It’s Time for a Barnes Raising

Barnes

Today’s guest blogger is Thomas Black, a Logos Forum MVP and a Pastor in Moweaqua, Illinois.

A barn raising used to bring an entire community together to accomplish, in just one or two days, something that would have taken a single family an unreasonable amount of time. Once the equipment and materials were laid out in stacks, the community would swarm in, labor hard and at the end of the day walk away from a finished barn. It is a marvel of community participation.

Logos Bible Software consists of a community of users which is really visible in the forums. One doesn’t have to look too far in the forum to find a series of discussions regarding one of the one of the longest lived (if not the longest lived) Community Pricing titles: Barnes’ Notes on the Old and New Testaments (14 Vols.). A work this size would require a massive amount of effort.

What is Community Pricing?

In a nutshell Community Pricing allows you to select the maximum price you would be willing to pay for a Logos book(s) if it were produced. Everyone else get’s to do the same. Logos calculates the numbers in the background to produce the book for the lowest cost possible to the users. That means that even if you’re willing to pay $45 for a book and enough bidders join in—you could end up paying much less than $45, but you will never pay more than your maximum bid.

Initially it seems a little complicated process from the user’s perspective, but there’s some fancy calculations going on in the background. Remember with Community pricing, you may pay less but you won’t pay more than you bid. Feel free to read much more about Community pricing here:

Back to Barnes

As stated, Barnes Notes has been on the Community Pricing page for quite some time. There are seasons where it charges forward and seasons where it appears to be standing still. I am not Barnes fan-boy so I thought I’d gather some notes on the question, “Why should I bid on Barnes?” Besides the fact that you’ll never get a book as cheap as you can on Community Pricing since the price goes up once it goes into production.

The Value of Barnes Notes

Even I can see the value of having such a massive set of work in Logos. Recently forum members, weighed in with a quote from Charles Spurgeon regarding the value of Barnes.

“Albert Barnes,” say you, “what do you think of Albert Barnes?” Albert Barnes is a learned and able divine, but his productions are unequal in value, the gospels are of comparatively little worth, but his other comments are extremely useful for Sunday-school teachers and persons with a narrow range of reading, endowed with enough good sense to discriminate between good and evil. If a controversial eye had been turned upon Barnes’ Notes years ago, and his inaccuracies shown up by some unsparing hand, he would never have had the popularity which at one time set rival publishers advertising him in every direction. His Old Testament volumes are to be greatly commended as learned and laborious, and the epistles are useful as a valuable collection of the various opinions of learned men. Placed by the side of the great masters, Barnes is a lesser light, but taking his work for what it is and professes to be, no minister can afford to be without it, and this is no small praise for works which were only intended for Sunday-school teachers.
Spurgeon in Lectures to My Students Vol. 4, p30.

You can readily see the strengths and weaknesses of the set according to Charles Spurgeon.

Albert Barnes wrote not for scholars but for the common man, as such his works are more personal. In terms of scholarship, Albert Barnes may be “dated”, as some accuse him of being, and yet that does not negate the value of his observations and applications of the text. The resources he had available to him may pale in comparison to our day, and yet other works of equal age are still consulted for their breadth or depth.

With the current lead in pricing being $30 on the Community Pricing Bid, that brings the cost per page of Barnes to less than 1 hundredth of a cent! Such a price is indeed phenomenal for the scope of material available.

As I mentioned earlier, I have solicited answers to the question, “Why should I bid for Barnes?” Here are a few of the answers from the benefits of a Logos version to the style of his content.

I have this set in hardcopy and pull it out fairly regularly, but the problem is that my copy has the smallest font imaginable. I have to use a magnifying glass to read some of it. Therefore, I would love to replace it with Logos simply so I could enlarge the font in order to read it!Sharon

“I like his devotional thoughts. He also has a reasonable amount of helpful application to 19th century life – and by default to ours” Floyd

“If I’m quickly trying to study something I go to Calvin, Poole and Barnes to see what they say. Barnes just has a way of saying it that makes it feel more like I’m having a conversation with a pastor instead of having a theologian tell me what they think.” Scott

Here are a few more of the discussions taking place in the forums about Barnes Notes:

Add your own thoughts below. Oh, and don’t forget to place your bid for Barnes.

