Reading Exodus 18 and Robert Greenleaf

  • Heiko WenzelEmail author


Robert K. Greenleaf mentions Exod 18:13–27 several times in his reflection on servant leaders. He suggests that this passage supports a top-down delegation from leadership. The paper revisits this suggestion about Exod 18:13–27 but reads these verses closely in its literary context and in light of the distinction between authority and power. The storyline of Exodus indicates that Moses’ authority is fairly new and has been contested frequently. His emerging authority must relate to authority already established, for example, the authority of the elders. This reading suggests that Moses does not delegate power when appointing judges. Rather, they participate in his emerging authority and this view has implications when reflecting on this passage and what it says about leadership. Perhaps, such a reading of Exodus 18 and its implications are closer to Greenleaf’s ideas than he thought.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freie Theologische HochschuleGiessenGermany

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