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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. רְעוּאֵל ; Sept. ῾Ραγουήλ ), a less correct Anglicism of the name REUEL (See REUEL) (q.v.).

1. A prince-priest of Midian, the father of Zipporah, according to Exodus ii, 21, and of Hobab according to Numbers 10:29. As the father-in-law of Moses is named Jethro in Exodus 3:1, and Hobab in Judges 4:11, and perhaps in Numbers 10:29 (though the latter passage admits of another sense), the prima-facie view would be that Raguel, Jethro, and Hobab were different names for the same individual. Such is probably the case with regard to the two first, at all events, if not with the third. (See HOBAB).

One of the names may represent an official title, but whether Jethro or Raguel is uncertain, both being appropriately significant (Jethro "pre-eminent," from יתר, "to excel," and Raguel= "friend of God," from רְעוּ אֵל ). Josephus was in favor of the former (τουτο, i.e. Ι᾿εθεγλαῖος, ην ἐπίκλημα τῷ ῾Ραγουήλῳ, Ant. ii, 12, 1), and this is not unlikely, as the name Reuel was not an uncommon one. The identity of Jethro and Reuel is supported by the indiscriminate use of the names in the Sept. (Exodus 2:16; Exodus 2:18); and the application of more than one name to the same individual was a usage familiar to the Hebrews, as instanced in Jacob and Israel, Solomon anti Jedidiah, and other similar cases. Another solution of the difficulty has been sought in the loose use of terms of relationship among the Hebrews; as that chothen (חֹתֵן ) in Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:1; Numbers 10:29, may signify any relation by marriage, and consequently that Jethro and Hobab were brothers-in-law of Moses; or that the terms arb (אָב ) and bath (בִּת ) in Exodus 2:16; Exodus 2:21, mean grandfatther and grandtdauughter. Neither of these assumptions is satisfactory, the former in the absence of any corroborative evidence, the latter because the omission of Jethro, the father's name, in so circumstantial a narrative as in Exodus ii, is inexplicable; nor can we conceive the indiscriminate use of the terms father and grandfather without good cause. Nevertheless, this view has a strong mweight of authority in its favor, being supported by the Targum Jonathan, Aben-Ezra, Michaelis, Winer, and others. SEE JETHRO

2. Another transcription of the name REUEL, occurring in Tobit, where Raguel, a pious Jew of Ecbatane. a city of Media, is father of Sara, the wife of Tobias (Tobias 3:7, 17, etc.). The name was not uncommon. and in the book of Enoch it is applied to one of the great guardian angels of the universe, who was charged with the execution of the divine judgments on the (material) world and the stars (20:4; 23:4, ed. Dillmann).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Raguel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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