Jethro Takes a Stroll
Jethro, the priest of Midian and Moses’s father-in-law, decided to take a stroll out into the desert to meet the Israelites. 2 Now, at some point during the plagues of Egypt, Moses’s wife and son Gershom had returned to Midian. 3 Whilst there, Gershom split into two boys called Gershom and Eliezer without anyone noticing that anything had changed.
4 So, Jethro, Zipporah, Gershom, and Eliezer came to meet Moses in the desert, 5 and they made camp by the Mountain of God aka Mount Horeb.
6 Jethro called to Moses, ‘I, your father-in-law, have come to see you.’
Moses replied, ‘I, your son-in-law, find it weird that you’re announcing yourself in this way.’
7 Moses ran to Jethro and kissed him, completely ignoring his wife and sons, who stood watching in bewilderment as the two men disappeared into Jethro’s tent. 8 He told Jethro everything that had happened, and his father-in-law sat enthralled by every gory detail.
9 ‘So, he brought the water back down on top of Pharaoh and his men?’ laughed Jethro.
‘Yes,’ sighed Moses. ‘But don’t you realise that Pharaoh had been willing to let us go, and God fucked with his free will? There was no good reason to kill him!’
10 ‘That’s what makes it so funny!’ giggled Jethro. 11 ‘Now I know that the Lord is greater than all of the other gods!’
‘Wait, there are other gods?’
12 Jethro realised he’d been sworn to secrecy about the existence of other gods, so he quickly changed the subject. ‘Hey!’ he cried. ‘Let’s fire up the barbecue!’
13 The next day, Moses sat in his tent, and the Israelites queued up outside to tell him their problems.
‘I have sand in my sandals!’ complained one man.
‘I think I ate too much quail!’ moaned another.
One woman hitched up her skirt, bent over, and asked, ‘Is this a pimple or a boil?’
14 When Jethro saw what was happening, he wasn’t pleased. ‘Why is everyone coming to you with every petty complaint?’ he asked.
15 ‘I honestly don’t know,’ sighed Moses. 16 ‘They’ve been doing this ever since we left Egypt!’
17 ‘This won’t do at all!’ declared Jethro. ‘This is too much for one man to handle. 18 You’re going to wear yourself out!’
‘You’re telling me!’
19 ‘Look, if you want my advice, you should establish a hierarchy. 20 Appoint leaders over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and maybe even tens. 21 Teach them God’s laws and let them sort out the really petty stuff.’
‘But God hasn’t given me any laws!’ objected Moses. ‘Well, unless you count his weirdly specific instructions about the Feast of Bread Without Yeast.’
‘Feast of what?’
‘Oh, it’s this festival he’s trying to get started to celebrate his hatred of yeast.’
22 Jethro stared blankly. Then he said, ‘Anyway, let some people serve as judges. 23 Maybe you should check with God first, though. 24 You know how he gets when he thinks you’re going against him.’
25 So, Moses did as his father-in-law suggested and appointed judges, 26 and it reduced the burden on Moses.
27 Then Jethro buggered off back to his own country.