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