Exodus 13:17-17:16

Exodus chapter 13, verse 17 to chapter17, verse 16


Jethro is Moses’s father-in-law. He reunites Moses with his sons and wife. Jethro sees that Moses is very busy settling disagreements between the Israelites. He does this all alone. Jethro advises him to appoint helpers to serve as judges. Moses, he suggests, should deal with the most important cases. Moses listens and follows Jethro’s advice.

Three months after leaving Egypt the Israelites settle at the foot of Mt. Sinai.   Moses delivers a message from God: if they obey God’s laws and teachings they will be a holy nation. The Israelites respond that all that God says, they will do.

After three days God appears in a cloud of smoke and fire on the mountain and delivers to them the Ten Commandments. The people fear the voice of God and ask Moses to be God’s spokesperson. Through Moses God tells the Israelites that they must not worship false idols. They are commanded to build an altar and bring offerings to God.

Torah Portion in English

1) Jethro priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the Lord had brought Israel out from Egypt. 2) So Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after she had been sent home, 3) and her two sons—of whom one was named Gershom, that is to say, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land”; 4) and the other was named Eliezer, meaning, “The God of my father was my help, and He delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.” 5) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought Moses’ sons and wife to him in the wilderness, where he was encamped at the mountain of God. 6) He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, with your wife and her two sons.” 7) Moses went out to meet his father-in-law; he bowed low and kissed him; each asked after the other’s welfare, and they went into the tent.

8) Moses then recounted to his father-in-law everything that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that had befallen them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. 9) And Jethro rejoiced over all the kindness that the Lord had shown Israel when He delivered them from the Egyptians. 10) “Blessed be the Lord,” Jethro said, “who delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11) Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, yes, by the result of their very schemes against [the people].” 12) And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices for God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to partake of the meal before God with Moses’ father-in-law

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. Go to the beginning of your Parasha. What are the names of Moses’s wife and sons. What do the boys’ names mean? Why do you think they have those names?
  2. Go to chapter 20. What are the Ten Commandments? List them in your own words.
  3. What was Moses doing that prompted Jethro to give his advice? What was it?
  4. Why were the Israelites afraid to hear the voice of God? What did they ask Moses to do?
  5. The Israelites agree to follow God’s rules before they hear them. What does that mean? Why would they do that?