Shemot (Exodus): Yitro > Ch 18

Moses’s father in law, Jethro visits Moses

  • Jethro (Moses’s father in law, the chieftain of Midian) heard of what G-d has done for Moses & the children of Israel.
  • Jethro brought Moses’s wife, Zipporah and his sons Gershom & Eliezer to him. Moses named his first son Gershom (I was a stranger in a foreign land) and his second son Eliezer (The God of my father came to my aid and rescued me from Pharaoh's sword)
  • Jethro was very happy about all the good that G-d had done for Israel. Jethro said: "Blessed is the Lord, Who has rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, Who has rescued the people from beneath the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the deities, for with the thing that they plotted, [He came] upon them." Moses and Jethro sacrificed burnt offering[s] and [peace] offerings to G-d

Jethro teaches Moses how to setup a hierarchy of judges to decide legal matters of the people

  • Moses judged people from morning until evening. Jethro told him that he can not do it alone. Jethro told him to choose G-d fearing men who hate monetary gain and setup a hierarchy of judges as follows:
    • leaders over thousands
    • leaders over hundreds
    • leaders over fifties
    • leaders over tens
    • Moses would judge the most difficult cases
  • Jethro returned to Midian.

Rashi Commentary

  • leaders over thousands They were six hundred officers for six hundred thousand [men].
  • leaders over hundreds They were six thousand.
  • leaders over fifties Twelve thousand.
  • and leaders over tens Sixty thousand.