|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:7-12 Conversation concerning God's wondrous works is good, and edifies. Jethro not only rejoiced in the honour done to his son-in-law, but in all the goodness done to Israel. Standers-by were more affected with the favours God had showed to Israel, than many were who received them. Jethro gave the glory to Israel's God. Whatever we have the joy of, God must have the praise. They joined in a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Mutual friendship is sanctified by joint worship. It is very good for relations and friends to join in the spiritual sacrifice of prayer and praise, as those that meet in Christ. This was a temperate feast; they did eat bread, manna. Jethro must see and taste that bread from heaven, and though a gentile, is welcome: the gentiles are welcomed to Christ the Bread of life.
Verse 7. - Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. Oriental ideas of politeness require such a movement in case of an honoured or even of a welcome visitor (see Genesis 18:2; Genesis 19:1; Genesis 32:6; Genesis 33:1; Luke 15:20; etc.). It was evidently the intention of Moses to receive Jethro with all possible marks of honour and respect. He not only went out to meet him, but did obeisance to him, as to a superior. They asked each other of their welfare. Rather "exchanged salutations;" addressed each other mutually with the customary phrase "Peace he unto you." Came into the tent - i.e., went together into the tent of Moses, which had been already glanced at in the word "encamped" (verse 5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses went out to meet his father in law,.... Out of the camp, at least out of his tent: the Targum of Jonathan says, from under the cloud of glory; how far he went is not certain, nor material to know: this was an instance of his great humility and modesty, and was doing Jethro a great deal of honour; that one who was in such great dignity, at the head of such a vast body of people, and superior to him both in natural and spiritual abilities, yet condescended to go forth in person to meet him, when he might have sent a guard of his men to escort him to his camp, which would have been honour sufficient; and it is not said he went out to meet his wife and children; for Aben Ezra says it was not usual for honourable men so to do:
and did obeisance: to Jethro, bowed unto him and worshipped him in a civil way, after the manner of the eastern nations, who used to make very low bows to whom they paid civil respect:
and kissed him; not to make him a proselyte, as the above Targum, nor in token of subjection, but of affection and friendship; it being usual for relations and friends to kiss each other at meeting or parting:
and they asked each other of their welfare; or "peace" (n); of their prosperity and happiness, temporal and spiritual, of their peace, inward and outward, and of the bodily health of them and their families:
and they came into the tent; the Targum of Jonathan says,"into the tabernacle of the house of doctrine,''or school room; which is not likely, since Jethro was a man well instructed in divine things, and needed not to be put to school; and if he did, it can hardly be thought that as soon as Moses met him he should set about the instruction of him; but into his tent where he dwelt; that, as Aben Ezra says, which was the known tent of Moses, though it is not expressly said his tent.
(n) "ad pacem", Montanus; "de pace", Munster, Fagius, Drusius, Piscator; so Ainsworth.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, &c.—Their salutations would be marked by all the warm and social greetings of Oriental friends (see on Ex 4:27)—the one going out to "meet" the other, the "obeisance," the "kiss" on each side of the head, the silent entrance into the tent for consultation; and their conversation ran in the strain that might have been expected of two pious men, rehearsing and listening to a narrative of the wonderful works and providence of God.
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