Moses decides to dupe him into "[teaching] him everything he knew." If Jethro shares his daughter's dark skin, though, he is not simply a Midianite
or a Kenite, but a black man.
Gideon is given the task of driving the Midianite
invasion out of Israel in the period of the Judges.
The lectionary fails to include other potent sections of that book, including the ruthless destruction of the enemy kings whose hearts were duly hardened, and the chilling story of Moses's massacre of the Midianites
. Preachers thus have no need to explain to their flocks why Moses ordered his warriors to wipe out the Midianite
people, but to leave alive those girls who remained untainted by sex.
Elaborating on the meaning of this singularity, Rabbi Tzaddok Hakohen points to two opposite ends of the spectrum of moral reflection existent among the peoples surrounding the Israelites around the time of the inception of Mosaic law: "Amalek is a scoffer who believes in nothing, and Jethro [Moses' father-in-law, a Midianite
convert] is naive, believing everything" (qtd.
The Israelites took captive the Midianite
women and their dependents, and carried off their beasts, their flocks, and their property.
He then compares the Polish situation to that of the ancient Hebrews who allowed Midianite
women to mix with Hebrew men which brought about God's wrath.
In his pan-Egyptian explanation of the Bible, he holds that Moses learned not only Egyptian traditions from his upbringing in the Pharaoh's house, but also the "Akkadian (i.e., Babylonian) tradition from his father-in-law Jethro," who was a Midianite
shepherd in northwest Arabia (p.
Mendenhall continues in this paragraph with reference to Moses's Cushite wife (Numbers 12:1), though elsewhere Zipporah is referred to as a Midianite
(see Exodus 2: 15-22).
In fact, Moses seems to have wanted nothing more than to live out his days as a Midianite
shepherd, which is what he was doing when he happened to notice, out of the corner of his eye, the flickering tongue of flame from which God first spoke to him.
Moses flees Egypt after killing an Egyptian and finds refuge in Midian where he marries Tzipporah, the daughter of the Midianite
priest Reuel, also referred to as Jethro.
Just as Moses defends Midianite
maidens at the well from troublesome shepherds, Hermann defends the neighbor girls at the village well from the wildness of local boys (FA I.8: 823).
Pursuing her interest in the tension throughout the Hebrew Bible about the practice of exogamy, especially Israelite men marrying outsider women, Winslow (biblical studies, Azusa Pacific U.) examines the narratives in the Jewish Scriptures about Moses' Midianite
and Chushite wives in Exodus 2, 4, 18 and Numbers 12.