Exodus 18-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife Zipporah, after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons, of whom [a]one was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have been a [b]sojourner in a foreign land.” 4 [c]The other was named [d]Eliezer, for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
5 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses [e]in the wilderness where he was camped, at the mount of God. 6 He [f]sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her.” 7 Then Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and he bowed down and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. 8 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 befallen them on the journey, and how the Lord had delivered them. 9 Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, [g]in delivering [h]them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 So Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods; [i]indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against [j]the people.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat [k]a meal with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
13 It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. 14 Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?” 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a [l]dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
Jethro Counsels Moses
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 You will surely wear out, both yourself and [m]these people who are with you, for the [n]task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to [o]me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. [p]You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the [q]disputes to God, 20 then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. 21 Furthermore, you shall [r]select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, [s]of hundreds, [t]of fifties and [u]of tens. 22 Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major [v]dispute they will bring to you, but every minor [w]dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to [x]endure, and all [y]these people also will go to [z]their place in peace.”
24 So Moses listened [aa]to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, [ab]of hundreds, [ac]of fifties and [ad]of tens. 26 They judged the people at all times; the difficult [ae]dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor [af]dispute they themselves would judge. 27 Then Moses [ag]bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land.
In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, [ah]on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. 3 Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My [ai]own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. 9 The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.
10 The Lord also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; 11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘[aj]Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or [ak]shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. 15 He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”
16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were [al]thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the [am]foot of the mountain.
The Lord Visits Sinai
18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain [an]quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with [ao]thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down, [ap]warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them [aq]perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, or else the Lord will break out against them.” 23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You [ar]warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 Then the Lord said to him, “[as]Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, or He will break forth upon them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.