Another Book on Paul? F.F. Bruce Explains Why

F.F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free SpiritF.F. Bruce needs no introduction. He is the author of several books, including one about the Apostle Paul, called Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit.
But why another book on Paul? Hasn’t this one been done over? Don’t we already know everything there is to know about Paul? Let’s let none other than F.F. Bruce himself answer the question:

No excuse is offered for the publication of yet another book on Paul save the excuse offered by the second-century author of the Acts of Paul: it was written amore Pauli, for love of Paul. For half a century and more I have been a student and teacher of ancient literature, and to no other writer of antiquity have I devoted so much time and attention as to Paul. Nor can I think of any other writer, ancient or modern, whose study is so richly rewarding as his. This is due to several aspects of his many-faceted character: the attractive warmth of his personality, his intellectual stature, the exhilarating release effected by his gospel of redeeming grace, the dynamism with which he propagated that gospel throughout the world, devoting himself single mindedly to fulfilling the commission entrusted to him on the Damascus road (“this one thing I do”) and labouring more abundantly than all his fellow-apostles—“yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”. My purpose in writing this book, then, is to share with others something of the rich reward which I myself have reaped from the study of Paul.
F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1977), 15.

Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit is Bruce’s distillation of over 18 years of lectures on “The Missionary Career of Paul in its Historical Setting.” To better understand Paul’s writings, it can be helpful to better understand Paul the person. Clocking in at just over 500 pages, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit helps us do just this.
If you’ve got Scholar’s Portfolio Edition (LE), or have availed yourself of the Pauline Studies Library, then you’ve already got this 500+ page gem from F.F. Bruce in your Logos Bible Software library.
If not, check it out. Learning more about Paul from F.F. Bruce can’t be a bad thing.

Introducing the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary

Evangelical Exegetical Commentary

The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary is a brand new, 44-volume commentary series on the entire Bible, published by Logos Bible Software. It will be similar in size and scope as the Word Biblical Commentary and the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Contributors to the EEC include Eugene Merrill, John Oswalt, Stanley E. Porter, Ronald Youngblood, Eugene Mayhew, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., W. Hall Harris, and lots of other scholars.

The story of the EEC began in 2005, when a core group of Bible scholars began to dream of what a new commentary could look like. What if a new commentary series could be published—a kind of commentary pastors could use for sermon preparation, and a standard reference work seminary students could consult for exegetical research.

At that time—back in 2005—there were no new major commentary series on the horizon, and the series in publication at the time were nearly finished. It became clear to a core group of biblical scholars that the time had come to begin working on a new commentary set. Wayne House spearheaded the project, assembling a team of scholars, soliciting the help of editors, and meeting with publishers. Authors began the task of research and writing. The editorial team drafted a publication timetable.

Then, with the EEC well underway, and drafts of the first volumes nearly finished, the fateful call came. The publisher put a hold on the project. After several additional delays, the final blow came: the EEC was canceled altogether.

The reason was simple: a full commentary series on the entire Bible literally takes many years to draft, write, edit, review, refine and publish. Most of the top commentary series from the past century have taken two or three decades to complete. They have often outlived the ambitions of their founders and the life-spans of some of their authors, and they often require second and third editions of many volumes to keep pace with up-to-date scholarship.

In a world where the future of print is uncertain—where the market share for print books erodes away a little further each year as new digital formats become available—it did not make financial sense for the publisher to risk such a massive investment in a multi-year print project.

Logos Revives the Project

Wayne House approached us about publishing the EEC, and we agreed to revive the project. A project of this size and scope was thought to be a thing of the past, but we were not content to sit by and watch it die. Major new commentary series should be written. Big, complex publishing projects should not be abandoned because they are too hard to do, or aren’t guaranteed to make tons of money. That’s why we decided to move forward with publishing the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary.

Today, nearly all volumes are in various stages of research, writing, or editing. A few of the volumes are nearly complete. With this accelerated publication schedule, we will release the first volume next year, and the entire 44-volume series will be available in 2019—an unprecedented publication timetable for a commentary of this magnitude.

The publication of the EEC by Logos marks the first time a major Bible commentary series has been published in digital form before its print counterpart—and the first time it has been published with a digital format in mind. This is a major step forward in how major Bible commentaries are researched, written, read, and used by the church.

Think about it: the next standard evangelical commentary will be written and designed from the ground up for use in Logos Bible Software. And here’s something else to consider: many of the authors are dedicated Logos users. So if you’ve ever wondered “Would [insert your favorite commentary name here] have been better if all its authors had used Logos in their research?” this commentary set is for you.

