Jethro - Encyclopedia

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JETHRO (or Jether, Exod. iv. 18), the priest of Midian, in the Bible, whose daughter Zipporah became the wife of Moses. He is known as Hobab the son of Reuel the Kenite (Num. x. 29; Judg. iv. I I), and once as Reuel (Exod. ii. 18); and if Zipporah is the wife of Moses referred to in Num. xii. 1, the family could be regarded as Cushite (see CusH). Jethro was the priest of Yahweh, and resided at the sacred mountain where the deity commissioned Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Subsequently Jethro came to Moses (probably at Kadesh), a great sacrificial feast was held, and the priest instructed Moses in legislative procedure; Exod. xviii. 27 (see Exodus) and Num. x. 30 imply that the scene was not Sinai. Jethro was invited to accompany the people into the promised land, and later, we find his clan settling in the south of Judah (Judg. i. 16); see Kenites. The traditions agree in representing the kin of Moses as related to the mixed tribes of the south of Palestine (see Edom) and in ascribing to the family an important share in the early development of the worship of Yahweh. Cheyne suggests that the names of Hobab and of Jonadab the father of the Rechabites were originally identical (Ency. Bib. ii. col. 2101).

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