Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did Yisro Remain Silent When He Fled?

The gemara (Sotah 11a) just says that Bilaam counseled, Iyov remained silent, and Yisro fled (ברח). Was he silent when he fled? The gemara does not elaborate. But the assumption that he simply fled without a word of protest underlies this post at Hirhurim.

In Ginzberg's Legends of The Jews, page 254, which I quote here for a different purpose, attributes to Yitro a lengthy speech in defense of the the Jews and against the plan, such that Pharaoh dismisses Yisro in disgrace. I don't know what Ginzberg's source for this is, assuming there is one.

At Balaam's insistence, the king sent for his two advisors, Reuel the Midianite and Job the Uzite, to hear their advice. Reuel spoke: 'If it seemeth good to the king, let him desist from the Hebrews, and let him not stretch forth his hand against them, for the Lord chose them in the days of old, and took them as the lot of his inheritance from amongst all the nations of the earth, and who is there that hath dared stretch forth his hand against them with impunity, but that their God avenged the evil done unto them?' Reuel then proceeded to enumerate some of the mighty things God had performed for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he closed his admonition with the words: "Verily, thy grandfather, the Pharaoh of former days, raised Joseph the son of Jacob above all the princes of Egypt, because he discerned his wisdom, for through his wisdom he rescued all the inhabitants of the land from the famine, after which he invited Jacob and his sons to come down to Egypt, that the land of Egypt and the land of Goshen be delivered from the famine through their virtues. Now, therefore, if it seem good in thine eyes, leave off from destroying the children of Israel, and if it be not thy will that they dwell in Egypt, send them forth from here, that they may go to the land of Canaan, the land wherein their ancestors sojourned.

When Pharaoh heard the words of Jethro-Reuel, he was exceedingly wroth with him, and he was dismissed in disgrace from before the king, and he went to Midian.

If I see other relevant sources, I will bli neder update.

Update: With some assistance from S., we have the following:

Perhaps more later.

Update, 2009: See the lengthy speech in Sefer Hayashar.


Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

For his source, see note 21 on pg 393 of this volume:

(You may have to sign into hotmail to access this page and/ or or search for 'Balaam.')

joshwaxman said...

thanks. I'll have to get myself such an account, and check it later.

Frum Heretic said...

No need to sign up; the Legends of the Jews (4 vol) is available on Project Gutenberg:

Unfortunately, the index was apparently not scanned in.


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