Exodus 18:12
And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Jethro . . . took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God.—Jethro had brought sacrifices with him, and now offered them in token of his thankfulness for God’s mercies towards himself and towards his kinsman. He occupied a position similar to that of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18), holding a priesthood of the most primitive character, probably as patriarch of his tribe, its head by right of primogeniture. As Abraham acknowledged rightly the priesthood of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:19; Hebrews 7:2-9), so Moses and Aaron rightly acknowledged that of Jethro. They markedly indicated their acceptance of his priestly character by participation in the sacrificial meal, which, as a matter of course, followed his sacrifice. They “ate bread with Moses’ father in law” (or rather, brother-in-law) “before God.”

Exodus 18:12. And Jethro took a burnt-offering for God — And probably offered it himself, for he was a priest in Midian, and a worshipper of the true God, and the priesthood was not yet settled in Israel. And they did eat bread before God — Soberly, thankfully, in the fear of God: and their talk was such as became saints. Thus we must eat and drink to the glory of God, as those that believe God’s eye is upon us.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.A burnt offering and sacrifices - This verse clearly shows that Jethro was recognized as a priest of the true God, and is of great importance in its bearings upon the relation between the Israelites and their congeners, and upon the state of religion among the descendants of Abraham. 12. Jethro … took a burnt offering—This friendly interview was terminated by a solemn religious service—the burnt offerings were consumed on the altar, and the sacrifices were peace offerings, used in a feast of joy and gratitude at which Jethro, as priest of the true God, seems to have presided, and to which the chiefs of Israel were invited. This incident is in beautiful keeping with the character of the parties, and is well worthy of the imitation of Christian friends when they meet in the present day. Took a burnt-offering, i.e. gave, or offered; as that verb is used Psalm 68:18, compared with Ephesians 4:8; also Exodus 25:2. Which he did, that he might publicly testify both his embracing of the true religion, and his thankfulness to God for the great deliverance given to his people, wherein also himself and family were concerned. And he took or offered these, not immediately, or by himself, (which would have seemed a presumptuous and unwarrantable action for a stranger to undertake in the church of Israel,) but by those who were appointed to do it; in which sense David is said to have sacrificed, 2 Samuel 24:25, and Solomon, 1 Kings 8:63, and all those who brought their offerings to the priests to offer for them.

A burnt offering and sacrifices, to wit, of thanksgiving, as is expressed Exodus 24:5; for part of these the offerers, with others, did eat, Leviticus 7:15, whereas no man might eat of the burnt-offerings, Leviticus 1:9.

To eat bread, i.e. to feast together of the remainders of the sacrifices.

Before God; either before the cloudy pillar; or rather, before the altar, and in the place of public worship; for some such place undoubtedly they had, though the tabernacle was not yet built; and that was the place appointed for such feasts. See Deu 12:7 27:7 1 Chronicles 29:21 Psalm 116:17. And Jethro, Moses's father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God,.... The burnt offering, which was either of the flock or of the herd, was wholly consumed by fire, from whence it had its name; the peace offering for thanksgiving, which seemed to be meant by the sacrifices here, the flesh of them were to be eaten, Leviticus 7:15 and now a feast was kept, as the latter part of the verse shows: whether Jethro brought cattle along with him for such a purpose, and so "gave" (p) or "offered" them for a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; as the word for took may be rendered, one and the same word signifying both to give and take, see Psalm 68:18, compared with Ephesians 4:8 or whether, with the leave of Moses and the children of Israel, he took them out of their flocks and herds, it matters not, since this is only observed to show Jethro's devotion to God, and the grateful sense he had of the divine goodness to Israel; and since he was a priest of Midian, as he is generally said to be, and a priest of the most high God, as Melchizedek was, he might offer sacrifices; for it does not appear that he delivered them to others to be offered, or that these were slain by Aaron; for, though he is after mentioned, yet not as a sacrificer, but as a guest; and perhaps this might be before he and his sons were separated to the priest's office, or, at least, before they had entered upon it; nor is this mention of a burnt offering and sacrifices any proof of Jethro's meeting Moses after the giving of the law, since, before that, sacrifices were in use, and Jethro being a grandchild of Abraham, might have learnt the use of them from him:

