This interpretation is followed by some Jewish exegetes. Zipporah realized that he was being punished for not circumcising their newborn son. Zipporah's complaint appears to pertain to something Moses failed to do. Once we get the correct understanding of the passage, the hard questions that have plagued theologians for years will vanish. - Durham states, "Zipporah circumcised her son, because if she had circumcised Moses, he would have been incapacitated for his journey." God must have brought it to their attention because Zipporah took action to circumcise her son; the point being how else would she have known that circumcision of the son was the exact thing that would save Moses’ life. But Zipporah circumcised her son with a flint knife. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Circumcision represents disobedience to the Torah(law). In verse 24, God locks his target on the firstborn son. 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. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. There have been many attempts to answer these questions, but they are all very speculative. (Exodus 2:1-10). Here is a grown boy who. Change ). You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. But the problem is that these supplied names are incorrect. She took the physical embodiment of this rebellion and placed it under Moses’ heel. Moses fears for the safety of his son because the son had not yet entered into a covenant relationship with God. God was able to write "Moses" or "LORD" if he wanted to. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. These supplied names seem to make it easier for the reader to follow the narrative. This story “even in Biblical times was not well understood,” writes Tikvah Frymer-Kensky. This interpretation also makes sense narratologically because the previous verse speaks of God promising to kill Pharaoh's firstborn son. It is clear, however, that a son of Moses was not circumcised. 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. The Lord met Moses and tried to kill him. Read the passage again and see how simple it is. Then she said to Moses, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 Zipporah said this because she had to circumcise … When we read the passage in the King James Bible we get the correct understanding of the passage. Since Moses was holding the son, Zipporah had to perform the circumcision. This passage is rather uneventful and straightforward if we read it properly. and that this omission had caused Moses’ illness, stepped in. ( 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. 26 So the Lord let him alone. Israel ultimately bore the “only begotten Son” Jesus Christ. The Exodus passage also refers to the term, "bridegroom of blood," in many translations. Punishment for failing to be circumcis. The narrative begins with a picture of Zipporah circumcising her son. ( Log Out /  Zipporah circumcises her son Zipporah, sensing that God was angry that their son wasn’t circumcised (see What was circumcision?) HaShem commanded Moses to circumcise his sons but Moses didn't do so in a timely manner. Thus in verse 25, Zipporah circumcises her son as Moses holds him still. Why did Moses not circumcise the infant? 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. There is no scriptural basis for taking the life of a father who does not circumcise a son. (Moses had delayed the brit milah due to the rigors of travel.) Moses becomes her "bridegroom," her newly-acquired husband, because they both were culturally new persons. Possibly Moses suffered an illness or seizure. This interpretation makes sense grammatically because the nearest antecedent is "firstborn" in verse 23. 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. The difficult questions asked by scholars are easily answered, and some of them simply become irrelevant. This passage has perplexed many students of the word over the years. Why did Zipporah circumcise her son rather than letting Moses do it? Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? No house of gentiles there. Sinai (Ex. There is no need to ask these difficult questions. Approach the text as if you are reading it for the first time. Think about that. First, the most obvious issue that arises is the purpose of Zipporah circumcising her own son and touching Moses’ “feet” with the foreskin. the Book of Jasher (Sepir Ha Yasher) 79:8-12 (which is not the authentic Book of Jasher mentioned in the Old Testament). his sons was being circumcised, whether Gershom or Eliezer. People are asking the wrong questions because they are reading the passage incorrectly in faulty translations. Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). ( Log Out /  She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” Did Moses and Zipporah know the reason for the attack? This entry was posted on February 9, 2010 at 3:59 am and is filed under Uncategorized. 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. 24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met [Moses] and was about to kill him. She concludes, “But within the enigma, the figure of Zipporah is decisive and clear. Moses failed to have his first born son by his cousin wife circumcised according to the tradition of the Horite Hebrew fathers (Horim). Moses, who was about to lead the circumcised people of Israel, had not yet circumcised his own son. