Although he is hardly a major biblical figure, Jethro's significance far outweighs the few lines which the Bible devotes to him. He provided shelter to Moses during Moses' 40-year exile in Midian when the Pharaoh had sought his life. Jethro's beloved daughter Zipporah then became Moses' wife and later saved his life by circumcising his son. Thus, Jethro saved Moses from Satan, represented by Pharaoh, and Jethro's daughter saved Moses' life during a test from God.
Later, Jethro joined Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness and offered a sacrifice to the Hebrew God, the first non-Hebrew recorded as doing so. The Bible goes so far as to say the Jethro, Aaron, and the elders of Israel ate a sacred meal in God's presence. Jethro then advised Moses to teach God's laws to the Israelites and establish a system of administrative justice rather than deciding all cases himself. Tradition holds that the Kenites, a Canaanite/Midianite tribe that affiliated with the Israelite federation, were descended from Jethro. Modern scholars even speculate that it was Jethro who taught Moses God's "true" name of Yahweh, which was later confirmed by God in the story of the burning bush.
From a Unificationist viewpoint, Jethro is also important as an example of a person who supported intermarriage, offering the Hebrew stranger Moses his own daughter Zipporah. Although later Israelite tradition forbade marriage with foreigners, Moses himself thus took the daughter of a Midianite priest as his wife. Today, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon emphasizes that intermarriage is a key to establishing world peace by transcending racial, religious, and national barriers.