How the Pre-Pub Works

As with all Pre-Pubs, the users who order the earliest get the best deal. With this Pre-Pub, we knew that this deal had to be really good, since these volumes are still being completed. The current Pre-Pub price works out to around $15.91 per volume, which is far less than you’d pay for print commentaries of a similar caliber.

As we get closer to the ship date, and as each new volume is shipped, the price will go up. Those who order earliest get the best price.

If you order now, and lock in the lowest price, and then change your mind later after seeing some previews and reading some reviews, we completely understand. Of course, we don’t think you’ll cancel after you see what’s coming—but you still have that option.

We will also have an option for a special type of payment plan only for the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. So if you’re concerned about paying the full price next year for a series of commentaries that won’t be complete for a few years, rest assured. We’re working on a solution for you and we’ll have it in place before the first volume of the EEC ships.

The bottom line is that you lock in your order now. The Pre-Pub price will start going up soon, and it will continue going up each time we ship a new volume. So to get the best deal on the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, you need to place your Pre-Pub order now.

Learn More

We’ve created an entire site about the project at EvangelicalExegeticalCommentary.com. Read up on all the contributors. Read the story of how the EEC came to be. You can also check out the publication timeline, the press release, and lots more.

Stay Informed

The best way to stay informed about the EEC is by subscribing to the EEC mailing list on EvangelicalExegeticalCommentary.com. By subscribing, you’ll be the first to know when reviews, previews, and updated information is posted. You can also follow @EECommentary on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Learning to Think Critically with Primary Sources

Prolegomena
Today’s guest post is by Elliot Ritzema, from the Logos Bible Software Design & Editorial team.

When I saw a few months ago that Julius Wellhausen’s Prolegomena to the History of Israel was on pre-pub, I got excited. This is a book that I would love to see in Logos format. Lately it seems that the book has stalled in the “gathering interest” phase, so I’m hoping to revive progress by explaining why I think this book is so important.

When I took a class on biblical hermeneutics in seminary, we didn’t use a textbook. Instead, we studied the history of biblical interpretation over the last 150 years or so by reading primary sources (OK, in some cases they were English translations of primary sources). First we looked at Source Criticism, and the first reading was a selection from Prolegomena to the History of Israel.

Wellhausen’s name may not be familiar to everyone, but you can’t go very far in studying the recent history of biblical interpretation before you start to see his name or the initials “JEDP.” These initials come from Wellhausen’s version of the “documentary hypothesis,” in which he attempted to chop up the first six books of the Bible based on the argument that they came from four different sources. He wasn’t the only biblical scholar who did this, but his way of doing it became the most influential.

Now, you may like or dislike Wellhausen’s way of looking at the Bible (I certainly don’t agree with everything Wellhausen said), but it’s undeniable that he has had a huge impact on biblical studies. His name comes up over and over in all sorts of books, whether they are reference books or books that argue about his influence. He is mentioned in the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary 241 times, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 192 times, The New Bible Dictionary 51 times, and The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 31 times. Issue 25 of the journal Semeia is devoted to him and the Prolegomena. The Fundamentals, written in part to counter his influence, mentions him 47 times and a chapter in David Breese’s Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave (part of the Moody History Makers Collection) is devoted to critiquing Wellhausen and his way of understanding the Bible.

If you can read about Wellhausen in other books, then why should you buy his Prolegomena to the History of Israel? Well, if you are like me, you like to read primary sources. It isn’t enough for me to read a short treatment of an author’s ideas in a textbook; I like to have access to what the author actually wrote so that I can see it in context and quote from the original if I need to. Textbooks are certainly useful to get an overview of a subject, but there’s no substitute for reading each author for myself. That way, I’m not just taking someone else’s word for it; I’m learning how to think critically on my own. The great benefit of my hermeneutics class was that it taught me how to recognize different schools of biblical interpretation and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think I would have learned nearly as much if we had not read primary sources. Reading Wellhausen is not for everyone, but for those (like me) who are interested in the history of biblical interpretation, he’s a must-read.

Before I go, let me put in one more plug: The week after we talked about Wellhausen and Source Criticism in class, we moved on to Form Criticism and read part of Hermann Gunkel’s book The Legends of Genesis—which is also on Pre-Pub as part of the Classic Commentaries and Studies on Genesis.

