Moses’ System of Rulers

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes to visit him in the wilderness with Moses’ wife and children. Jethro witnesses a full day of Moses judging the people. All of the people would come before Moses from morning until evening to get to inquire of God. Moses would teach the people God’s statutes and laws.

Jethro communicates to Moses that this is not a good process and that he is going to wear himself out. Jethro gives him council that Moses should select able men who fear God to rule over the people and help Moses. Important matters can still be brought to Moses, but the small matters would be handled by the smaller groups. There were rulers of thousands, rulers of hundres, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens. So, Moses even received Godly instruction from his father-in-law.

And Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people—that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. Now he had said to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her.” And Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord , who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord  is  greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He  was above them.” And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.” So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to  be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the  burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people: rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. So they judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they judged every small case themselves.
Exodus 18:1, 6-6, 8, 10-11, 13-26 NKJV

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