11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
These are the words of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, when he arrived in the camp of the Israelites. Jethro was the priest of Midian, a heathen nation. However, he must have surely heard in the past from Moses about the LORD God of Israel. Now, having listened to the news of the LORD’s great deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, Jethro had come to see for himself what the LORD had done for Moses and His people, Israel. Upon his arrival, Moses greeted him and invited him into his tent and “told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them” (Exodus 18:8).
Then Jethro “rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 18:9). Jethro also blessed the LORD for delivering Moses and Israel from the hand of the mighty Egyptians (Exodus 18:10). He then confessed, “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods”.
Jethro, like most of the heathen, could have believed in many gods; in fact, he had hitherto regarded the God of the Israelites as merely one among many equals. He now rejects that “creed” and unequivocally declares his newfound faith in the LORD God of Israel who is above all other gods. Having heard Moses rehearse at length all the great things that the LORD had done in delivering and bringing Israel out of Egypt till “the mount of God”, which is Mount Horeb (cf. Exodus 18:5), Jethro was moved to renounce his heathenism, and proclaim the LORD as greater, higher and stronger than all other gods.
In declaring the matchless superiority of the LORD God, Jethro also said, “for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.” In other words, though the Egyptians dealt with Moses and Israel scornfully and tyrannically, the LORD showed Himself to be above them and their magicians, above their chariots and horses, above their mighty army, above their king and above their god. The LORD dealt with the proud Egyptians and drowned them in the sea. The proud dealings of the Egyptians were easily defeated by the LORD. He emphatically put them to shame as He triumphed over their arrogant deeds against His people.