Jethro in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

jeth'-ro, je'-thro (yithro, "excellence," Ex 3:1; 4:18b; 18:1-12 (in 4:18a, probably a textual error, yether, "Iether," the King James Version margin, the Revised Version margin); Septuagint always Iothor): The priest of Midian and father-in-law (chothen) of Moses. 1. His Relation to Reuel and Hobab: It is not easy to determine the relation of Jethro to Reuel and Hobab. If we identify Jethro with Reuel as in Ex 2:18; 3:1 (and in Ant, III, iii; V, ii, 3), we must connect "Moses' father-in-law" in Nu 10:29 immediately with "Reuel" (the King James Version "Raguel"), and make Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses. But while it is possible that chothen may be used in the wider sense of a wife's relative, it is nowhere translated "brother-in-law" except in Jdg 1:16; 4:11 ("father-in-law," the King James Version, the Revised Version margin). If we insert, as Ewald suggests (HI, II, 25), "Jethro son of" before "Reuel" in Ex 2:18 (compare the Septuagint, verse 16, where the name "Jethro" is given), we would then identify Jethro with Hobab, the son of Reuel, in Nu 10:29, taking "Moses' father-in-law" to refer back to Hobab. Against this identification, however, it is stated that Jethro went away into his own country without any effort on the part of Moses to detain him (Ex 18:27), whereas Hobab, though at first he refused to remain with the Israelites, seems to have yielded to the pleadings of Moses to become their guide to Canaan (Nu 10:29-32; Jdg 1:16, where Kittel reads "Hobab the Kenite"; 4:11). It may be noted that while the father-in-law of Moses is spoken of as a "Midianite" in Exodus, he is called a"Kenite" in Jdg 1:16; 4:11. From this Ewald infers that the Midianites were at that time intimately blended with the Amalekites, to which tribe the Kenites belonged (HI, II, 44)...

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