Exodus 18:14
And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that you do to the people? why sit you yourself alone, and all the people stand by you from morning to even?
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(14) Why sittest thou thyself alone?—The emphatic word is “alone.” Why dost thou not, Jethro means, devolve a part of the duty upon others?

18:13-27 Here is the great zeal and the toil of Moses as a magistrate. Having been employed to redeem Israel out of the house of bondage, he is a further type of Christ, that he is employed as a lawgiver and a judge among them. If the people were as quarrelsome one with another as they were with God, no doubt Moses had many causes brought before him. This business Moses was called to; it appears that he did it with great care and kindness. The meanest Israelite was welcome to bring his cause before him. Moses kept to his business from morning to night. Jethro thought it was too much for him to undertake alone; also it would make the administration of justice tiresome to the people. There may be over-doing even in well-doing. Wisdom is profitable to direct, that we may neither content ourselves with less than our duty, nor task ourselves beyond our strength. Jethro advised Moses to a better plan. Great men should not only study to be useful themselves, but contrive to make others useful. Care must be taken in the choice of the persons admitted into such a trust. They should be men of good sense, that understood business, and that would not be daunted by frowns or clamours, but abhorred the thought of a bribe. Men of piety and religion; such as fear God, who dare not to do a base thing, though they could do it secretly and securely. The fear of God will best fortify a man against temptations to injustice. Moses did not despise this advice. Those are not wise, who think themselves too wise to be counselled.From the morning unto the evening - It may be assumed as at least probable that numerous cases of difficulty arose out of the division of the spoil of the Amalekites Exodus 17:13, and causes would have accumulated during the journey from Elim. 13-26. on the morrow … Moses sat to judge the people, &c.—We are here presented with a specimen of his daily morning occupations; and among the multifarious duties his divine legation imposed, it must be considered only a small portion of his official employments. He appears in this attitude as a type of Christ in His legislative and judicial characters.

the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening, &c.—Governors in the East seat themselves at the most public gate of their palace or the city, and there, amid a crowd of applicants, hear causes, receive petitions, redress grievances, and adjust the claims of contending parties.

No text from Poole on this verse. And when Moses's father in law saw all that he did to the people,.... Or for them (q); for their information and instruction in the laws of God, and for the decision of cases brought before him, according to them; and what a deal of business was on his hands, and he went through for the good of the people:

he said, what is this thing that thou doest to the people? this question he put, not as being ignorant what he did, he saw what he did, and understood it full well, but this he said to lead on to some conversation upon this head:

why sittest thou thyself alone? no other judge upon the bench with him to assist him, to take it by turns, and to relieve and ease him:

and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? not being able to get their causes heard and tried, there being so many of them; and therefore some were obliged to wait all day long, before they could have their business done, which was both fatiguing to him and them.

(q) "propter populum" Vatablus.

And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
Verse 14. - Why sittest thou thyself alone etc. A perverse ingenuity has discovered that the emphatic words in this passage are "sittest" and "stand," Jethro having blamed Moses for humiliating the people by requiring them to stand up while he himself sat! But the context makes it abundantly clear that what Jethro really blames, is Moses sitting alone and judging the whole people single-handed. 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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