In the Talmud (TB Nedarim 32a), R. Yose explains that Moses delayed circumcising his youngest son, because doing so would force him to postpone his mission to Egypt by three days while the baby recovered. Zipporah quickly circumcised her son with a sharp stone and touched Moses' feet with the foreskin, saying "Surely you are a husband of blood to me!" She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!”. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Moses, who was about to lead the circumcised people of Israel, had not yet circumcised his own son. It is clear, however, that a son of Moses was not circumcised. The transfor-mation of Zipporah from a symbol of Midianite religion to a companion on their way ahead is the essence of the story told in these three short sentences. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Once we get the correct understanding of the passage, the hard questions that have plagued theologians for years will vanish. Zipporah had borne two sons to Moses, but he had failed to perform circumcision on his sons. Once Moses’ son was circumcised God no longer sought to kill Moses. Now, in verse 24, the underlined "him," refers not to Moses but to Pharaoh's firstborn son. Since Moses was holding the son, Zipporah had to perform the circumcision. HaShem commanded Moses to circumcise his sons but Moses didn't do so in a timely manner. The Lord met Moses at that place and tried to kill him. There is no need to ask these difficult questions. Moses and Zipporah are a picture of the two houses of Israel. 26 So the Lord let him alone. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet {with it}. The custom was, if the husband dies the wife can circumcise the son. Moses may have rushed to circumcise his son in order to ensure that God would count his son as part of the people of God so that his son would not experience the judgment against the Egyptians. Holman Christian Standard Bible So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son's foreskin, and threw it at Moses' feet. The Septuagint renders the passage, Zipporah, having taken a sharp knife, circumcised her son, and fell down at his (Moses’s) feet, and said, The blood of the circumcision of my child is stopped, and she went away from him; that is, she and her children went home to Midian, when she found the child was out of danger, and able to travel. Zipporah's complaint appears to pertain to something Moses failed to do. Many translations (even some KJV editions) begin a new section after verse 23 (often with a new section heading), obscuring the fact that "him" in verse 24 refers to Pharaoh's firstborn son mentioned in verse 23. Zipporah at the inn is the name given to an episode alluded to in three verses of the Book of Exodus. By the way there aren’t 3 houses. One must have been circumcised but why not the other? There were 2 sons. She touched his legs with the skin she had cut off and said, "My dear son, this blood will protect you." Zipporah quickly intervened, taking a flint knife to circumcise Gershom, in conformity with the prescribed sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Think about that. Judah or Israel. 26 So the Lord let him alone. As Moses was brought up as an Egyptian, he may not have been circumcised, and God consequently took offence, now that Moses was appointed. She only circumcised under great pressure from the Lord. Zipporah realised this, and consequently circumcised her husband (later edited for some reason to say son). Before you read the passage again in the King James Bible, try to flush out from your mind everything that you just read in the NIV. ( Ex.4:20. ) On the road, they stayed in an inn, where God came to kill Moses. * [ 4:25 ] Touching his feet : a euphemism most probably for the male sexual organ (see 2 Kgs 18:27 ; Is 7:20 ); whether the genitals of the child (after Zipporah circumcised him) or of Moses (after the circumcision of his son) is not clear. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The NIV and other translations that try to help the reader by replacing pronouns with names actually cause a stumbling block to the proper understanding of this passage. These questions address deep cultural, theological and soteriological issues. Zipporah saves Moses’ life by an emergency circumcision of one of her sons (Exodus 4:24, 26). (Exodus 2:1-10). Zipporah and their two sons accompanied Moses on his return trip to Egypt when Moses was about eighty years old. the LORD sought to kill “him”—either Moses or his son, but Zipporah circumcised her son and the LORD withdrew from “him.” Not only does Exodus 4 parallel Jacob’s journey home told in Genesis 32, it links Zipporah to other preserving, delivering women in the lives of the ancestors. - Durham states, "Zipporah circumcised her son, because if she had circumcised Moses, he would have been incapacitated for his journey." The problem is not with the answers, but with the questions. ( Log Out /  Did you ever wonder why the Lord sought to kill Moses or why Zipporah circumcised their son in such a way? This was a valid concern. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet {with it}. Through the blood of her son she renewed her marriage vow to Moses and saved him from God’s wrath. Moses fears for the safety of his son because the son had not yet entered into a covenant relationship with God. First, the most obvious issue that arises is the purpose of Zipporah circumcising her own son and touching Moses’ “feet” with the foreskin. Under the circumstances, Moses would have been incapacitated and they were already on the way to Egypt; God was satisfied by the ritual act (Exod 4:26). ( Rom.2: 25-27) For  circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law:but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. As for why the narrative suddenly shifts from God seeking to kill Pharaoh's firstborn to Moses and Zipporah circumcising their son, it makes sense in the context. WHY MOSES DID NOT CIRCUMCISE HIS SON . Moses’ life is spared when his wife circumcises their son. After the Exodus, Zipporah reunited with Moses in the wilderness (Exodus 18). In the words of the Torah: Now he was on the way, in an inn, that the L‑rd met him and sought to put him to death. The original Hebrew only has pronouns such as "he" and "him" in those places. God instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel is God’s first-born son. ( Log Out /  Neophyte’s Targum (Aramaic exposition of the Bible) puts in the mouth of Zipporah the words that Moses did not circumcise his son, because Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, opposed him. The underlined words above are words that were supplied by the NIV translators. That is why when the circumcision was over, verse 26 says, "he let him go." Did you ever look up the word gentile? Could it have been that Moses compromised his obedience  for Zipporahs sake in not carrying out the commandment to circumcise all the sons of Abraham. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” Now another question. People are asking the wrong questions because they are reading the passage incorrectly in faulty translations. Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites. The King James Version is Demonstrably Inerrant. Circumcision was not the same medical practice it is today, but circumcision was a sign of the covenant God had made with Abraham and his descendants. Looks like Moses was at deaths door. God was able to write "Moses" or "LORD" if he wanted to. “Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt. Verses 22-26 are summarized as follows: In verses 22-23, God tells Moses that God would kill Pharaoh's firstborn son. There is no scriptural basis for taking the life of a father who does not circumcise a son. The genitals are so private that they are not mentioned. Approach the text as if you are reading it for the first time. Moses came from the house of Levi and he was hid for three months. In verse 23 God had pronounced a judgment upon Pharaoh's son, but it may have been obvious to Moses that God's judgment affects not only the king of Egypt but all the Egyptians. Why did Zipporah circumcise her son rather than letting Moses do it? Moses failed to have his first born son by his cousin wife circumcised according to the tradition of the Horite Hebrew fathers (Horim). Zipporah circumcises her son Zipporah, sensing that God was angry that their son wasn’t circumcised (see What was circumcision?) These supplied names seem to make it easier for the reader to follow the narrative. This was a valid concern. Flint knife with bone handle Did Moses and Zipporah know the reason for the attack? Circumcision represents disobedience to the Torah(law). Disobedience maybe. But Zipporah circumcised her son with a flint knife. But God did not. This passage is rather uneventful and straightforward if we read it properly. Moses becomes her "bridegroom," her newly-acquired husband, because they both were culturally new persons. 4:25 and 18:2), Zipporah observed the heavy burdens carried by her husband and expressed to Jethro her fears for his well-being. In the Talmud (TB Nedarim 32a), R. Yose explains that Moses delayed circumcising his youngest son, because doing so would force him to postpone his mission to Egypt by three days while the baby recovered. In verse 23, God makes it clear that he will slay Pharaoh's firstborn son if Pharaoh refuses to let go of Israel. So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched his legs with it, ... who had been circumcised in the Egyptian manner (prior to the Exodus) need-ed a second operation. Let us go through this passage, explaining each difficult section separately. In verse 24, God locks his target on the firstborn son. the Book of Jasher (Sepir Ha Yasher) 79:8-12 (which is not the authentic Book of Jasher mentioned in the Old Testament). The boy should have been circumcised on the eighth day by Jethro, to whose household the child belonged according to the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Horite Hebrew people. As Moses comes under attack by God, Zipporah takes a flint knife and circumcises their son. Zipporah realized that he was being punished for not circumcising their newborn son. 24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met [Moses] and was about to kill him. The Exodus passage also refers to the term, "bridegroom of blood," in many translations. Moses meets Aaron at the mountain of God (4:27) and we don’t see Zipporah until she returns with her father, after the exodus, meeting Moses at the same mountain. Israel ultimately bore the “only begotten Son” Jesus Christ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Why did Moses not circumcise the infant? Zipporah casts the foreskin at Moses' feet and calls him a "bloody husband" simply because she is disgusted by the bloody procedure of circumcision. The difficult questions asked by scholars are easily answered, and some of them simply become irrelevant. Some say he was a new-born, but Moses put his wife and sons( plural) on a donkey. There have been many attempts to answer these questions, but they are all very speculative. God then left Moses alone (Exodus 4:24-26). The immediate question is, "Why is Moses not performing the circumcision?" Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Zipporah, Moses’ wife, saw what was happening and took the initiative to remove the uninvited guest on the journey, this un-corrected sin. Him '' in those places supplied names are incorrect “ Yes, my dear, You zipporah circumcised moses' son a of. 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