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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Exodus 18:13-27

Here is, I. The great zeal and industry of Moses as a magistrate. 1. Having been employed to redeem Israel out of the house of bondage, herein he is a further type of Christ, that he is employed as a lawgiver and a judge among them. (1.) He was to answer enquiries, to acquaint them with the will of God in doubtful cases, and to explain the laws of God that were already given them, concerning the sabbath, the man, etc., beside the laws of nature, relating both to piety and equity, Exod. 18:15.... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Exodus 18:21

Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people ,.... Or look out F20 from among them; see Acts 6:3 , able men ; or "men of power" F21 ; meaning not so much men of strong and robust constitutions, who, as Aben Ezra says, are able to bear labour; but men that have strength of heart, as Ben Gersom expresses it, men of spirit and courage, and are not afraid to do justice, to repress vice, and countenance virtue; or, as Maimonides says F23 Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect.... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Exodus 18:21

Able men - Persons of wisdom, discernment, judgment, prudence, and fortitude; for who can be a ruler without these qualifications? Such as fear God - Who are truly religious, without which they will feel little concerned either for the bodies or souls of the people. Men of truth - Honest and true in their own hearts and lives; speaking the truth, and judging according to the truth. Hating covetousness - Doing all for God's sake, and love to man; laboring to promote the general good;... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - Exodus 18:21

Verse 21 21.Moreover, thou shalt (199) provide out of all the people Literally so, “thou shalt provide;” meaning, thou shalt choose out, and take the most worthy, so that such an office be not entrusted rashly to any one that offers. But this was most reasonable, among a free people, that the judges should not be chosen for their wealth or rank, but for their superiority in virtue. Yet although it be right that regard should be chiefly had to virtue, so that if any one of the lower orders be... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 18:13-26

Jethro's advice. In considering this passage it is desirable to form some distinct opinion as to the time of Jethro's visit to Moses . How comes this episode to be mentioned at all , and what is its point of attachment to the main course of the history? Evidently it would not have been inserted unless as explaining how these rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, had first been appointed. The origin of this appointment is then seen to be traceable to Jethro's prudent and... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 18:13-27

The appointment of judges. During the few days that Jethro was with Moses, he did the latter an essential service, and initiated nothing short of a revolution in the manner of conducting judicial business. Besides its immediate lessons (noted below), this incident of the appointment of judges is valuable as illustrating— 1 . The scope left in the arrangements of Israel for the independent action of the human mind. Various examples of this occur in the history— e.g; the retention of... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 18:13-27

Good counsel well taken. I. ZEAL MAY OUTRUN DISCRETION . 1 . Moses' strength was overtaxed, his spirit needlessly burdened. 2 . There was delay for the people with its vexation and loss. The most self-sacrificing love will not of itself make our methods the best and wisest. II. WHAT IS NEEDFUL FOR THE GIVING OF ADVICE . 1 . Affectionate interest and care. The people's need and Moses' burden both weigh upon Jethro's spirit. 2 . Wisdom. A ... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 18:14-23

The unwisdom of a monopoly of power. The principle of the division of labour, which is essential to progress in the arts, was well known in Egypt, and was applied there, not to the arts only, but also to government and administration. Moses, who had resided forty years at the court of a Pharaoh ( Acts 7:23 ), must have been thoroughly acquainted with the fact that, in a well-ordered community, judicial functions were separated kern legislative and administrative, and entrusted to a large... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 18:17-27

The Economy of Force. "The thing that thou doest is not good," etc. Exodus 18:17 , Exodus 18:18 . In the error of Moses, and the amendment suggested by Jethro, are to be discovered most valuable lessons. This day in the life of Moses was a microcosm of all his days. His whole life was service. So with all true life. But in such a life mistakes are possible. We inquire then what are the Divine conditions of a life of true ministry? I. CHARACTER . The elements were laid down by... read more

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