And Moses said unto Hobab, ‘¦Moses’ father-in-law: ‘We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said: I will give it you; come thou with us’¦’
And he said unto him: ‘I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.’
And he said: ‘Leave us not, I pray thee…’
Although Moses’ entreaty is never answered, commentators both classical and modern are unanimously agreed that his father-in-law can’t have returned home. How else can the reference to his descendants – the Kenites – in the Book of Judges be explained?
Yet in the context of parashat Behaalot’cha, it’s much less clear. Hobab – formerly known as Yitro – was Moses’ management consultant. Back in Shemot 18, Yitro advised Moses to create a hierarchy of officials and delegate authority, telling him, ‘The business is too heavy for you; you can’t do it alone.’