on Exodus 18 :27
And Moses let his father-in-law depart - But if this be the same transaction with that mentioned Numbers 10:29, etc., we find that it was with great reluctance that Moses permitted so able a counsellor to leave him; for, having the highest opinion of his judgment, experience, and discretion, he pressed him to stay with them, that he might be instead of eyes to them in the desert. But Jethro chose rather to return to his own country, where probably his family were so settled and circumstanced that they could not be conveniently removed, and it was more his duty to stay with them, to assist them with his counsel and advice, than to travel with the Israelites. Many others might be found that could be eyes to the Hebrews in the desert, but no man could be found capable of being a father to his family, but himself. It is well to labor for the public good, but our own families are the first claimants on our care, attention, and time. He who neglects his own household on pretense of laboring even for the good of the public, has surely denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
It is strange that after this we hear no more of Zipporah! Why is she forgotten? Merely because she was the wife of Moses; for he chose to conduct himself so that to the remotest ages there should be the utmost proofs of his disinterestedness. While multitudes or the families of Israel are celebrated and dignified, his own he writes in the dust. He had no interest but that of God and his people; to promote this, he employed his whole time and his uncommon talents. His body, his soul, his whole life, were a continual offering to God. They were always on the Divine altar; and God had from his creature all the praise, glory, and honor that a creature could possibly give. Like his great antitype, he went about doing good; and God was with him. The zeal of God's house consumed him, for in that house, in all its concerns, we have the testimony of God himself that he was faithful, Hebrews 3:2; and a higher character was never given, nor can be given of any governor, sacred or civil. He made no provision even for his own sons, Gershom and Eliezer; they and their families were incorporated with the Levites, 1 Chronicles 23:14; and had no higher employment than that of taking care of the tabernacle and the tent, Numbers 3:21-26, and merely to serve at the tabernacle and to carry burdens, Numbers 4:24-28. No history, sacred or profane, has been able to produce a complete parallel to the disinterestedness of Moses. This one consideration is sufficient to refute every charge of imposture brought against him and his laws. There never was an imposture in the world (says Dr. Prideaux, Letter to the Deists) that had not the following characters: -
1. It must always have for its end some carnal interest.
2. It can have none but wicked men for its authors.
3. Both of these must necessarily appear in the very contexture of the imposture itself.
4. That it can never be so framed, that it will not contain some palpable falsities, which will discover the falsity of all the rest.
5. That wherever it is first propagated, it must be done by craft and fraud.
6. That when entrusted to many persons, it cannot be long concealed.
1. The keenest-eyed adversary of Moses has never been able to fix on him any carnal interest. No gratification of sensual passions, no accumulation of wealth, no aggrandizement of his family or relatives, no pursuit of worldly honor, has ever been laid to his charge.
2. His life was unspotted, and all his actions the offspring of the purest benevolence.
3. As his own hands were pure, so were the hands of those whom he associated with himself in the work.
4. No palpable falsity has ever been detected in his writings, though they have for their subject the most complicate, abstruse, and difficult topics that ever came under the pen of man.
5. No craft, no fraud, not even what one of his own countrymen thought he might lawfully use, innocent guile, because he had to do with a people greatly degraded and grossly stupid, can be laid to his charge. His conduct was as open as the day; and though continually watched by a people who were ever ready to murmur and rebel, and industrious to find an excuse for their repeated seditious conduct, yet none could be found either in his spirit, private life, or public conduct.
6. None ever came after to say, "We have joined with Moses in a plot, we have feigned a Divine authority and mission, we have succeeded in our innocent imposture, and now the mask may be laid aside." The whole work proved itself so fully to be of God that even the person who might wish to discredit Moses and his mission, could find no ground of this kind to stand on. The ten plagues of Egypt, the passage of the Red Sea, the destruction of the king of Egypt and his immense host, the quails, the rock of Horeb, the supernatural supply by the forty years' manna, the continual miracle of the Sabbath, on which the preceding day's manna kept good, though, if thus kept, it became putrid on any other day, together with the constantly attending supernatural cloud, in its threefold office of a guide by day, a light by night, and a covering from the ardours of the sun, all invincibly proclaim that God brought out this people from Egypt; that Moses was the man of God, chosen by him, and fully accredited in his mission; and that the laws and statutes which he gave were the offspring of the wisdom and goodness of Him who is the Father of Lights, the fountain of truth and justice, and the continual and unbounded benefactor of the human race.
on Exodus 18 :27
Into his own land - Midian Exodus 2:15.
on Exodus 18 :27
18:27 He went into his own land - It is supposed the Kenites mentioned 1Sam 15:6, were the posterity of Jethro, (compare Jud 1:16,) and they are taken under special protection, for the kindness their ancestor shewed to Israel.