“Moses agreed to stay with the [Jethro], who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.” – Exodus 2:21-22
“At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. ‘Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,’ she said. So the Lord let him alone.” – Exodus 4:24-26
If you read that passage in Exodus 4 and your response is:
- a whole lot of questions
- any of the above.
You are right. This passage has stymied students of the scriptures for generations.
Why did God tell Moses to go to Egypt and then try to kill him along the way?
How did Zipporah know God was trying to kill Moses?
How did Zipporah know what to do? And why did that work?
I could go on but I am sure that you’re able to list all the odd questions on your own. Scholars have scratched their heads about the answers to these for centuries. Instead of getting mired in this biblical quandary, let’s look at Zipporah.
Zipporah was the daughter of Jethro, a priest of Midian. As any pastor’s kid will tell you, you pick up on a thing or two about faith and ritual when your parent is a religious leader. She was raised in Midian which many Biblical scholars believe to be region where Mount Sinai is located (Mount Sinai = burning bush, 10 Commandments). Zipporah is only mentioned 3 times in the scriptures with Exodus 4 being her most dramatic act.
While so much of that 3 verse story remains a mystery one thing is clear, Zipporah saved Moses. How and why she did it is murky but the fact she saved him is undisputed.
Moses is often given the appellation, ‘Deliverer.’ Through him God delivered, God saved Israel. One time, Moses even saved the people from God.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to trust in me?…I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them.’
Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear about it!…They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that your cloud stays over them…If you put all these people to death the nations will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion’…In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people.’
The Lord replied, ‘I have forgiven them, as you asked.’” – Numbers 14:11-20
Before Moses became a deliverer, he was first delivered. He was able to advocate for others because Zipporah stepped up for him. Moses was able to give from what he had received. May we all acknowledge and celebrate what we have been given. And then may we look for divinely appointed opportunities to give from what we have received.