Jethro, the priest of Midian, father of Moses’ wife, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after Moses had sent her back from Egypt with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom, for Moses said I have been an alien in a strange land. The name of the other was Eliezer; for Moses said the God of my father was my help, and he delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
Jethro heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.
And Jethro came to Moses with his sons and his wife into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God.
Jethro (to Moses): I your father-in-law Jethro am come to you, and your wife, and her two sons with her.
And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
Moses told Jethro all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them along the way, and how the Lord delivered them.
And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
Jethro: Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
The next day, Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning until the evening. Jethro saw all that Moses did to the people.
Jethro: What is this thing that you do to the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand by you from morning until evening?
Moses: Because the people come to me to enquire of God. When they have a matter, they come to me; and I judge between one and another, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
Jethro: The thing that you do is not good. You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you: for this thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it alone. Listen now to my voice, I will give you counsel, and God shall be with you. You be for the people God-ward, that you may bring the cause to God: And you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for you, and they shall bear the burden with you. If you shall do this thing, and God command you so, then you shall be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said.
Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
Jethro departed and went his way into his own land.