Family terminology designating male in-laws are not specific in Middle Eastern culture. Terms for a woman’s male relatives are the same for her father, brother or even grandfather. The ending ‘-el’ in Reu-el is Hebrew for ‘God’ suggesting he has a relationship with Elohim while Yitro is called a priest. In a patriarchal society, the men were the spiritual leaders of the family and it appears both Reu’el and Yitro have that position either with the title of el or the name Yitro.
Parashah 13: Sh’mot (Names) – EXODUS
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Nafatli, Gad, and Asher entered into Egypt as a nation of 70 Hebrews. They joined Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Their descendants increased and they grew very powerful. Centuries later, a Pharaoh came to power who knew nothing about Joseph and his family. The fear of Isra’el –– anti-semitism –– begins.