Zipporah: Wife of Moses

Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham

Zipporah: Wife of Moses

Women of The Bible

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Seeds of Promise Women of the Bible Zipporah: Wife of Moses
Exodus 2:11-25, Exodus 4:19-26, Exodus 18:1-9 Audio

Memory Verse: God saw the Israelites and took knowledge of them and concerned Himself about them [knowing all, understanding, remembering all]. Exodus 2:25 AMP


Devotional Reading: Exodus 2:11-25 AMP

11 One day, after Moses was grown, it happened that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of [Moses’] brethren. 12 He looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 He went out the second day and saw two Hebrew men quarreling and fighting; and he said to the unjust aggressor, Why are you striking your comrade? 14 And the man said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? Then Moses was afraid and thought, Surely this thing is known. 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh’s presence and [b]took refuge in the land of Midian, where he sat down by a well.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18 And when they came to Reuel [Jethro] their father, he said, How is it that you have come so soon today? 19 They said, An Egyptian delivered us from the shepherds; also he drew water for us and watered the flock. 20 He said to his daughters, Where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread. 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man; and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she bore a son, and he called his name Gershom [expulsion, or a stranger there]; for he said, I have been a stranger and a sojourner in a foreign land. 23 However, after a long time [nearly forty years] the king of Egypt died; and the Israelites were sighing and groaning because of the bondage. They kept crying, and their cry because of slavery ascended to God. 24 And God heard their sighing and groaning and [earnestly] remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the Israelites and took knowledge of them and concerned Himself about them [knowing all, understanding, remembering all].

A popular movie rendition of Exodus depicts Moses being cast out of Eqypt. The Bible confirms that Moses feared for his life because he had slain an Eqyptian and Pharoah sought to kill Moses. However, it says rather that Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh; and not that he was seized and cast out. Moses took refuge in the land of Midian. He found a well there and must have refreshed himself. Though Moses was on the run, it seems that God incubated Moses in a zone of safety – for Moses dwelt in the land of Midian forty years before being sent to Egypt to deliver the Israelites; and in those four decades, Pharaoh did not pressingly pursue him. If so Moses would have had to keep moving from place to place.

When Moses was at the well, the daughters of Midian came to water their father’s flock, (He, Reuel (Jethro) (meaning “Friend of God), their father, had no sons and his daughters tended the flock). Other shepherds taunted the daughters and forced them away from the well, but Moses rose up and defended the daughters and their father’s flocks, making the shepherds leave them and watering the flock of Jethro. The daughters of Jethro told their father how that an Egyptian had come to their aid and the flocks well watered because of him. Jethro told his daughters to invite Moses to eat bread with them and participate in their feast and reveling. Now, God had prepared an oasis in the desert for Moses, who was by divine placement, content to dwell in the land of Midian amongst the tents of Jethro; and Jethro gave Moses his eldest daughter, Zipporah, to marry. Zipporah bore Moses a son before the Exodus, and his name was Gershom (“meaning expulsion, or a stranger there]; for he [Moses] said, I have been a stranger and a sojourner in a foreign land” [[1]].

Near the end of Moses’ forty-year sojourn in the land of Midian, the Pharaoh from whom Moses fled had died in Egypt. And God was reminded of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when he heard to cries of the Israelites by reason of their severe slavery under Pharaoh.

Devotional Reading: Exodus 4:19-26 AMP

19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, Go back to Egypt; for all the men who were seeking your life [for killing the Egyptian] are dead. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on donkeys, and he returned to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And the Lord said to Moses, When you return into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all those miracles and wonders which I have put in your hand; but I will make him stubborn and harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn. 23 And I say to you, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, your firstborn. 24 Along the way at a [resting-] place, the Lord met [Moses] and sought to kill him [made him acutely and almost fatally ill]. 25 [Now apparently he had [b]failed to circumcise one of his sons, his wife being opposed to it; but seeing his life in such danger] Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it to touch [Moses’] feet, and said, Surely a husband of blood you are to me! 26 When He let [Moses] alone [to recover], Zipporah said, A husband of blood are you because of the circumcision.

Zipporah bore to Moses a second son, who apparently was not circumcised according to the Hebrew tradition. This younger son was Eliezer (meaning God is help, because Moses said that the God of his father was his help, and delivered him from the sword of Pharaoh) [2].

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. 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. God had made Moses deathly ill because of the lacking circumcision – he actually sought to kill Moses. Today, it is the circumcision of the heart that God requires of His people; to be holy because God is holy. After the circumcision of Moses’ youngest son, God “let him alone to recover.”

Zipporah did not understand that all the men of the Children of Israel were commanded to be circumcised. Any leader of this people must also be subject to the laws that were imposed by God on the people. Thus, Moses could not be able to fulfill his purpose as the deliverer of the Children of Israel when a man-child in his own house was not under the covenant of the people with God, which sign was given as circumcision, as a reminder of whose people they were and who was their God. Thankfully, Zipporah recognized the urgency of now, and did not delay to circumcise her son. By this she saved her family at a time when God was about to use them in a mighty way. What a tragedy could have befallen them had Zipporah refused to be subject to the law of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who spoke with Moses directly and made him a leader of his chosen people.

Devotional Reading: Exodus 18:1-9 AMP

Now Jethro [Reuel], the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after Moses had sent her back [to her father], And her two sons, of whom the name of the one was Gershom [ expulsion, or a stranger there], for Moses said, I have been an alien in a strange land; And the name of the other was Eliezer [God is help], for the God of my father, said Moses, was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh. And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with Moses’ sons and his wife to the wilderness where he was encamped at the mount of God [Horeb, or Sinai]. And he said [in a message] to Moses, I, your father-in-law Jethro, am come to you and your wife and her two sons with her. And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed in homage and kissed him; and each asked the other of his welfare and they came into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law all the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and all the hardships that had come upon them by the way and how the Lord delivered them. Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness the Lord had done to Israel in that He had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.

Moses sent his family back to his father-in-law Jethro in concern for their safety, until an opportune time when they could come to him peacefully. When the time came Jethro also went with them, or brought them to Moses, who received them all gladly. Jethro recognized that the God of Moses was the one, true God.


Footnotes

[1] Exodus 2:22

[2] Exodus 18:4

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