Jethro (Bible)

In the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible, Jethro (; Hebrew: יִתְרוֹ, Standard Yitro Tiberian Yiṯrô; "His Excellence/Posterity"; Arabic شعيب Shu-ayb) or Reuel was Moses' father-in-law, a Kenite shepherd and priest of Midian.[1] In Exodus, Moses' father-in-law is initially referred to as "Reuel" (Exodus 2:18) but then as "Jethro" (Exodus 3:1). He was the father of Hobab in the Book of Numbers 10:29.[2] He is also revered as the spiritual founder and chief prophet in his own right in the Druze religion,[3][4][5] and considered an ancestor of all Druze.[6][7]

Contents

  • In Exodus 1
  • Names 2
  • Druze 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • External links 6

In Exodus

Moses takes his leave of Jethro by Jan Victors, c. 1635, from the incident in Exodus 4:18. Jethro is seated on the left, in red.

Jethro is called a Cushite priest of Midian and became father-in-law of Moses after he gave his daughter, Zipporah, in marriage to Moses. He is introduced in Exodus 2:18.

Jethro is recorded as living in Midian, a territory stretching along the eastern edge of the Gulf of Aqaba in what is today northwestern Saudi Arabia. Some believe Midian is within the Sinai Peninsula. Biblical maps from antiquity show Midian on both locations.

Jethro's daughter, Zipporah, became Moses's wife after Moses had fled Egypt, having killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Having fled to Midian, Moses intervened in a water-access dispute between Jethro's seven daughters and the local shepherds; Jethro consequently invited Moses into his home and offered him hospitality. However, Moses remained conscious that he was a stranger in exile, naming his first son (Jethro's grandson) "Gershom", meaning "stranger there".

Moses is said to have worked as a shepherd for Jethro for 40 years before returning to Egypt to lead the Hebrews to Canaan, the "promised land". After the Battle at Rephidim against the Amalekites, word reached Jethro that under Moses' leadership the Israelites had been delivered out of Egypt, so he set out to meet with Moses. They met in the wilderness at the "Mountain of God";[8] Moses recounted to Jethro all that had taken place, and then, according to Exodus 18:9-12a:

Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the Lord had done for Israel, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians. And Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.” Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and other sacrifices to offer to God.[9]

Following this event, it was Jethro who encouraged Moses to appoint others to share in the burden of ministry to the nation Israel by allowing others to help in the judgment of smaller matters coming before him.

These events take place in the Torah portion Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23).

Names

There is some disagreement over the name(s) of Moses' father-in-law. In the KJV translation of Judges 4:11, a man named Hobab appears as Moses' father-in-law, while Numbers 10:29 makes him "the son of Raguel [Reuel] the Midianite, Moses' father in law". Reuel is noted Exodus 2:16, as "a priest of Midian" who had seven daughters. Exodus 2:18 "the girls returned to Reuel their father". Reuel becomes Moses' father in law in Exodus 2:21 "Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage."

In Numbers 10:29, the Hebrew for the name Raguel is the same as the Hebrew for Reuel. The reason for the difference is that the Hebrew character ע (ayin) in רעואל is sometimes used merely as a vowel and sometimes as "g", "ng", and "gn", because of the difficulty of its pronunciation by European speakers. Re-u-el, with the first syllable strong accented, is nearer to the true pronunciation. Some suppose he was father to Hobab, who was also called Jethro, a likely possibility.[10]

Another thing to consider is that there is only one Biblical Hebrew word for both "brother-in-law" and "father-in-law" (chathan).[11] It is, in fact, the word for any and all relations by marriage. If one takes into account the Biblical custom of multiple names for one person as well as Judges 4:11 calling Hobab Reuel's son, Reuel and Jethro both appear as Moses' father-in-law,[12] while Hobab may be seen as his brother-in-law. However, this is disputed among theologians.[13][14]

Druze

Jethro Moses' non-Jewish father-in-law, is a central figure, particularly in the rites and pilgrimages, of the Druze religion.[15][16] He is viewed as a Prophet in Druze belief.[17][18] Nabi Shu'ayb is the site recognized by Druze as the tomb of Shuʿayb. It is located in Hittin in the Lower Galilee and is the holiest shrine and most important pilgrimage site for the Druze.[19][20] Each year on April 25, the Druze gather at the site in a holiday known as Ziyarat al-Nabi Shu'ayb to discuss community affairs and celebrate Jethro's death anniversary with singing, dancing and feasting.[21][22] Another Druze shrine in Ein Qiniyye is the supposed burial place of Jethro's sister, Sit Shahwana.[23]

Jethro is revered as the chief prophet in the Druze religion.[24][25] They believe he was a "hidden" and "true prophet" who communicated directly with God and then passed on that knowledge to Moses, whom they describe as a "recognised" and "revealed prophet."[26][27] According to Druze belief, Moses was allowed to wed Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, after helping save his daughters and their flock from competing herdsmen. He is also considered an ancestor of the Druze;[6] as is expressed by such prominent Druze as Amal Nasereldeen,[28] and according to Salman Tarif, who was a prominent Druze shaykh, this makes the Druze related to the Jews through marriage.[29] This view has been used to represent an element of the special relationship between Israeli Jews and Druze.[30] The Israeli Druze also have a folktale called "Jethro's revenge on the [Sunni Muslim] inhabitants of the village of Hittin."[31]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  2. ^ http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0704.htm#11
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ Exod 18:5
  9. ^ Exod: 18:9-12a NKJV
  10. ^ Clarke, Adam, Commentary on The Holy Bible, Abingdon Press, Nashville, vol. 1, pp. 300-301.
  11. ^ Strong's number 2859
  12. ^ Exodus|2:21|NIV,Exodus|18:1,2,5,6,12,27|NIV
  13. ^ Parallel Translations of Judges 4:11 with commentaries
  14. ^ Parallel Translations of Numbers 10:29 with commentaries
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Druze Revered Sites in Palestine: Jethro's Tomb
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^

External links

  • Mosque and Tomb“Jethro”Prophet Shoaib near Mahis
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