Exodus 18:16 MEANING

Exodus 18:16
Verse 16. - I judge... and I do make them know the statutes of God. As the israelites were, up to this time, without any code of written laws, Moses took the opportunity furnished by such cases as came before him, to lay down principles of law, and enjoin them upon the people; thus making them to know the statutes of God and his eternal unwritten laws. Such a practice would not have been necessary after the giving of the law on Mount Sinai; and its existence at the time of Jethro's visit helps to fix that visit as occurring before the giving of the law.

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.When they have a matter, they come unto me,.... This is the other thing he did for them, as the above writer observes; which being last mentioned, he speaks of first, as follows, meaning that when there was a matter in difference between two persons or more, and they could not agree upon it among themselves, then they brought it to him to be heard and decided:

and I judge between one and another; hear what they have to say on both sides, and then judge which is in the right and which is in the wrong, and determine what is to be done, according to the laws of God or according to the rules of justice and equity:

and I do make them know the statutes of God and his laws; this relates to the first thing, their coming to him to inquire of God, what is his mind and will, or what he would have them do; and in order to this, and in answer to their request, he instructed them in the laws of God, both civil and religious: this is made use of by some, to prove that Jethro's coming to Moses was after the law was given: but this does not necessarily follow, because Moses, by a divine impulse, might be directed immediately to make known to the people what was the will and mind of God, with respect to any particular case they inquired about; and rather this seems to furnish out an argument to the contrary, since, if the laws and statutes of God had yet been given on Mount Sinai, the people could not have been ignorant of them, and so needed not such daily information and instruction from Moses.

Courtesy of Open Bible