Exodus 18:7
And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Moses went out . . . And did obeisance.—Oriental etiquette required the going forth to meet an honoured guest (Genesis 18:2; Genesis 19:1, &c). The obeisance was wholly voluntary, and marks the humility of Moses, who, now that he was the prince of his nation, might well have required Jethro to bow down to him.

And kissed him.—Kissing is a common form of salutation in the East, even between persons who are in no way related. Herodotus says of the Persians: “When they meet each other in the streets, you may know if the persons meeting are of equal rank by the following token: if they are, instead of speaking they kiss each other on the lips. In the case where one is a little inferior to the other, the kiss is given on the cheek” (Book i. 134). (Comp. 2Samuel 15:5; 2Samuel 19:39; 2Samuel 20:9; Matthew 26:48-49; Acts 20:37, &c.; and for the continuance of the custom to the present day, see the collection of instances given in the article Kiss, in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii., p. 46.)

They asked each other of their welfare.—Heb., wished peace to each other—exchanged, that is, the customary salutation, “Peace be with you.”

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.Asked each other of their welfare - Addressed each other with the customary salutation, "Peace be unto you." 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 [20]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. Of their welfare, Heb. of their peace, i.e. prosperity and all happiness, which also they wished one to the other, as this phrase implies. See 1 Samuel 10:4 Psalm 122:6.

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.

And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. Moses receives his father-in-law with the usual Oriental etiquette.

did obeisance] lit. bowed himself down, in Eastern fashion: cf. Genesis 23:7; Genesis 23:12; Genesis 33:3; Genesis 33:6-7; Genesis 42:6, &c.

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). Exodus 18:7When 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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