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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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JETHRO (once, Exodus 4:18 a Jether ). An Arab sheik and priest of the Sinaitic Peninsula, the father-in-law of Moses; referred to by this name in Exodus 3:1 ; Exodus 4:18 ; Exodus 18:1-2 ff. (E [Note: Elohist.] ), as Reuel in the present text of Exodus 2:18 (J [Note: Jahwist.] ), and as Hobab in Numbers 10:29 (also J [Note: Jahwist.] ). He welcomed Moses and received him into his family ( Exodus 2:21 ), and many years later visited him at Sinai ( Exodus 18:1 ff.), heard with wonder and delight of the doings of Jahweh on behalf of Israel ( Exodus 18:9 ff.), and gave advice about administration ( Exodus 18:17-26 ). Later still he probably acted as guide to the Israelites ( Numbers 10:29 ff.; cf. the AV [Note: Authorized Version.] of Judges 1:16 ; Judges 4:11 ). As to the two or three names, it may be noted that Arabic inscriptions (Minæan) repeatedly give a priest two names. The name Jethro (Heb. Yithrô ) may mean ‘pre-eminence.’ See art. Hobab.

W. Taylor Smith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jethro'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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