jethro Summary and Overview
jethro in Easton's Bible Dictionary
his excellence, or gain, a prince or priest of Midian, who succeeded his father Reuel. Moses spent forty years after his exile from the Egyptian court as keeper of Jethro's flocks. While the Israelites were encamped at Sinai, and soon after their victory over Amalek, Jethro came to meet Moses, bringing with him Zipporah and her two sons. They met at the "mount of God," and "Moses told him all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh" (Ex. 18:8). On the following day Jethro, observing the multiplicity of the duties devolving on Moses, advised him to appoint subordinate judges, rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens, to decide smaller matters, leaving only the weightier matters to be referred to Moses, to be laid before the Lord. This advice Moses adopted (Ex. 18). He was also called Hobab (q.v.), which was probably his personal name, while Jethro was an official name. (See MOSES T0002602.)
jethro in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(his excellence) was priest or prince of Midian. Moses married his daughter Zipporah. (B.C. 1530.) On account if his local knowledge he was entreated to remain with the Israelites throughout their journey to Canaan. #Nu 10:31,33| (He is called REUEL in #Ex 2:18| and RAGUEL in #Nu 10:29|, the same word int he original for both). Reuel is probably his proper name, and Jethro his official title.--ED.)
jethro in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
JE'THRO (His excellence), a priest or prince of Midian, and father-in-law of Moses. Ex 3:1. He is called Raguel, Num 10:29, and Reuel, Ex 2:18, and was probably known by either name, while Jethro was his official title. It is highly probable, too, that he was a descendant of Abraham by Keturah, the mother of Midian, Gen 25:2, but what was the nature of his office as priest (or prince, as some say it should be rendered) we know not. See Hobab.
jethro in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See HOBAB ). Reuel's oldest son. Father-in-law of Moses, by whose counsel Moses chose chief men from the tribes to be rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and to judge minor causes, reserving the weightier ones to himself (Exodus 18). "Jethro took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God," being a priest of the true God. The primitive faith still had its representatives here and there in the Gentile world after Abraham's call, e.g. Jethro, and Melchizedek. Reuel's name, from El = God, implies he too was a God-worshipping priest-prince of his tribe, though the majority of the tribe bordering on the Hamite Canaan were idolaters (Exodus 2:16). Zipporah's repugnance to circumcision (Exodus 4:24-26) shows that it was not universal even among worshippers of the true God. She circumcised the younger son only to save Moses from God's wrath, the elder was evidently already circumcised. Moses' delay in circumcising the younger was a sinful yielding to his wife. The occurrence induced him to send her back and his sons, and not take them to Egypt; Jethro brought them to him after Israel's arrival at Sinai. Jethro of Midian (Abraham's descendant) celebrated a sacrificial meal with Aaron and Israel's elders; the representative firstfruits of the pagan who would afterward enter into fellowship with God and His people; as Amalek, another descendant of Abraham, represents on the contrary the pagan world hostile to the Lord and His people. 1 Chronicles 7:10,11.3. A Gershonite Levite, reckoned as one house with Beriah in David's census (1 Chronicles 23:10,11).