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“Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in delivering them from the Egyptians.” Exodus 18:9 NRSV

Joy and rejoice are obviously related words. The definitions of rejoice are “to give joy to,” or “to feel joy or great delight.” That’s good, because the NIV translation of today’s verse says “Jethro was delighted.”

As I began this project, I compiled a list of verses using NIV (New International Version), NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) and ESV (English Standard Version). These are the three translations I personally use for study, each for its own reason. This is a case where I can see the joy in the passage even when the word isn’t used in the NIV. Why was Jethro rejoicing? Because Moses (his son-in-law, btw) had just explained to him everything God had done to lead His chosen people out of Egypt, and all of the difficulties they had faced that God had brought them through. Of course Jethro rejoiced to hear it! And how did he rejoice? Take a look:

10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from the Egyptians, when they dealt arrogantly with them.”
Jethro wasn’t in Egypt. Moses met him in Midian, during his exile before returning to deliver God’s people from Pharaoh. He married one of Jethro’s daughters (Zipporah) and had two sons through her. Here we see Jethro rejoicing, delighting, in God, the God who has made Himself known through wondrous acts in Egypt.
While this is the only instant of the word joy appearing in Exodus, I cannot overlook the song Moses and Miriam sing in Exodus 15. It is filled with joy:
I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
The horse and its rider
he has hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
I am really looking forward to where this journey takes us – so far we’ve seen Jacob and Moses. Where will joy take us next?
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