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)...