The episode of Jethro’s visit in Exod 18 consists of two distinct parts, the visit narrative (vv. 1–12, 27) and the account of the establishment of the judicial system (vv. 13–26). The main strand of the narrative is a continuation of the previous Moses–Midianite cycle (Exod 2–4) and belongs to a relatively early stage of the formation of the Pentateuch. The end of the strand (esp. vv. 8–12), however, underwent a phase of reworking by a scribe familiar with the language of late biblical texts usually assigned to the Levites (e.g., Ps 78, Neh 9, 1 Chr 16). The account of the establishment of the judicial system (vv. 13–26) seems to have been added later probably by the same redactor who reworked verses 8–12. The account exhibits close literary affinity to the Chronicler’s account of Jehoshaphat’s judicial reform and may reflect the sociopolitical interests of the Levites in the Persian period.

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