Exodus 18:23 MEANING

Exodus 18:23
(23) If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so.--A reference of the entire matter to God, before any final decision was made, is plainly indicated. Moses must have already had some mode of consulting God on any point which required to be settled, and obtaining an answer. Was it by the "Urim and Thummim"?

Thou shalt be able to endure.--Comp. Exodus 18:18, where the inability of Moses to endure, unless he made some change, was strongly asserted.

And all this people shall also go to their place in peace.--The people, i.e., will go on their way to Canaan peacefully and contentedly, without suffering the inconvenience to which they are now subject.

Verse 23. - And God command thee so. Jethro does not suppose that Moses will take his advice without further consultation. He assumes that the matter will be laid by Moses before God, and God's will learnt concerning it. The entire narrative supposes that there was some established means by which the Israelite leader could refer a matter to Jehovah and obtain a decision upon it. This can scarcely have been as yet the Urim and Thummim. Probably Moses held frequent communication with Jehovah by means of waking visions. Thou shalt be able to endure - i.e., "the work will not be too much for thee - thou wilt be able to bear it." This people shall also go to their place in peace. The "place" intended would seem to be Palestine. Keil supposes that the word "peace" is to be taken literally, and concludes from it that breaches of the peace had previously been frequent, the people having "often taken the law into their own hands on account of the delay in the judicial decision;" but this is to extract from the words more than they naturally signify. "In peace" means "cheerfully, contentedly." If the changes which he recommends are carried out, Jethro thinks that the people will make the rest of the journey to Canaan quietly and contentedly, without complaint or dissatisfaction.

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.If thou shall do this thing,.... Hearken to the advice given, and put it in execution, by choosing out of the people, and placing over them, judges qualified, as directed: and God command thee so; for he did not desire him to follow his advice any further than it appeared to be according to the will of God, which he doubted not he would inquire about; and if he found it was agreeable to it, and should pursue it:

then thou shall be able to endure; to continue in his office and post, and hold on for years to come, God granting him life and health; whereas otherwise, in all human probability, he must waste and wear away apace:

and all this people shall also go to their place in peace; having had their cases heard and tried, and their differences adjusted to satisfaction; and quick dispatch being made, they would return to their tents or places of abode in much peace of mind, and sit down contented with the determination made, and pleased that the lawsuit was not protracted to any unreasonable length of time. Jarchi interprets all this people, of Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the seventy elders that came with him, as if they by this means would be eased, and so pleased with it.

Courtesy of Open Bible