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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Why sittest thou thyself alone?—The emphatic word is “alone.” Why dost thou not, Jethro means, devolve a part of the duty upon others?Exodus 17:13, and causes would have accumulated during the journey from Elim.
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.
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.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?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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. 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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