Jethro in Hebrew is: יתרו Yithrôw (yith-ro’) Strongs #: 3503; his excellence.
Reuel in Hebrew is: רעואל Re`ûw’el (reh-oo-ale’) Strongs #: 7467; friend of
Jethro is also known by another name, Reuel, usually used in Jasher although
the name Jethro is only used once. In Exodus, Reuel is only used once.
The earliest mention of Jethro/Reuel is in Jasher 67:24 when Pharaoh called
him and Job the Uzite for advice about a dream Pharaoh had concerning the Hebrew
slaves in Egypt and how the Egyptians could prevail over the Hebrews before the Hebrews
should get it in their minds to destroy Egypt.
Jethro’s advice to Pharaoh was to do nothing since, in times past bad things
always happened to those countries when the leaders tried to harm the Hebrews. (1)
Pharaoh did not like Jethro’s proposition, even Job’s counsel wasn’t any help,
so he went with Balaam’s suggestion which was to throw the baby boys into the water.
First mention of Jethro in the Bible is when Moses helped his daughters water
Jethro is also known as a priest of Midian and he had seven daughters although
only one is mentioned by name. (3)
Neither Exodus nor Jasher tells us the age of Jethro at his first meeting with
Moses (who would be is half-2nd cousin 3 times removed).
According to Exodus, it appears that Jethro allowed Moses to dwell in Midian
and Moses married his daughter Zipporah. (4)
Jasher shines a different story, that when Jethro heard Moses’ story of how
he fled Egypt and then ruled forty years in the land of Cush until the government
was taken from him. Jethro decided to put Moses into the prison house until he found
out if the story was true from Cush. However, Moses remained in prison for ten years.
At the end of ten years, Zipporah told Jethro that nobody had come to seek Moses,
so he should be set free.
Jethro was surprised that Moses would be still living since he did not know
that his daughter had been secretly feeding Moses all these years.
After Moses was released from prison, he tended Jethro’s sheep after Moses married
Some years went by and Moses left to return to Egypt at the request of Yahvah
through the burning bush, but it is not known on how long it was until Moses returned
to the land of Midian, but this time with a large encampment of Israelites. (7)
In Exodus, Jethro saw that Moses took it upon himself to judge the people from
morning to evening. Jethro could see that Moses would soon become weary as well
as the people he judged.
“You can’t do it that way,” Jethro suggested, “you can’t judge the people all
by yourself. Select certain men that have a love of Yahvah so they can judge over
the people so there would be rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Let
them take care of the small stuff, and you can be able to dwell on the more pertinent
Moses went with the advice from Jethro, making it the last we hear of Jethro
In Jasher we are told that Reuel (as he is known in Jasher) only stopped by
for a visit. (9)