See What’s Happening on the New Product Page

Darby
Today’s guest post is by Robert Campbell, from the Logos Bible Software marketing team.

As a bibliophile, I couldn’t ask for a more suitable job than working for Logos. I’m surrounded by books, I get to write about books, and I talk about books for 90% of my day (the other 10% is divided between HTML and coffee). I get to be a part of a process which makes Christian books easily accessible to a large number of people, and that’s pretty cool.

One of the things I do at Logos is making books, books you’ve asked for, available for individual download. If you haven’t visited the New Products page lately, you haven’t seen the hundreds of books we’ve listed after breaking up collections. While purchasing collections gets you a better deal, more books for the buck, sometimes individual titles out of those collections are what you really need.

As the number of books Logos offers grows, so does their diversity and range:

In the last few days, we have posted systematic theologies, scholarly commentaries, pastoral helps. Books on biblical archeology, astronomy in the Bible, church history, and much, much more. If you are a book lover like me, you’ll find it’s a book lover’s dream. So check out the New Products page, and check it often—we are constantly adding resources!

Logos 4: Display Page Numbers Inline

mp|seminars Tips

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

A Logos user recently e-mailed me asking:

When I read a Logos resource I like knowing when I have gone to a new page. Is there a way to display page numbers in the text of the e-book?

The answer is YES! Here’s how to show them:

  • Open a Logos resource
  • Click the Visual Filters icon (three circles) on the resource’s toolbar
  • Click Show page numbers

Now as you navigate through the resource you’ll see the page numbers right inline with the text!

Please Note: If Show page numbers is not listed in the Visual Filters options, then that Logos e-book does not currently contain page numbers.

The Gospel in Action: Fortress Press Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series

counseling
Today’s guest post is by Sarah Wilson, from the Logos Bible Software marketing team.

Are you a pastor? A counselor? Or maybe you have a friend or family member going through a rough season of life, such as depression, death of a loved one, abuse, or serious illness. Knowing what to say or how to respond to those in need is a difficult yet necessary undertaking. The gospel of Jesus offers comfort and encouragement for hard times, and we are proud to present Fortress Press Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series (19 Vols.) as an incredible resource for those involved in ministerial care or counseling.

Although there are many fantastic Christian counseling resources available, this 19-volume collection is especially useful, giving you invaluable tools and guidance from pastors, psychologists, therapists, counselors, and other experienced caregivers. This massive source of counseling advice covers a myriad of concerns, such as how to care for the sick, the dying, marginalized people-groups, as well as those suffering from depression, abuse, and those in crisis.

Some of these titles include:

  • Cross-Cultural Counseling, Aart M. van Beek

  • Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life, by Ronald W. Richardson
  • Short-Term Spiritual Guidance, by Duane R. Bidwell
  • Counseling Adolescent Girls, Patricia H. Davis
  • Crisis Counseling: Revised Edition, by Howard W. Stone
  • Integrative Family Therapy, by David C. Olsen
  • And many more!

A thoroughly practical resource, Fortress Press Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series contains outlines, discussions, and considerations on many methods of counseling and therapy perfect for pastors and counselors. The interaction between psychology and biblical doctrine is brought together in these titles, providing solid direction for the relational and counseling situations you find yourself in.

If you work with people on any level, this is an essential tool for you to learn how to minister to those around you in biblical and compassionate ways.

Announcing Seminary and Bible College Scholarship Winners

Seminary ScholarshipLate last week, we confirmed our scholarship winners, sent out $2,000.00 in tuition checks, and two free copies of Logos Bible Software 4 Scholar’s Library collections which should be arriving to the students any day now.

Our SeminaryScholarship.com winner was selected and confirmed right away, but because our varied attempts to reach the originally selected BibleCollegeScholarship.com winner were of no avail, everyone who applied had a second chance to win as we selected an alternate winner. So, without further ado, here are our winners:

SeminaryScholarship.com Winner: Mrs. Barbara W. of Raleigh, NC.

Barbara is currently an online student at Baptist Bible Graduate School and Seminary in Pennsylvania. She has been teaching Social Studies and MS Band and Choir at Friendship Christian School since 2002. After receiving a MA in Biblical Ministries she plans to continue teaching at FCS and begin work in women’s ministries through teaching and writing Bible studies.

BibleCollegeScholarship.com Winner: Joseph K. of Kenosha, WI.

