Exodus 18:1-6

Please read this passage before reading the commentary and devotion below.


The theme of this devotion is:

There is a root of the Gospel for the Nations that is involved in the matter of the relationship of Jethro and his family to Moses.

The STONE commentary makes the point that there has been a role reversal in the lives of Jethro and Moses. When Moses arrived in Midian after fleeing from Pharoah as a 40-year-old man, Jethro became the leading figure in the relationship between him and Moses. But when Moses returned to Midian where the Mountain of God was located in the Arabian desert (SINAI), the place where God had encountered him in the burning bush, the roles were switched: Jethro now expressed himself to Moses as “your father-in-law”—taking his identity from his relation to Moses.

Jethro also brought with him Zipporah Moses’ wife and their two sons Gershom (“sojourner in a strange land”) and Eliezer (“God my Help”—for he said, “the God of my father [Amram…Levi] was my help, and He delivered me from the sword of Pharoah”).

The reference to Moses sending away Zipporah and their two sons refers to the encounter with the border spirit that sought to kill Moses as he made his way to Egypt at the age of 80 (Exodus 4). Zipporah had to circumcise Moses’ uncircumcised son and cast the foreskin at Moses’ feet in order to release him from the grip of the terrible being. (This is very mysterious.) Moses then sent her and the boys back to Midian and to Jethro: they could not go with him to bring about the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. (This also is very mysterious.)

So then: there was a sending away of Moses’ gentile family; now there is a returning of his gentile family. And Moses accepts this, though there is only scant mention of his Midianite family after this passage in the Torah. There is no further mention of Zipporah by name. But the boys are mentioned in the book of 1 Chronicles chapter six as being named after the tribe of Levi; and then his son Gershom shares an identical name with one of the sons of Aaron in the immediate context. Therefore, the Bible places the identity of Moses’ two sons into the Levitical history of Israel though they, like Joseph’s sons, had Gentile mothers.

This connection of the Nations through the family of Jethro, the Cohen (Priest) of Midian who is also the Choten (father-in-law) of Moses, produces a Torah-Root by which the Gentile Nations (as represented by Jethro and his family) can be grafted by marital covenant into the stock of the nation of Israel. This is a drash on the Gospel, for it is through Jesus the Son of God, the Biblical Messiah of Israel, that the whole world becomes spiritually grafted into the World-Wide Family of God through obedience to the Gospel by means of the spirit of adoption and by means of the reality of the new birth (Ephesians 2:12 with Romans 9-11 and Galatians 4). We are married to the Bridegroom Messiah of Israel as His Body and Bride through obedient faith in the Covenant in his Blood. This in turn is the fulfillment of the promise to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3 that through him all families of the earth shall be blessed.

There are very deep roots of spiritual and natural truth in these things. The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation is an exposition of these mysteries. The roots in the Torah find their flower and their fruit in our Lord Yeshua ha’Mashiach—our Lord Jesus the Messiah. He is the King of Israel. He is also the King of Kings over the entire world. And he is The Door into the Kingdom of God (Revelation 19:16; John 10:9).

It is a constant theme of these devotions that the Gospel is in the Torah and the Torah is in the Gospel. We never depart from this union for it is the fulness* of God’s revelation to the world of men.

[*fulness: Ephesians 1; Colossians 1-2]


May the Lord make real to you in your inner being that you are accepted in the beloved. You are a child of God by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Be strong in this confidence. In him you have inherited all things, and you have been made one in the Spirit of Messiah with the people of God of all ages, Jew and Gentile alike. In Messiah there is no difference, no division, no exclusion. You have equal standing before God with all the saints of all ages of the world.

Amen. Amen.

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