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In the Hebrew Bible, Jethro ( , Standard Yitro Tiberian ; "His Excellence/Posterity") is Moses' father-in-law, a Kenite shepherd and priest of El Shaddai. In Islam, Jethro is identified with Shuaib or Shoaib, one of the prophets in the Qur'an. He is also revered as a prophet in his own right in the Druze religion.

In Exodus

Jethro is called a priest of Midian and became father-in-law of Moses after he gave his daughter, Zipporah, in marriage to Moses. In Moses's father-in-law is named Reuel, and this is repeated in (where Hobab is described as Reuel's son). In the Hebrew version of , Hobab is described as Moses's father-in-law, while in others as his brother-in-law. (see )

Jethro is recorded as living in Midian, a territory stretching along the eastern edge of the Gulf of Aqabamarker in what is today, northwestern Saudi Arabiamarker. Some believe Midian is within the Sinai Peninsulamarker. Biblical maps from antiquity show Midian on both locations.

Jethro's daughter, Zipporah, became Moses's wife after Moses had fled Egyptmarker, having killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Moses is said to have worked as a shepherd for Jethro for 40 years before returning to Egypt to lead the Hebrews to Canaan, the "promised land". It was Jethro that encouraged Moses to appoint others to share in the burden of ministry to the Jewish nation by allowing others to help in the judgement of smaller matters coming before him.

Yitro is the name of one of the 54 weekly Torah readings or Parshiot (Exodus 18:1-20:23). In it, Jethro advises Moses to establish a system of courts to relieve Moses of the crushing burden of judging all disputes. The portion also contains the Ten Commandments.

In the Qur'an

Jethro is considered by many to be synonymous with the Qur'ānic prophet Shuˤayb (Shuaib). Prophet Shuaib “Jethro” Mosque and Tomb is located near the Jordanianmarker city of Mahismarker.


  1. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.

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