“And Jethro Rejoiced for All the Goodness Which the Lord Had Done to Israel”

Exodus 18:7–12

7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
8 And Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them.
9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
10 And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
12 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God.

Anthony Rivera Jr. said:

“As Jethro approaches the camp of Israel, Moses goes forth to meet him. When they meet, Moses, who had challenged Pharaoh and parted the Red Sea, bows himself down and kisses him [see Exodus 18:7]. Whether he kissed Jethro’s feet or arose and kissed his face is not clear from the text. Although this greeting is the traditional, formal, ancient Near Eastern custom, it may also display Moses’s great personal respect for his father-in-law’s authority and their previous relationship. Jethro is now the guest in Moses’s camp, although Moses has returned to Midian and Jethro’s territory. Within his tent, which would represent the local seat of the tribal leader, Moses reports to Jethro the wonderful works the Lord has performed by his hand [see Exodus 18:8]. As a result, ‘Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel’ [Exodus 18:9]. The elder, Midianite priest then blesses the Lord and testifies: ‘Now I know that the Lord [Jehovah] is greater than all gods’ [Exodus 18:11]. Employing words similar to the Lord’s when He declared to Abraham, ‘Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me’ [Genesis 22:12], Jethro utters a confirmation (not the original acquisition) of his testimony and a proclamation to all that Jehovah is the only true God.

“In the next scene Jethro officiates over a burnt-offering sacrifice and sacred meal. ‘And Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God’ [Exodus 18:12]. It is Jethro, not Moses or Aaron, who presides over (and perhaps demonstrates?) the legitimate order of sacrifice in the desert. As a typical Near Eastern host, it would have been normal for Moses to provide a sacrificial meal in honor of his guest, just as Jethro had done earlier for Moses [see Exodus 2:20], as Jacob had done for Laban [see Genesis 31:54–55], as Joseph had done for his brothers in Egypt [see Genesis 43:25], as Job had done for his relatives [see Job 42:11], and as the woman of Shunem later did for the prophet Elisha [see 2 Kings 4:8]. Yet in this case, it is Moses’s respected guest who presides, conducts, and officiates before God at the sacrifice and meal. Moses’s deference to Jethro suggests that Moses still sees Jethro as the presiding priest of the region.”

(“Jethro, Prophet and Priest of Midian,” in Voices of Old Testament Prophets: The 26th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [1997], 28–29.)