observations should be made at this point. First, it seems that the oppression at the well was a regular part of their routine because their father was surprised at their early return, and their answer alluded to the shepherds rather automatically. Secondly, the story is another meeting-at-the-well account. Continuity with the patriarchs is thereby kept in the mind of the reader (cf. Gen 24; 29:1-12).
4 sn Continuing the theme of Moses as the deliverer, the text now uses another word for salvation (נָצַל, natsal, “to deliver, rescue”) in the sense of plucking out or away, snatching out of danger.
5 tn Heb “from the hand of the shepherds” (so NASB); NAB “saved us from the interference of the shepherds.” Most recent English versions translate simply “from the shepherds.”
6 tn The construction is emphatic with the use of the perfect tense and its infinitive absolute: דָלָה דָּלֹה (daloh dalah). B. Jacob says, “They showed their enthusiasm through the use of the infinitive absolute – And think of that, he even drew water for us; a man did this for us girls” (Exodus, 41).
7 tn Heb “And he said.”
8 tn The conjunction vav (ו) joins Reuel’s question to what the daughters said as logically following with the idea, “If he has done all that you say, why is he not here for me to meet?” (see GKC 485 §154.b).
9 tn This uses the demonstrative pronoun as an enclitic, for emphasis (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). The question reads more literally, “Why [is] this [that] you left him?”
10 tn The imperfect tense coming after the imperative indicates purpose.
11 tn Heb “bread,” i.e., “food.”
12 tn Or “and Moses was willing” to stay with Reuel. The Talmud understood this to mean that he swore, and so when it came time to leave he had to have a word from God and permission from his father-in-law (Exod 4:18-19).
13 tn The words “in marriage” are implied, and have been supplied in the translation for clarity.