8 While the Israelites were camped at Rephidim, soldiers of Amalek came and attacked them. 9 Moses called for a young leader named Joshua.
Moses (to Joshua): Select some of our best men, and go fight against the soldiers of Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand at the crest of that hill overlooking the battlefield with God’s staff in my hand.
10 Joshua did exactly as Moses had instructed him to do. He gathered the strongest men he could find and fought against the soldiers of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of the hill.
11 It happened that whenever Moses raised his hand, the battle went well for Israel; but whenever he lowered his hand to rest, Amalek began to win. 12 When Moses became too tired to hold his hands up any longer, Aaron and Hur took a stone and sat him down on it. Then both men stood beside Moses, one on each side, holding his hands up and keeping them steady until sunset. 13 In the end, Joshua and the men of Israel defeated Amalek and his soldiers with the sword.
Eternal One (to Moses): 14 Write down what I say on a scroll as a memorial record of these events, and read it aloud so Joshua can hear: “I will erase all traces of the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
15 Then Moses constructed an altar and called it, “The Eternal Is My Battle Flag.”
Moses: 16 Because Amalek raised a defiant hand against the throne of the Eternal, He has promised to wage war against Amalek through future generations.
18 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, the priest of Midian, heard about all that God had done for Moses and His people Israel, and how the Eternal had rescued Israel out of Egypt. 2-3 Now Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and her two sons back to Jethro from Egypt, and Jethro had cared for them in his long absence. Moses had named one son Gershom, because as he said, “I have lived as an outsider in an unfamiliar land.”[a] 4 Moses had named the other son Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my helper, and He rescued me from Pharaoh’s sword.” 5 Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) brought Zipporah and her two sons into the desert to meet Moses when he and the people of Israel were camped near God’s mountain.
This place is special for Moses, for it was here that he first met God in the burning bush.
6 Jethro sent a servant with a message for Moses.
Jethro (to Moses): I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming out to see you and I’m bringing your wife and two sons with me.
7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. When he saw him, he bowed down before Jethro and kissed him. They each asked how the other was doing, and then they went into Moses’ tent.
8 Moses told Jethro the whole story. He told him everything that the Eternal had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians on behalf of Israel. He told him about all the misery and tribulations they had run into during their long journey. And then he told how the Eternal had rescued them. 9 Jethro was thrilled to hear of all the kindness the Eternal had shown Israel, especially how He rescued them from the powerful hand of the Egyptians.
Jethro: 10 Praise to the Eternal, for He rescued you from the powerful hand of the Egyptians, from the cruel grip of Pharaoh. He has liberated His people from beneath the harsh hand of their Egyptian masters. 11 Now I know with all my heart that the Eternal is greater than all gods because of the way He delivered His people when Egyptians in their arrogance abused them.[b]
12 Jethro then took a burnt offering and sacrifices and presented them to God. Aaron and the rest of the Israelite elders gathered to dedicate a meal to God with Moses’ father-in-law.
13 On the next day, Moses sat and served as judge, settling disputes among the people. Those with grievances surrounded him from sunrise to sundown waiting to present their case. 14 Jethro noticed all Moses was doing for the people.
Jethro: What do you think you are doing? Why are you the only one who is able to judge the disputes of all these people who surround you from sunrise to sundown?
Moses: 15 These people come to me seeking direction from God. 16 When two people are arguing and can’t resolve their differences, they come to me; and I settle the matter between them. This is one way I help God’s people understand His requirements and instructions.
Jethro: 17 What you are doing is not good for you. 18 The responsibility is just too much. You are going to wear yourself out. Not only that, you’re going to wear out the people too. You can’t do it all by yourself. 19 I am going to give you a piece of advice, so listen up and God will be with you. You should represent the people before God, and carry their concerns to Him. 20 Teach them God’s requirements and pass on His laws. Show them the right way to live and the kind of work they should be doing. 21 As for all these other duties you have taken on, choose competent leaders who fear God, love truth, despise dishonesty, and won’t take bribes. After you divide and subdivide all the people into various groups of a thousand, hundred, fifty, and ten, put the men of integrity you selected in charge over the various groups. 22 Let these righteous leaders be ready to judge the people whenever it is necessary. If there is some major problem, they can bring that to you. Otherwise, these select leaders ought to be able to handle the minor problems. This will be much easier for you, and they will help you carry this burden. 23 If you do what I advise and God directs you, then you will be able to handle the pressure. Not only that, but all these people standing around needing help, they will be able to return to their tents at peace.
