Jethro's Visit

At that time, Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, heard of the miracles G‑d had wrought for the children of Israel, and he decided to visit Moses in the desert. He took his daughter Zipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, and brought them to Moses. Having been informed by Jethro that he was coming and bringing with him Moses' wife and children, Moses, accompanied by the entire community of Israel, went out to greet them. Jethro, a man of great experience and much knowledge, was very much impressed by Moses' account of the historic events that had occurred to the children of Israel.

Courts of Justice

Jethro was likewise impressed by the law and order that prevailed in the camp of Israel, though they had been mere slaves a little while before. However, he criticized Moses for taking upon himself the entire burden of dispensing justice in all matters of argument and dispute that arose in the large community of the children of Israel, numbering several million souls. He suggested that Moses institute a system of judicial organization, wherein there were to be smaller and larger courts. There were to be appointed judges and officers of different rank-officers of a thousand, officers of 100, of 50, and of 10. They were to shoulder the burden of straightening out all major and minor disputes of the children of Israel. Only matters of far-reaching importance were to come before Moses himself. This suggestion of Jethro was well taken, and immediately put into effect.

Jethro did not stay long with Moses and the children of Israel. He returned to Midian to preach about the greatness of the G‑d of Israel among the heathens. His descendants, the Kainites, remained friendly towards the Jewish people for many centuries.