1. Moses and Jethro reunited (18:1-12). Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro comes with Moses’ family for a reunification. We are not told when or why Moses sent his wife and sons to Jethro, but that he did we learn here (18:1-3). Jethro comes to the “mountain of God” (or Sinai, 18:5), a reference made twice before (3:1 and 4:27). With the reuniting Moses tells his father-in-law all the trouble Israel experienced and how the Lord delivered them through it (18:8), and from this Jethro is encouraged and offers the Lord burnt offerings and sacrifices (18:8-12).
2. Jethro’s counsel (18:13-27). Moses was clearly a man of the people; he desired to help the Israelites understand the Lord’s will for their lives and he desired to adjudicate problems with the Lord’s will implemented. Moses was a strong man, but emotionally and mentally strong men get worn down. The sheer weight of what Moses took upon himself was sure to beat him down. While Moses was old enough to know this, it was the counsel of his father-in-law that brought it to the forefront of his mind. It is interesting that the Lord allowed Moses to pursue this course until this time. Reuel (Jethro, 2:18) counsels Moses to find godly men to serve in subservient roles. The men he was to find would be men who were able, reverent toward God, trustworthy, and men who hated bribery (18:21). Moses was to teach God’s commands (18:20), and allow the men in “lower courts” to address the situations that arise with this teaching in place (18:23-26).
3. Application: Delegating authority is mighty hard for some people. Perhaps it was not hard for Moses, only that he might not have thought about it. We should think about it, and we should allow those who are trustworthy to be of great help. Can you imagine the President of the United States not delegating authority? I can’t.