“Now Yitro, the priest of Midian, Moshe’s father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moshe,
and for Yisrael His people, how God brought Yisrael out of Egypt.”
‘Before delving into our passage’s narrative, it is important to determine where it fits into the broader
chronology scheme. When did Yitro arrive on the scene and advise Moshe to set up a multi-tiered
court system? Textual sequence indicates that Yitro arrived before the Jews received the Torah. Still,
some posit that it was afterward which might better explain the need for relieving the overtaxed
Judge Moshe of some of his dockets. Talmudic sages are split on this issue.
Medieval-era Torah commentators vie to provide evidence for one view or the other.
Shemot vol. I: Sinai Rules page 349