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17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What[a] you are doing is not good! 18 You will surely wear out,[b] both you and these people who are with you, for this is too[c] heavy a burden[d] for you; you are not able to do it by yourself. 19 Now listen to me,[e] I will give you advice, and may God be with you. You be a representative for the people to God,[f] and you bring[g] their disputes[h] to God;

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  1. Exodus 18:17 tn Heb “the thing.”
  2. Exodus 18:18 tn The verb means “to fall and fade” as a leaf (Ps 1:3). In Ps 18:45 it is used figuratively of foes fading away, failing in strength and courage (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 166). Here the infinitive absolute construction heightens the meaning.
  3. Exodus 18:18 tn Gesenius lists the specialized use of the comparative min (מִן) where with an adjective the thought expressed is that the quality is too difficult for the attainment of a particular aim (GKC 430 §133.c).
  4. Exodus 18:18 tn Here “a burden” has been supplied.
  5. Exodus 18:19 tn Heb “hear my voice.”
  6. Exodus 18:19 tn The line reads “Be you to the people before God.” He is to be their representative before God. This is introducing the aspect of the work that only Moses could do, what he has been doing. He is to be before God for the people, to pray for them, to appeal on their behalf. Jethro is essentially saying, I understand that you cannot delegate this to anyone else, so continue doing it (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 219-20).
  7. Exodus 18:19 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive; following the imperative it will be instruction as well. Since the imperative preceding this had the idea of “continue to be” as you are, this too has that force.
  8. Exodus 18:19 tn Heb “words”; KJV, ASV “the causes”; NRSV “cases”; NLT “questions.”

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