18 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard about all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, that 2 the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 3
2 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife Zipporah after he had sent her back, 3 and her two sons, one of whom was named Gershom (for Moses 4 had said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land”), 4 and the other Eliezer (for Moses had said, 5 “The God of my father has been my help 6 and delivered 7 me from the sword of Pharaoh”).
5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ 8 sons and his wife, came to Moses in the desert where he was camping by 9 the mountain of God. 10 6 He said 11 to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, along with your wife and her two sons with her.” 7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him; 12 they each asked about the other’s welfare, and then they went into the tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to Egypt for Israel’s sake, and all the hardship 13 that had come on them 14 along the way, and how 15 the Lord had delivered them.
9 Jethro rejoiced 16 because of all the good that the Lord had done for Israel, whom he had delivered from the hand of Egypt. 10 Jethro said, “Blessed 17 be the Lord who has delivered you from the hand of Egypt, and from the hand of Pharaoh, who has delivered the people from the Egyptians’ control! 18 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods, for in the thing in which they dealt proudly against them he has destroyed them.” 19 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought 20 a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, 21 and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat food 22 with the father-in-law of Moses before God.
13 On the next day 23 Moses sat to judge 24 the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this 25 that you are doing for the people? 26 Why are you sitting by yourself, and all the people stand around you from morning until evening?”
15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire 27 of God. 16 When they have a dispute, 28 it comes to me and I decide 29 between a man and his neighbor, and I make known the decrees of God and his laws.” 30
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What 31 you are doing is not good! 18 You will surely wear out, 32 both you and these people who are with you, for this is too 33 heavy a burden 34 for you; you are not able to do it by yourself. 19 Now listen to me, 35 I will give you advice, and may God be with you: You be a representative for the people to God, 36 and you bring 37 their disputes 38 to God; 20 warn 39 them of the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they must walk 40 and the work they must do. 41 21 But you choose 42 from the people capable men, 43 God-fearing, 44 men of truth, 45 those who hate bribes, 46 and put them over the people 47 as rulers 48 of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 They will judge 49 the people under normal circumstances, 50 and every difficult case 51 they will bring to you, but every small case 52 they themselves will judge, so that 53 you may make it easier for yourself, 54 and they will bear the burden 55 with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, 56 then you will be able 57 to endure, 58 and all these people 59 will be able to go 60 home 61 satisfied.” 62
24 Moses listened to 63 his father-in-law and did everything he had said. 25 Moses chose capable men from all Israel, and he made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 They judged the people under normal circumstances; the difficult cases they would bring 64 to Moses, but every small case they would judge themselves.
27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, 65 and so Jethro 66 went 67 to his own land. 68
19 In the third month after the Israelites went out 2 from the land of Egypt, on the very day, 3 they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they journeyed 4 from Rephidim, they came to the Desert of Sinai, and they camped in the desert; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 5
3 Moses 6 went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, “Thus you will tell the house of Jacob, and declare to the people 7 of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings 8 and brought you to myself. 9 5 And now, if you will diligently listen to me 10 and keep 11 my covenant, then you will be my 12 special possession 13 out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, 6 and you will be to me 14 a kingdom of priests 15 and a holy nation.’ 16 These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”
7 So Moses came and summoned the elders of Israel. He set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him, 8 and all the people answered together, “All that the Lord has commanded we will do!” 17 So Moses brought the words of the people back to the Lord.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come 18 to you in a dense cloud, 19 so that the people may hear when I speak with you and so that they will always believe in you.” 20 And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.
10 The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and sanctify them 21 today and tomorrow, and make them wash 22 their clothes 11 and be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You must set boundaries 23 for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed 24 to yourselves not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death! 13 No hand will touch him 25 – but he will surely be stoned or shot through, whether a beast or a human being; 26 he must not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast they may 27 go up on the mountain.”
14 Then Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. 15 He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day. Do not go near your wives.” 28
16 On 29 the third day in the morning there was thunder and lightning and a dense 30 cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a very loud 31 horn; 32 all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their place at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire, and its smoke went up like the smoke of a great furnace, 33 and the whole mountain shook 34 violently. 19 When the sound of the horn grew louder and louder, 35 Moses was speaking 36 and God was answering him with a voice. 37
20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain, and the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 The Lord said to Moses, “Go down and solemnly warn 38 the people, lest they force their way through to the Lord to look, and many of them perish. 39 22 Let the priests also, who approach the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break through 40 against them.”
23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people are not able to come up to Mount Sinai, because you solemnly warned us, 41 ‘Set boundaries for the mountain and set it apart.’” 42 24 The Lord said to him, “Go, get down, and come up, and Aaron with you, but do not let the priests and the people force their way through to come up to the Lord, lest he break through against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. 43