Exodus 18

“Wait yer turn! Wait yer turn! Boy, I tell ya, everybody’s got a beef around here about somethin’. This guy says that his neighbor killed his dog. That guy back there wants his money back from the tailor that made him that hideous suit that makes him look like a bag of Wonder Bread. Yer all gonna have to just wait yer darn turn!”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (Reuel? Hobab?) advises the great Liberator that his method of governance is laughable; that the workload will kill a man. Jethro is part right. The job is a killer. But it’s not the hours–it’s the clientele that will kill a guy. Moses is setting himself up to be everybody’s scapegoat, when once they don’t get what they want.

People clamor for leaders. They want someone to take responsibility for them because responsibility means bearing the blame when things don’t work out right. The slave-mentality is hard to iron out. It’s this slave-mentality, and the need for a scapegoat that leads people to find leaders. Kingship does not derive from despots rising to impose power. How can one impose his will over the many? The many pick a scapegoat.

Moses tells Jethro, “I decide matters between them;” which, interestingly, is the same role that someone tried to thrust Jesus into when he approached him and pleaded, “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus declined. He will offer the people no possible excuse for their outrages and the excesses committed against him. Men must face their own fault and be existentially responsible for their own self and actions.

©2020 Joel Picard