24 Moses accepted Jethro’s advice and did all that he said. 25 He chose competent leaders and put them in charge of the community of Israel. He divided and subdivided the nation into groups of a thousand, hundred, fifty, and ten, and he appointed a leader over each group. 26 The righteous leaders judged the people whenever disputes or problems arose. Any major quarrel, they brought to Moses for his judgment; but every minor argument, they judged themselves.
27 When it was time for Jethro to return to his own land, Moses sent his father-in-law on his way.
19 The Israelites entered the desert of Sinai on the day the third new moon appeared after the Israelites left Egypt. 2 After departing from Rephidim, they entered into the desert of Sinai and set up camp out in the desert. The entire community of Israel camped right in front of the mountain of God.
3 Moses climbed the mountain to meet with God, and the Eternal spoke to him from the mountain.
Jethro is more than Moses’ father-in-law; he is also an insightful leader and a skilled counselor. He sees that what Moses is trying to do is counterproductive. Moses is wearing himself down in continual service to the people, and the people are frustrated with the many hours they must wait to have their cases heard by a single arbitrator. Jethro’s counsel advances the best possible solution for all concerned. Moses remains the sole spiritual leader of the emerging nation, the people’s representative to God, and the conduit of God’s wisdom to the people. But now he is to delegate his governing authority to a set of judges.
The legal and administrative system Jethro proposes is much like a military command with the masses of people divided and then subdivided. Those who are honest and capable hear the normal disputes that arise on a daily basis, much as they have observed Moses handling them in the past. The more difficult and unique issues are still dealt with by Moses. In this system, there is no difference between civil disputes and religious inquiries. This is an administration designed to handle all problems, secular or spiritual. Life, after all, doesn’t fall into nice, neat categories.
Eternal One: This is what I want you to say to the house of Jacob—to all the people of Israel: 4 “You are eyewitnesses of all that I did to the Egyptians. You saw how I snatched you from the bonds of slavery and carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now if you will hear My voice, obey what I say, and keep My covenant, then you—out of all the nations of the world—will be My treasured people. After all, the earth belongs to Me. 6 You will be My kingdom of priests, a nation holy and set apart.” Tell the Israelites exactly what I have told to you.
As a kingdom of priests, Israel exists to serve as agents of God’s blessing. The people are to bear witness to God’s character and carry to Him the world’s concerns.
7 Moses descended from the mountain and assembled the elders of Israel and told them everything the Eternal commanded him to say.
Israelites: 8 We will do everything the Eternal has told us to do!
Moses took what the people said back to the Eternal.
Eternal One (to Moses): 9 I will come to you in a thick cloud so that the people will be able to hear My voice when I speak to you. That way they will trust you forever.
Then Moses told the Eternal all that the people had said.
Eternal One (to Moses): 10-11 Go down to the people and get them ready to meet Me today and tomorrow by purifying themselves and washing their garments. By the third day, they need to be ready, for on that day I will descend from Mount Sinai so that everyone can see. 12 You are to set up boundaries all around the mountain and tell the people, “Be careful that you do not cross the boundaries and go up on the mountain or even touch the edge of it. If anyone so much as touches the mountain, he should be put to death. 13 No one is to touch the person or animal who crosses the boundary; stone them or shoot them with arrows but do not touch them. It doesn’t matter whether it is a human or an animal, it must be put to death.” But when they hear the long blast of the ram’s horn, then they are permitted to make their way up on the mountain.
14 Moses went down the mountain and purified all the people. They washed their clothes. 15 He gave instructions to everyone.