Joseph attends LeTorurneau University in Longview, TX. Along with Bible courses, he is currently studying computer science with a focus in network security. Come to find out, while connecting with him and his family back home, Joseph is the grandson to well-known Christian apologist and philosopher Dr. Norman Geisler, who is author or co-author to some 70 books and hundreds of articles, many of which are available for Logos Bible Software.


Apply or Reapply for the new round!

Thank you to all who have applied for the scholarships. Whether you applied before or not, be sure to visit the sites as a new giveaway round has begun. Remember that you can enter once per round, but you can increase your chances of winning by telling friends and family to apply as well. Just make sure they enter your name in the “Other” box, when they’re asked how they heard about the scholarship.

Seminary students, apply here:

Bible College students, apply here:

Logos Bible Software: A Washington’s Best Workplaces Finalist

Washinton's Best Workplaces 2010Not many people can say they work for one of the best workplaces in their state, but the 200 or so Logos Bible Software employees can say that very thing.

After an extensive and rigorous process, which included the completion of surveys by nominee-company employees across the state, Logos has been recognized as a finalist for Puget Sound Business Journal’s Washington’s Best Workplaces. To celebrate this accomplishment, companies that were identified as Washington’s best, based on various employee benefit offerings, leadership culture, and work/life balance philosophies were invited to a special awards event at Safeco Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners.

When asked about this recognition, here is what Bob Pritchett, President/CEO of Logos, had to say:

“I consider it a blessing to get to work with so many wonderful people at Logos Bible Software, and am glad to see our team recognized. Hopefully this will lead even more great people to join us!”

Bob generously offered to cover the costs for all employees and their spouses who wanted to attend. Once a final head-count was set, he announced that two limousines were set to take us down to Seattle for the event. [Thanks Bob!]

Once we entered the ballpark, we were greeted by Puget Sound Business Journal‘s staff and ushered toward tables and tables of food, drinks, and concession snacks. After all, we were at a baseball park! You can be sure we had our share of peanuts and crackerjacks, hotdogs, soda, popcorn, and so much more.

Awards were presented to finalists in the small, medium, large, extra large, and non-profit categories, with special recognition— including a custom Mariners jersey—going to the #1 company in each of the five categories. Although Logos was not selected as the top workplace in our category (large), it was a huge honor to be recognized amongst so many great companies who are doing great things for their employees.

Making the evening even better was the opportunity before and after the awards presentation for attendees to go onto the field to throw baseballs while being clocked for speed and to “walk the bases.” But when presented with the opportunity to go onto a Major League baseball diamond, would you just walk, or would you run? Run!

Here is a short video of Adam Navarrete, from our marketing department doing just that.

Now doesn’t that look fun? Why not check out our jobs page for current opportunities? Maybe next year that could be you!

Importance of Anchoring Expressions

Lexham

This is a follow up to an older post where I made reference to something going on in Exodus 18. My topic today is the practice of orienting participants to a situation. For instance, I could be introduced or “anchored” as “the Logos scholar-in-residence,” “Mike’s friend,” or “the owner of the white GMC truck.” All of these relations are accurate, but not all are relevant for a given context. It might be relevant at a crash scene that I own a white truck (but it wasn’t my fault), but not at the beginning of a Logos Lecture series, right? We use the most relevant anchoring expression for the given context. Most of the time, it is so routine that we don’t give it a second thought when we read or hear one. But there are places where this general rule is broken, and paying attention to anchoring expressions can have a huge impact on your Bible study.

While reading Exodus 18, I noticed that Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law is called father-in-law a lot, like almost twice as many times as he is called Jethro in the context. This is the story where Jethro teaches Moses about delegation following the exodus from Egypt. Why is he called father-in-law so often? Why not priest of Midian, since most commentators seem to think this is the more relevant anchoring expression? After all, this is a story of one priest teaching another priest about administration, right? This is true, but there is a bit more going on under the hood.

In all but one instance where Jethro is introduced in Exodus, he is anchored as “priest of Midian” (here is a link to the search in Logos 4). After Moses marries Zipporah, Jethro’s daughter, he is also anchored as Moses’ father-in-law (here is another search on the Hebrew lemma for father-in-law in Exodus). This means we have competing options available. One of the primary principles in my approach to discourse is this: “Choice implies meaning.” If I chose option A instead of option B, then there is some meaning to be gleaned from the choice. What is the meaning here? Let’s take a look at the opening details of the story.

