1 Word soon reached Jethro, the priest of Midian and Moses' father-in-law, about all the wonderful things God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He had heard about how the LORD had brought them safely out of Egypt.
2 Some time before this, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons to live with Jethro, his father-in-law.
3 The name of Moses' first son was Gershom,* for Moses had said when the boy was born, "I have been a stranger in a foreign land."1
4 The name of his second son was Eliezer,* for Moses had said at his birth, "The God of my fathers was my helper; he delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh."2
5 Jethro now came to visit Moses, and he brought Moses' wife and two sons with him. They arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God.
6 Moses was told, "Jethro, your father-in-law, has come to visit you. Your wife and your two sons are with him."
7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed to him respectfully and greeted him warmly. They asked about each other's health and then went to Moses' tent to talk further.
8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the LORD had done to rescue Israel from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He also told him about the problems they had faced along the way and how the LORD had delivered his people from all their troubles.
9 Jethro was delighted when he heard about all that the LORD had done for Israel as he brought them out of Egypt.
10 "Praise be to the LORD," Jethro said, "for he has saved you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. He has rescued Israel from the power of Egypt!
11 I know now that the LORD is greater than all other gods, because his people have escaped from the proud and cruel Egyptians."
12 Then Jethro presented a burnt offering and gave sacrifices to God. As Jethro was doing this, Aaron and the leaders of Israel came out to meet him. They all joined him in a sacrificial meal in God's presence.
13 The next day, Moses sat as usual to hear the people's complaints against each other. They were lined up in front of him from morning till evening.
14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "Why are you trying to do all this alone? The people have been standing here all day to get your help."
15 Moses replied, "Well, the people come to me to seek God's guidance.
16 When an argument arises, I am the one who settles the case. I inform the people of God's decisions and teach them his laws and instructions."
17 "This is not good!" his father-in-law exclaimed.
18 "You're going to wear yourself out--and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.
19 Now let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people's representative before God, bringing him their questions to be decided.
20 You should tell them God's decisions, teach them God's laws and instructions, and show them how to conduct their lives.
21 But find some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as judges over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.
22 These men can serve the people, resolving all the ordinary cases. Anything that is too important or too complicated can be brought to you. But they can take care of the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.
23 If you follow this advice, and if God directs you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace."
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law's advice and followed his suggestions.
25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and made them judges over the people. They were put in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.
26 These men were constantly available to administer justice. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but they judged the smaller matters themselves.
27 Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.