New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

18:2 Moses "put away" this woman- Ex. 18:2 LXX is the same "put away" as in 1 Cor. 7:11-13. Moses allowed divorce for the hardness of Israel's hearts (Mt. 19:8) and yet he himself appears to have divorced her- for the hardness of his heart?

 18:3,4 However, Moses' children had names which showed some faith, and a recognition he was a stranger in the land where he was living; he lived as a stranger in Midian. Few people live in a country for 40 years without feeling they belong to it. But his mind was in the past, in how God had been good to his father, and how God had saved him from Pharaoh's death threat.

18:5- see on Ex. 34:27.

18:7- see on 33:3.

18:10- see on 2:19.

18:11- see on 2:21.

over time in the Lord's ministry, and in the whole NT, reference to demons becomes less and less, as His preaching of Truth by example and miracle made the point that these things really don’t exist. Likewise the gods of Egypt were not specifically stated to not exist: but through the miracles at the Exodus, it was evident that Yahweh was unrivalled amongst all such ‘gods’, to the point of showing their non-existence (Ex. 15:11; 18:11).

18:18 Moses accepts Jethro's advice on the basis that he will "surely wear away" (Ex. 18:18); even though his natural strength never abated (Dt. 34:7), and God surely would not have asked him to do the impossible. Jethro at this time seems to have seen Yahweh as only one of many gods; he was a pagan priest. He prophesied that if Moses followed his advice, "all this people shall go to their place in peace" - which they didn't.

18:22 In Rom. 8:26, Paul writes of how the Spirit “helps our infirmities”. The Greek word for “helps” occurs in the LXX of Ex. 18:22 and Num. 11:17, where Moses is the one helped. Paul is suggesting that each believer can rise up to the pattern of Moses; he was no longer to be seen by Jewish believers as some distant, untouchable, stellar example of devotion. He was a pattern that through the Spirit could be realistically attained; although the point is being cleverly made that he too had weakness that needed Divine help.

18:23 Jethro perceived the vital effort of Moses in Israel’s salvation when he advised: “If thou shalt do this thing… then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place [Canaan] in peace” (Ex. 18:23). This is the power of just one man's faith.