Exodus 18:26
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.

King James Bible
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

American Standard Version
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they judged the people at all times: and whatsoever was of greater difficulty they referred to him, and they judged the easier cases only.

English Revised Version
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

Webster's Bible Translation
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

Exodus 18:26 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The next day Jethro saw how Moses was occupied from morning till evening in judging the people, who brought all their disputes to him, that he might settle them according to the statutes of God. על עמד: as in Genesis 18:8. The people came to Moses "to seek or inquire of God" (Genesis 18:15), i.e., to ask for a decision from God: in most cases, this means to inquire through an oracle; here it signifies to desire a divine decision as to questions in dispute. By judging or deciding the cases brought before him, Moses made known to the people the ordinances and laws of God. For every decision was based upon some law, which, like all true justice here on earth, emanated first of all from God. This is the meaning of Genesis 18:16, and not, as Knobel supposes, that Moses made use of the questions in dispute, at the time they were decided, as good opportunities for giving laws to the people. Jethro condemned this plan (Genesis 18:18.) as exhausting, wearing out (נבל lit., to fade away, Psalm 37:2), both for Moses and the people: for the latter, inasmuch as they not only got wearied out through long waiting, but, judging from Genesis 18:23, very often began to take the law into their own hands on account of the delay in the judicial decision, and so undermined the well-being of the community at large; and for Moses, inasmuch as the work was necessarily too great for him, and he could not continue for any length of time to sustain such a burden alone (Genesis 18:18). The obsolete form of the inf. const. עשׂהוּ for עשׂתו is only used here, but is not without analogies in the Pentateuch. Jethro advised him (Genesis 18:19.) to appoint judged from the people for all the smaller matters in dispute, so that in future only the more difficult cases, which really needed a superior or divine decision, would be brought to him that he might lay them before God. "I will give thee counsel, and God be with thee (i.e., help thee to carry out this advice): Be thou to the people האלהים מוּל, towards God," i.e., lay their affairs before God, take the place of God in matters of judgment, or, as Luther expresses it, "take charge of the people before God." To this end, in the first place, he was to instruct the people in the commandments of God, and their own walk and conduct (הזהיר with a double accusative, to enlighten, instruct; שדרך the walk, the whole behaviour; מעשׂה particular actions); secondly, he was to select able men (חיל אנשׁי men of moral strength, 1 Kings 1:52) as judges, men who were God-fearing, sincere, and unselfish (gain-hating), and appoint them to administer justice to the people, by deciding the simpler matters themselves, and only referring the more difficult questions to him, and so to lighten his own duties by sharing the burden with these judges. מעליך הקל (Genesis 18:22) "make light of (that which lies) upon thee." If he would do this, and God would command him, he would be able to stand, and the people would come to their place, i.e., to Canaan, in good condition (בּשׁלום). The apodosis cannot begin with וצוּך, "then God will establish thee," for צוּה never has this meaning; but the idea is this, "if God should preside over the execution of the plan proposed."

Exodus 18:26 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

at all

Exodus 18:14,22 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...

the hard causes

Exodus 18:15,22 And Moses said to his father in law, Because the people come to me to inquire of God...

Deuteronomy 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke...

1 Kings 3:16-28 Then came there two women, that were harlots, to the king, and stood before him...

1 Kings 10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.

Cross References
Exodus 18:22
And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.

Deuteronomy 1:17
You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.'

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