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Circumcision of son of Moses, Jan Baptist Weenix ca 1640. She took the skin and touched his feet. Zipporah quickly intervened, taking a flint knife to circumcise Gershom, in conformity with the prescribed sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. (I found this comment amusing) If you're curious as to what a flint rock looks like, here are two examples. So why was the first born son of Moses and Zipporah not circumcised? 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. As Moses comes under attack by God, Zipporah takes a flint knife and circumcises their son. Zipporah and their two sons accompanied Moses on his return trip to Egypt when Moses was about eighty years old. Upon rejoining Moses at Mt. She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!”. 24 Along the way they stopped for the night. The term "bloody husband" is merely Zipporah's criticism of a husband who performs an apparently strange and bloody procedure. The Lord met Moses at that place and tried to kill him. * [ 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. These scholars are thinking too hard. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife and circumcised her son. Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites. The underlined words above are words that were supplied by the NIV translators. Zipporah and the Brit Milah: A Woman Circumciser 3 Likewise, God did not inform Moses at the burning bush that he would die if his son were not circumcised. This "he" is Moses because the nearest male antecedent is "bloody husband." Ex.4:24-25. Through the blood of her son she renewed her marriage vow to Moses and saved him from God’s wrath. 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. In verse 23, God makes it clear that he will slay Pharaoh's firstborn son if Pharaoh refuses to let go of Israel. Obviously Moses’ neglect regarding his own son was inexcusable and compromised the validity of God’s full message to humanity. WHY MOSES DID NOT CIRCUMCISE HIS SON . However, Moses took care of the lodging arrangements on the way before attending to his son's circumcision, and that is what angered God. God had the foreknowledge of Pharaoh's refusal to let Israel go, so God was already prepared to seek the death of the firstborn son. 26 So the Lord let him alone. 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. Now, in verse 24, the underlined "him," refers not to Moses but to Pharaoh's firstborn son. This much-debated passage is one of the more perplexing conundrums of the Pentateuch . Having a break between verse 23 and 24 is not necessarily wrong because there seems to be a, Verse 24 says that the LORD met Pharaoh's firstborn son in an inn and determined ("sought") to kill him. This much-debated passage is one of the more perplexing conundrums of the Torah . 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. Verses 22-26 are summarized as follows: In verses 22-23, God tells Moses that God would kill Pharaoh's firstborn son. This was a valid concern. 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. There were 2 sons. Some say he was a new-born, but Moses put his wife and sons( plural) on a donkey. These questions address deep cultural, theological and soteriological issues. Imagine the situation. ( Log Out /  So Moses would have been circumcised by eight days old. She touched his legs with the skin she had cut off and said, "My dear son, this blood will protect you." This was a valid concern. Judah or Israel. 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. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet {with it}. Zipporah was apparently opposed to circumcision, thus Moses’ second son had not been circumcised before Moses began to lead his family back to the land of Egypt. The King James Version is Demonstrably Inerrant. The Circumcision of son of Moses, Jan Baptist Weenix ca 1640 Zipporah at the inn is the name given to an episode alluded to in three verses of the Book of Exodus . 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). It was because of the circumcision that she said at that time, “You are a bridegroom of blood!”. 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. 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. 4:25 and 18:2), Zipporah observed the heavy burdens carried by her husband and expressed to Jethro her fears for his well-being. The problem is not with the answers, but with the questions. The immediate question is, "Why is Moses not performing the circumcision?" This phrase is not about God letting Moses go, but about Moses letting his son go after the circumcision was over. ( Ex.4:20. ) 25 Then Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet {with it}. “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. Some translations might be easier to read, but they may not be easier to understand. Zipporah saves Moses’ life by an emergency circumcision of one of her sons (Exodus 4:24, 26). Holman Christian Standard Bible So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son's foreskin, and threw it at Moses' feet. Zipporah is a type of the church, a descendant of Abraham. Moses and Zipporah are a picture of the two houses of Israel. One must have been circumcised but why not the other? The genitals are so private that they are not mentioned. God then left Moses alone (Exodus 4:24-26). However, this question cannot be answered without discovering who she was trying to save: Moses or Gershom, her son. Moses finally tells the people of Israel of the tenth plague – killing all The answer is that Moses had to hold on to the son so that the son would stay still. 