CLAIM: The Bible calls Moses’ father in law Reuel (Ex. 2:18), Jethro (Ex. 3:1), and Hobab (Judg. 4:11). Why the mix up?
RESPONSE: Ancient Near Eastern culture gave multiple names for people and cities, depending on the context. For instance, God is given multiple names in the OT (e.g. Yahweh and Elohim). Gideon was also named Jerubbaal (Judg. 8:29, 35). In addition, we need to consider that the Hebrew term for father (‘ab or ‘abba) could also mean “grandfather.” It’s possible that these were all patriarchs in the family, and they are not meant to be the same person (c.f. Num. 10:29).