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Women of the Bible: Zipporah

Appearing in the Book of Exodus, Zipporah is known as the wife of Moses and the daughter of Jethro, who was a priest of Midian. In the Bible, we read that Moses escapes from Egypt and ends up working as a shepherd for Jethro , Zipporah’s father. This article discusses more religious links with Zipporah.

Moses comes across the daughters of Jethro, who are being scared away from a well by shepherd. After helping the ladies, he was invited to Jethro’s house, where he was given Zipporah has his wife. When Moses returned to Egypt, he brought along Zipporah, who would later save his life during their journey. Further along in the Bible, the pair had two sons together , Gershom and Eliezer.

With many passages in the Bible that has sparked debate with its interpretation, Zipporah is involved in some of the most difficult to understand sentences in the Book. The passage Exodus 4:24-27 below surrounds the arrival of Moses and Zipporah at an inn:

 24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Mosesa and was about to kill him.  25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it.b “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said.  26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
 27 The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him.  28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform.

One of the potential interpretations of the passage is that god (or an agent of God) attempts to kill Moses until Zipporah carries out a circumcision, while others, believe that their son, Gershom, was attacked. Some people feel that Moses almost kills his own son until Zipporah draws blood and pain through a circumcision, which causes Moses’ anger to fade.

Another interpretation includes one from Joseph Smith from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (seen below):

 24 And it came to pass, that the Lord appeared unto him as he was in the way, by the inn. The Lord was angry with Moses, and his hand was about to fall upon him, to kill him; for he had not circumcised his son.
  25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and circumcised her son, and cast the stone at his feet, and said, Surely thou art a bloody husband unto me.
  26 And the Lord spared Moses and let him go, because Zipporah, his wife, circumcised the child. And she said, Thou art a bloody husband. And Moses was ashamed, and hid his face from the Lord, and said, I have sinned before the Lord.
  27 And the Lord said unto Aaron, go into the wilderness to meet Moses, and he went and met him, in the mount of God; in the mount where God appeared unto him; and Aaron kissed him.