Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Exodus 18

Verse 1


The relation of an event in the family affairs of Moses, is introduced in this Chapter. The Reader will recollect, that when Moses with his wife Zipporah and his two sons were at the inn in their way to Egypt, as related in Exodus 4:0 , it is said that the Lord met him. It is probable at this time it was that Moses sent back his wife and children to her father: while he proceeded to execute the commission he had received from the Lord. Here therefore in this Chapter, that part of the subject concerning Moses' household is revived. Jethro, his father-in-law, brings into the wilderness to Moses, his wife and children: their mutual pleasure at meeting: and some other circumstances of their conduct and conversation are related.

Exodus 18:1

Such wonderful events as had distinguished the Lord's bringing out Israel from Egypt, no doubt had been much spoken of both far and near. Psalms 44:1 .

Verse 2

Exodus 4:24-27 . See the gospel sense of this: Matthew 19:29 .

Verse 3

I think it an observation worth remark, how fond the Old Testament saints were of giving names to their children which became expressive of mercies received. It were to be wished that New Testament believers more generally adopted the same plan. Gershom signifieth a stranger. Hence David, Psalms 39:12 .

Verse 4

Eliezer, that is, my God is my help. Psalms 46:5 .

Verse 5

This mount of God was Horeb: 1 Kings 19:8 .

Verse 6

Probably this was said by a messenger: Genesis 32:20 .

Verses 7-8

The Reader may make applications of these things in a spiritual sense to his own state; and what a volume hath everyone to unfold to a friend after a long separation! Psalms 66:16 .

Verses 9-11

Jethro though a Midianite, could not but be led to discover the hand of God in guiding Israel. The church makes the same beautiful observation at the close of a long discourse of divine mercies. Psalms 107:43 .

Verse 12

Observe the early and general idea of sacrifices even before the giving of the law. Doth not this evidently imply that from the first, the idea was alive in the human mind of some mode of expiation. See Genesis 3:21 with Hebrews 10:5 and Revelation 13:8 .

Verse 13

Reader! do not overlook in this feature of Moses, one of the characters of the Lord Jesus, whom Moses prefigured. John 5:22-23 .

Verses 14-16

Reader, carry on in your mind the typical representation here made of the Lord Jesus, remember those sweet scriptures, John 14:6; John 14:6 .

Verses 17-20

Deuteronomy 1:9 .

Verse 21

2 Samuel 23:3 .

Verses 22-23

Acts 6:3-4 .

Verses 24-26

Acts 14:23 .

Verse 27

To understand this account, the Reader should consult Numbers 10:29 . It is probable that Jethro and Hobab mean one and the same person. If not, perhaps Hobab was the son of Jethro whom his father left with Moses, when he himself; as this verse relates, returned to his home. And that Hobab, as the passage in the book of Numbers records, meant to do the same. But this is uncertain; for the word father-in-law will equally suit brother-in-law. But spiritually considered, all will go back who are not called by divine grace. Reader! may your language and mine be like the apostle's: John 6:68-69 .


While so much is said in this Chapter of the Lord's watching over his people, may neither the writer nor the reader of this Commentary, want grace to watch over the Lord's dealings towards us. Doubtless there is enough in every man's life, who with an eye of faith is enabled to trace the wonderful history, to look back and see the path we have come thickly strewed with mercies: in which God hath not left himself without witness of his faithfulness and truth.

In all our enjoyments of friendly intercourse with one another, like those of Moses with his father-in-law, let us be very careful to see to it, that it be a friendship formed in Jesus; cemented by his blood, and kept up by his grace. Then we shall find it indeed to be a sanctified friendship, there will be no going back from one another, or at least, if absent in body we shall be present in spirit. And being knit together in the sweet fellowship of the saints, it will outlive all the short and dying connections of this world, and form an everlasting union which cannot be broken in the realms of endless life.

Reader! may you and I learn from the conversation between Moses and his father-in-law, how sweet and edifying that converse is, which hath the Lord and his mercies for the chief topic of discourse! And surely, if the heart of a Midianite could find subject of holy joy in the relation of God's goodness to Israel, well may we find cause to bless a God in Christ for what he hath done for our souls.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.