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. Zipporah at the inn is the name given to an episode alluded to in three verses of the Book of Exodus. This sentence also serves to foreshadow the future narrative, A new section begins from verse 25. ... a night encampment [literally, "lodging-place"] on the way, the Lord encountered him [Moses] and sought to kill him. Moses came from the house of Levi and he was hid for three months. Zipporah, Moses’ wife, saw what was happening and took the initiative to remove the uninvited guest on the journey, this un-corrected sin. One has to be grafted into one of these two. She only circumcised under great pressure from the Lord. Biblical event recorded in the book of Exodus. ( Log Out /  So Zipporah immediately circumcised their son and saved Moses’ life (Exodus 4:24–26). Scripture says that she then takes their son's foreskin and touches Moses' feet with it. She touched his legs with the skin she had cut off and said, “My dear son, this blood will protect you.” So the Lord did not harm Moses. Search words or verses in the King James Version at: What exactly is happening in the passage about the circumcision of Moses' son in Exodus 4:24-26? Did you ever look up the word gentile? Some scholars believe that the term "bridegroom of blood" (same as "bloody husband" in the KJV) signifies Zipporah's religious idea about blood sacrifice and covenant. "Feet" is a Hebrew euphemism for “private parts” (our own English euphemism for genitals). That is why when the circumcision was over, verse 26 says, "he let him go." Moses’ life is spared when his wife circumcises their son. Immediately Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son’s genitalia, and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely, a bloody husband art thou to me.” Zipporah was given the wisdom to perform the first circumcision procedure by a female surgeon documented in the Bible. Once Moses’ son was circumcised God no longer sought to kill Moses. Exodus 4:24-26 (GW) Disobedience maybe. Along the way, God came without warning to kill Moses. The original Hebrew only has pronouns such as "he" and "him" in those places. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The question remains: why did Moses resist such a clear command of God and did not circumcise his son? So would this explain the reaction of  Zipporah. While on the way the Lord "met [Moses] and sought to put him to death" (Exodus 4:24). 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. Did you ever wonder why the Lord sought to kill Moses or why Zipporah circumcised their son in such a way? The Circumcision of Moses' Son Gershom (Exodus 4:24-26) An incident occurs on Moses trip back to Egypt that is difficult to understand. " 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!" Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. But God did not. In response, Zipporah circumcised their son with a sharp rock and touched his foreskin to Moses' feet. But Zipporah circumcised her son with a flint knife. The … Then Zipporah said, “Yes, my dear, you are safe because of this circumcision. The Lord met Moses and tried to kill him. Because Moses had not circumcised his son, HaShem was going to kill him. Zipporah had borne two sons to Moses, but he had failed to perform circumcision on his sons. Looks like Moses was at deaths door. Thus verse 24 belongs together in the same episode as that of verse 23. In verse 26, the circumcision is. Was she upset with the Law? By the way there aren’t 3 houses. We do know that Zipporah was familiar with circumcision because she took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son. On the road, they stayed in an inn, where God came to kill Moses. God instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel is God’s first-born son. As Moses was brought up as an Egyptian, he may not have been circumcised, and God consequently took offence, now that Moses was appointed. It consequently only makes sense if Zipporah has circumcised her son, Gershom, and then symbolically transferred that circumcision to Moses by taking the foreskin and touching Moses’ genitals. 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. Unlike his Egyptian peers, he was circumcised. Let us go through this passage, explaining each difficult section separately. When the passage is read correctly in the King James Bible, the passage becomes easy to understand. Flint knife with bone handle Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. After the Exodus, Zipporah reunited with Moses in the wilderness (Exodus 18). Zipporah casts the foreskin at Moses' feet and calls him a "bloody husband" simply because she is disgusted by the bloody procedure of circumcision. It was because of the circumcision that she said at … And shall not circumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 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