Moses: Be ready for the third day. Do not have sexual relations with your spouse between now and then.
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, a group of Pharisees met to consider new questions that might trip up Jesus. 35 A legal expert thought of one that would certainly stump Him.
Pharisees: 36 Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?
Jesus (quoting Scripture): 37 “Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.”[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is nearly as important, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 40 The rest of the law, and all the teachings of the prophets, are but variations on these themes.
41 Since the Pharisees were gathered together there, Jesus took the opportunity to pose a question of His own.
Jesus: 42 What do you think about the Anointed One? Whose Son is He?
Pharisees: But, of course, He is the Son of David.
Jesus: 43 Then how is it that David—whose words were surely shaped by the Spirit—calls Him “Lord”? For in his psalms David writes,
44 The Master said to my master
“Sit here at My right hand,
in the place of honor and power,
And I will gather Your enemies together,
lead them in on hands and knees,
and You will rest Your feet on their backs.”[c]
45 How can David call his own Son “Lord”?
46 No one had an answer to Jesus’ question. And from that day forward, no one asked Him anything.
23 Jesus spoke to His disciples and to the crowds that had gathered around.
Jesus with the Pharisees listening uses them as an example of the pious but truly unrighteous. He calls the people to mind the Pharisees’ words, not their examples, because they talk about righteousness and faithfulness, but they are a faithless and unrighteous crew.
Jesus: 2 The Pharisees and the scribes occupy the seat of Moses. 3 So you should do the things they tell you to do—but don’t do the things they do. 4 They heap heavy burdens upon their neighbors’ backs, and they prove unwilling to do anything to help shoulder the load. 5 They are interested, above all, in presentation: they wrap their heads and arms in the accoutrements of prayer, they cloak themselves with flowing tasseled prayer garments, 6 they covet the seats of honor at fine banquets and in the synagogue, 7 and they love it when people recognize them in the marketplace, call them “Teacher,” and beam at them.
8 But you: do not let anyone call you “Rabbi,” that is, “Teacher.” For you are all brothers, and you have only one teacher, the Anointed One. 9 Indeed, do not call anyone on earth “Father,” for you have only one father, and He is in heaven. 10 Neither let anyone call you “leader,” for you have one leader—the Anointed One. 11 If you are recognized at all, let it be for your service. Delight in the one who calls you servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
7 I cannot shout any louder. Eternal One—hear my cry
and respond with Your grace.
8 The prodding of my heart leads me to chase after You.
I am seeking You, Eternal One—don’t retreat from me.
9 You have always answered my call.
Don’t hide from me now.
Don’t give up on me in anger at Your servant.
You have always been there for me.
Don’t throw me to the side and forget me,
my God and only salvation.
10 My father and mother have deserted me,
yet the Eternal will take me in.
11 O Eternal, show me Your way,
shine Your light brightly on this path, and make it level for me,
for my enemies are lurking in the recesses and ravines along the way.
12 They are watching—hoping to seize me.
Do not release me to their desires or surrender me to their will!
Liars are standing against me,
breathing out cruel lies hoping that I will die.
13 I will move past my enemies with this one, sure hope:
that with my own eyes, I will see the goodness of the Eternal
in the land of the living.
14 Please answer me: Don’t give up.
Wait for the Eternal in expectation, and be strong.
Again, wait for the Eternal.
27 Can you carry fire right next to your body
and keep your clothes from burning?
28 Can you walk over fiery coals
and keep your feet from blistering?
29 Take another man’s wife, and you will find out—
whoever touches her will be found guilty.
30 People don’t despise a thief
who only steals to fill his hunger;
31 Still if they catch him, he must repay seven times over—
he could end up losing everything he owns!
32 By contrast only a fool would commit adultery
since by his action he loses not only his possessions but also his own life.
33 He will suffer injury and be disgraced;
dishonor will leave a permanent mark on his life.
34 For jealousy sparks a husband’s rage—
when he gets his revenge, he’ll show no mercy.
35 He will not be paid off or appeased;
no bribe or gift will set things right.