If a biblical writer includes a detail in a story—e.g. that Esau was hairy, or that Sarai was beautiful, or that David was ruddy and handsome while Goliath was tall, dark and ugly—then chances are you need to know the tidbit to get the point of the story. We have a few such details like this in Exodus 18, ones that are often overlooked.

The first important detail is the location. Moses has returned to the same place where the Lord had appeared to him in the burning bush, just as the Lord had announced in Exodus 3:12. This is the same place where Moses had been herding sheep for Jethro (his father-in-law, remember?), probably fairly near Jethro’s encampment. Detail One: after the exodus, Moses has returned to the very place he started, his old stomping grounds where he had herded for Jethro.

The second important detail is found in Exodus 18:2, where we learn that Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law, remember?) is coming to see Moses, and is bringing along Zipporah, Moses’ wife and their two boys After he had sent her away. Say what? When did Moses send Zipporah away? No matter how good the Logos 4 search engine is, you will not find reference to Moses sending Zipporah away in the OT, it ain’t there, this is the only mention of it. So why mention it here? Remember, if its there its important, right? We must need to know it to get the point of the story.

Let’s recap a bit so we can pull all these details together. The Lord has used Moses to deliver Israel from the Egyptians, and they have all returned to where Moses was first called by the Lord. Next, Moses has sent Zipporah and his sons away at some point before the trip. Even though Moses and Israel have been camping on Jethro’s back 40 acres, so to speak, Moses hasn’t taken the time to send for his wife and kids. Why not? What could be preventing him from doing so? Let’s keep reading.

After Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law, remember?) arrives with Moses’ wife and kids (whom he’d sent away, remember?), he takes the time to re-establish rapport with Moses. He listens to all that the Lord has done for Moses and Israel (see Exodus 18:8, even though v. 1 makes it clear that he had already heard these things through the grapevine. Have you ever (re)listened to old news from someone just because you knew it was important to them? This seems to be what Jethro was doing, as a good father-in-law. Then they enjoy fellowship together along with Aaron and the elders, sharing a sacrifice together.

Finally, Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law, remember?) goes to work with Moses the next day, and oh what a sight it must have been. Verse 13 tells us that the people stood around from morning to evening waiting to have their disputes resolved. What does Jethro do (Moses’ father-in-law, remember?) He watches patiently. Then at some point he asks the same kind of “What are you doing?” question that my dad used to ask me when he saw me doing something the hard way. “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” (Exo. 18:14, ESV). It is one of those questions that is not so much for Jethro’s benefit as for Moses’. It requires him to look at things from a different perspective. And like a good father-in-law, Jethro highlights key details: Moses is doing it alone, and the people are standing around from morning to evening.

So why is Jethro called Moses’ father-in-law so many times? Why is this anchoring expression more relevant priest of Midian, even though most commentators stress the priest role? It is to counter the very thing that the commentators focus on. Even though Jethro could have used his authority as priest to tell Moses to do things differently, he doesn’t. Instead, the writer anchors him as father-in-law.

Stated differently, Jethro brings his daughter and his two grandsons to his son-in-law. Why bring them? Apparently because even though Moses had been so near for months, he had not taken the time to send for them. Why? Perhaps it had something to do with his day job consuming too much of his time. So what’s needed? To get Moses to change how he does things so that doesn’t wear out himself or the people (18:17-18). How does Jethro bring about the change? By coming as a father-in-law (who may have wanted to box the ears of the guy who didn’t have time for his daughter!) who took the time to reestablish rapport (vv. 6-12), who hung out with Moses enough that the latter knew he understood the problem (vv. 13-16). Then instead of shoving the solution down his throat on the basis of his authority as priest or father-in-law, he offers it up for Moses’ consideration (v. 19-23).

Anchoring expressions can play a big role in exegesis, and are one of the many kinds of things that you’ll find annotated in the Lexham Discourse Hebrew BIble and Lexham High Definition Old Testament. If you found this commentary helpful, then you’ll find more like it in the High Definition Commentary, a new series from Logos that helps you identify exegetical keys in the discourse, and understand the role they play. The Philippians volume is under way, to be followed by Romans.

If you’d like to read an article I wrote on this same topic of redundant anchoring expressions applied to Genesis 32, it is posted at my blog site.