Questions From Readers
● In the book You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World, on pages 281, 282, paragraph 14, it speaks of Hobab as the brother-in-law of Moses the prophet, whereas page 283, paragraph 16, quotes Judges 4:11, NW, which states that Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses. How does the book harmonize with itself in treating Hobab in this double relationship to Moses?—B. G., United States.
The name Hobab may be one name but it may apply to two separate individuals, namely, to a father and to his son. Numbers 10:29, which is quoted on page 282, says of Hobab the son whose sister Zipporah Moses married: “Then Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses: ‘We are pulling away for the place about which Jehovah said.’” (NW) Since Reuel the Midianite was Moses’ father-in-law, then Reuel’s son Hobab was the brother-in-law of Moses. This Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses is the one whom the chapter in the book is discussing as a prophetic picture of the present-day “great crowd” of the “other sheep” whom Jesus Christ, the greater Moses, is gathering to his fold today.
The chapter continues to discuss this same Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses in paragraph 16, but in the midst of this paragraph it quotes Judges 4:11 according to the New World Translation, which reads: “Incidentally Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, whose son-in-law Moses was.” In rendering Judges 4:11 thus the New World Translation is in agreement with the literal translation by Dr. Robert Young, by J. B. Rotherham and by J. N. Darby, also the translation of the Jewish Publication Society, Moffatt’s translation and An American Translation. True, the American Standard Version does read: “Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses,” but in the marginal reading it says: “or, father-in-law.” And the Revised Standard Version reads: “Hobab the father-in-law of Moses.” So the decision of the majority is to make the translation read according to what the original Hebrew says.
According to this, then, the name of Moses’ father-in-law was the same as that of his brother-in-law, namely, Hobab. Thus in the Scriptures several names are assigned to Moses’ father-in-law. In Exodus 2:16-22 he is called Reuel; in Exodus 3:1 he is called Jethro; in Judges 1:16 he is called Qeini in the Hebrew, or “the Kenite, whose son-in-law Moses was.” The fact is that the rabbis of the Jews say that Moses’ father-in-law had seven names.
If, however, we persist in arguing that Hobab was only the name of the son of Reuel and was the name of only the brother-in-law of Moses, then we must understand Judges 4:11 to mean that Hobab was Moses’ father-in-law only in a representative capacity. That is to say, Hobab acted representatively for his father Reuel who likely was now dead.
So from either understanding of the matter the book You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World is not at disagreement with itself, neither is the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.