and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses's father in law, before God; the tents of Moses being on the east side of the tabernacle, as Aben Ezra says, in which was the mercy seat and cherubim, between which the divine Majesty was; but there is no need to suppose that the tabernacle was now built, for this tent of Moses might be placed before or near the pillar of cloud in which Jehovah was; or the sense may only be, that they ate their food in the presence of God, in the fear of the Lord, with gladness and singleness of heart, as good men do; and especially as this was an eucharistic sacrifice unto God they partook of, Aaron and the elders came out of a civil respect to Jethro, to take a meal with him, as well as to join with him in a religious action: the bread they ate was, no doubt, the manna, which Jethro, though a Midianite, yet a descendant of Abraham, and a good man, partook of, and is put for the whole repast, the flesh of the sacrifices and what else were eaten: no mention is made of Moses, nor was there any need of it, as Aben Ezra observes, it being his tent in which they were: the Targum of Jonathan adds,"Moses stood and ministered before them;''and so says Jarchi; which is not very probable, it being not agreeable to the dignity of his station and office.

(p) "acceptumque obtulit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Fagius, Drusius.

And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law {f} before God.

(f) They ate in the place, where the sacrifice was offered: for part was burnt, and the rest eaten.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. a burnt offering and sacrifices] see on Exodus 20:24.

to eat bread] i.e. to take part in the sacred meal accompanying the sacrifice: the ‘sacrifice’ here meant being of the nature of the later ‘peace-offering,’ an essential part of which was the accompanying sacred meal, in which the worshipper and his friends partook, and by which they entered symbolically into communion with the Deity (Leviticus 7:15; Deuteronomy 12:7; Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 27:7). For other cases in which ‘eating’ (sometimes accompanied by ‘drinking’) is to be understood similarly of the sacred meal, see Genesis 31:54; Exodus 24:11; Exodus 32:6; Exodus 34:15 (in the worship of heathen gods: so Numbers 25:2, Psalm 106:28); 1 Samuel 9:13; Psalm 22:26; Psalm 22:29.

before God] i.e. before the altar, presupposed by the sacrifices.Verse 12. - Jethro took a burnt offering. Or "brought a burnt offering;" as the same verb is rendered in Exodus 25:2. It is not distinctly related that he offered the victim; but as no other offerer is mentioned, and as he was a priest (Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:1), we may assume that he did so. Moses, Aaron, and the elders, partook of the sacrificial meal, regarding the whole rite as one legitimately performed by a duly qualified person, and so as one in which they could properly participate. Jethro, like Melchisedek (Genesis 14:18), was recognised as a priest of the true God, though it would seem that the Midianites generally were, a generation later, idolaters (Numbers 25:18; Numbers 31:16). To eat bread... before God. This expression designates the feast upon a sacrifice, which was the universal custom of ancient nations, whether Egyptians, Assyrians, Phenicians, Persians, Greeks, or Romans. Except in the case of the "whole burnt offering" (ὁλοκαύτωμα), parts only of the animals were burnt, the greater portion of the meat being consumed, with bread, at a meal, by the offerer and his friends and relatives

CHAPTER 18:13-26 When Jethro announced his arrival to Moses ("he said," sc., through a messenger), he received his father-in-law with the honour due to his rank; and when he had conducted him to his tent, he related to him all the leading events connected with the departure from Egypt, and all the troubles they had met with on the way, and how Jehovah had delivered them out of them all. Jethro rejoiced at this, and broke out in praise to Jehovah, declaring that Jehovah was greater than all gods, i.e., that He had shown Himself to be exalted above all gods, for God is great in the eyes of men only when He makes known His greatness through the display of His omnipotence. He then gave a practical expression to his praise by a burnt-offering and slain-offering, which he presented to God. The second כּי in Exodus 18:11 is only an emphatic repetition of the first, and אשׁר בּדּבר is not dependent upon ידעתּי, but upon גּדול nopu tub, or upon הגדּיל understood, which is to be supplied in thought after the second כּי: "That He has proved Himself great by the affair in which they (the Egyptians) dealt proudly against them (the Israelites)." Compare Nehemiah 9:10, from which it is evident, that to refer these words to the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea as a punishment for their attempt to destroy the Israelites in the water (Exodus 1:22) is too contracted an interpretation; and that they rather relate to all the measures adopted by the Egyptians for the oppression and detention of the Israelites, and signify that Jehovah had shown Himself great above all gods by all the plagues inflicted upon Egypt down to the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.
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