("beloved".) Only in Numbers 10:29; Judges 4:11. Not probably "father-in-law," but as the Hebrew Chathan often means, "brother in law," of Moses. Son of Raguel = Reuel (as Gazah = Azzah), Exodus 2:18. Moses' entreaty, "Leave us not, I pray thee, forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes," implies that Hobab was younger than Moses' father-in-law could now have been. Reuel had seven grown daughters when Moses first went into the wilderness at 40, and now Moses was 80. It is therefore probable that by this time Reuel's son Jethro had succeeded him in his hereditary priesthood. Moreover, Hobab is not Jethro (Exodus 18:27), for Jethro left the Israelites for his own land Midian before they reached Sinai, whereas Hobab accompanied them and settled in Canaan (Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11).
Hobab and Jethro ("excellency") were probably brothers of Zipporah, Moses' wife, and sons of Reuel; Hobab the younger, and therefore not bound, as Jethro the elder, to his own tribe by the duties of an hereditary priesthood. We do not hear of Jethro after his departure from Israel before Sinai. As Jethro helped Moses in counsel as a judicious administrator, so Hobab helped him as the experienced Arab sheikh familiar with the tracks, passes, and suitable places of the wilderness for an encampment, quick eyed in descrying the far off shrubs which betoken the presence of water, and knowing well where there was danger of hostile attacks. The ark of the covenant was their main guide (Numbers 10:33). But divine guidance does not preclude human; nay, the God of ordinary providence works by natural means and is the same as the God of special grace.
Moses' words to Hobab, "We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you," imply Israel's assured faith in God's promise; as sure as if it were in their hands. So the believer answers every allurement to make this pilgrimage world his rest (Hebrews 13:14; Hebrews 11:13-16). He is no longer in the Egypt of the world in spirit, nor is he yet in the heavenly Canaan; he is on the way, and has no doubt of the end (2 Timothy 1:12). He tries to persuade all others to join him, for, whereas other riches are diminished by sharing, these are increased: "Come thou with us, and we will do thee good; for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel." Holy importunity succeeds at last.
Hobab said: "I will not go, but I will depart to mine own land and kindred." Moses replied: "Leave us not, I pray thee ... and it shall be, that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee." The Kenite complied, and in due time shared in Israel's blessing in Canaan. So Zechariah 8:23. Going with those with whom God is, we shall share in their blessing from God (1 John 1:3). So Ruth experienced, who did not need to be entreated, but entreated to go with her godly mother-in-law (1 John 1:16-17). Hobab's family by joining Israel escaped Amalek's doom (1 Samuel 15:6). If we suffer with Israel in the wilderness, we shall reign with Israel in Canaan (2 Timothy 2:12; Luke 22:28-29).
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