Moses’ brother-in-law; son of Reuel (Jethro) and a Midianite, of the tribe of Kenites. (Num. 10:29; Ex. 3:1; Judg. 1:16) When the time came for the Israelites to move from the region of Mount Sinai toward the Promised Land, Moses requested that Hobab accompany them so as to serve as “eyes” or as a scout for the nation because of his familiarity with the area. Although Hobab declined at first, apparently he did accompany the Israelites, for his descendants, the Kenites, took up dwelling in the wilderness of Judah to the S of Arad and are mentioned as still living in that area in the time of Saul and David.—Num. 10:29-32; Judg. 1:16; 1 Sam. 15:6; 27:10; 30:26, 29.
The Hebrew text of Judges 4:11, however, identifies Hobab as the father-in-law of Moses. In the New World Translation this text is rendered according to what the original Hebrew says, speaking of “the sons of Hobab, whose son-in-law Moses was.” Its rendering is in agreement with the quite literal translations by Dr. Robert Young, by J. B. Rotherham and by J. N. Darby, as well as those of the Jewish Publication Society, James Moffatt and An American Translation. So the one name, Hobab, may designate two separate individuals, namely, Moses’ father-in-law as well as his brother-in-law. That this is not out of the question is seen by the fact that more than one name is assigned to Moses’ father-in-law.—Compare Exodus 2:16-22; 3:1.
On the other hand, if Hobab was indeed only the name of the son of Reuel and hence was the name of only the brother-in-law of Moses, then the reference to Hobab as being Moses’ father-in-law must mean that Hobab was viewed as the representative of his father Reuel, who was, in that case, likely then dead.—See JETHRO; KENITE.