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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Reiel', רְעוּאֵל , friend of God; Sept. ῾Ραγουήλ; A.V. Raguel [Numbers 10:29]), the name of three or four men.

1. A son of Esau by Bashemath (Genesis 36:4; Genesis 36:10; 1 Chronicles 1:35; 1 Chronicles 1:37); his four sons (Genesis 36:13) were princes, i.e. chiefs of the Edomites (Genesis 36:17). B.C. post 1963. (See ESAU).

2. A Midianitish priest and nomadic herdsman in the wilderness, to whom Moses fled from Egypt, and whose daughter Zipporah he married (Exodus 2:16 sq.); but in Exodus 3:1; Exodus 4:18, JETHRO is called father-in-law of Moses, and in 3:1 is made priest and herdsman. Various methods are suggested for meeting the difficulty:

(1.) Josephus (Ant. ii, 12,1) considers Reuel and Jethro as two names of one man. So Lengerke (Kenaan, i, 393) and Bertheau (Isr. Gesch. p. 242).

(2.) Aben-Ezra, followed by Rosenmiiller, understands by father in Exodus 2:18, grandfather.

(3.) Ewald (Isr. Gesch. ii, 14) thinks "Jethro son of" has fallen out of the text before Reuel in Exodus ii, 18.

(4.) Ranke (Pentat. ii, 8) understands the word chothen', חֹתֵו, rendered father-in-law, to mean brother-in-law, and compares the ambiguous use of the Greek γαμβρός . We must then suppose that Jethro had succeeded to the priesthood and flocks of his deceased father (Exodus 3:1).

(5.) Others find a double genealogical tradition (Hartmann, Pentat. p. 223 sq.; comp. De Wette, Einleit. ins A. T. p. 196). On this supposition the "compiler" must have been very careless. The third explanation derives no support from the fact that the Sept., in Exodus 2:16, twice mentions Jethro as father of seven daughters. The translators might have considered Reuel as the grandfather, and this would support No. 2. The fourth supposition is forced. If we must decide for any particular view, it seems simplest to understand grandfather for father (Exodus 2:18), since Reuel was the father of the house until Jethro acquired independence. (See HOBAB); (See RAGUEL).

3. Father of Eliasaph, the leader of the tribe of Gad at the time of the census at Sinai (Numbers 2:14). In the parallel passages (Numbers 1:14; Numbers 7:42; Numbers 7:47; Numbers 10:20) the name is given DEUEL (See DEUEL) (q.v.).

4. Son of Ibnijah, father of Shephatiah (1 Chronicles 9:8), of the tribe of Benjamin. B.C. ante 1618.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Reuel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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