One of the most enigmatic Torah events (that, frankly, runs contrary to our modern logic) is found in Exodus 4:24-26. There, after commissioning Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, God came to kill him (Ex.4:24-26).  What follows is the NASB translation along with several of my own modifications as supported by the Hebrew text. I am indebted to Michael Heiser for the core idea discussed in this article.

It happened on the way to the lodging place that the LORD met him [Moses] and sought his death (וַיְבַקֵּשׁ הֲמִיתוֹ). Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched his feet (וַתַּגַּע לְרַגְלָיו), and she said, “This is because you are a bridegroom of blood to me” (כִּי חֲתַן-דָּמִים אַתָּה לִי). So He let him alone. At that time, she said, “You – a bridegroom of blood” – because of the circumcision.

The key to this passage lies in realizing that Moses was not properly circumcised. Growing up in the Egypt, Moses and the rest of Israelites did not fully remove the male’s foreskin (growing up in the Egyptian Royal home, it could not have been otherwise). In the time of Joshua, Israelites went through a second, proper circumcision, where foreskin was fully removed (Josh. 5:2-3). All of this sounds trivial, gross, and strange to the ears of modern Christian believers, but clearly it was not how YHWH saw this situation. In other words, Israelites could be delivered while still being uncircumcised, but the leader of the Exodus would be held to a higher standard.

Moses was about to embark on “Operation Exodus” without the sign of the Abrahamic covenant on him or his son Gershom. When God came to seek his life, Moses’ Medianite wife Zipporah intervened to save him. God’s wrath was turned away by the blood of the son and decisive redemptive action of a Midianite woman. 

This explains God’s seemingly strange behavior. But how can we understand the words of Zipporah (“You are bridegroom of blood to me”)?

Circumcision was not only a sign to the man of his entrance into the Abrahamic covenant.  It also served as a sign to his bride that the man she was marrying was, in fact, a worshiper of the Most High God.  A man who was properly circumcised was a “bridegroom of blood” to her.

But why did Zipporah touch the foreskin of Gershom to the “feet” of Moses? The most likely scenario is that the “feet” of Moses refers to Moses’ procreative organ (a common euphemism in the Hebrew Bible).

At the time, Moses’ procreative organ was not properly marked with the sign of Abrahamic covenant. After (properly) circumcising Gershom, Zipporah touched Moses’ procreative organ as if he was already properly circumcised. When this great woman of faith did that, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob spared the life of Moses, making him ready to deliver God’s Ancient people. We invite you to delay no longer and commit to discovering the original meaning of the Hebrew Bible. Register below and begin your journey of discovery.

The Bible is full of passages like this – passages that leave many people confused and perplexed. The key to understanding these “confusing” passages is to gain a better understanding of the Bible’s Jewish context.

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  1. you my friend miss the whole point of this. May the Spirit of Holy open your eyes to the cost Elohim was to bring upon the people of Israel through the Redeemer that was to come and did and is to come again soon…..His is coming for His Bride…..

  2. Since Moses was three months old when he was put in the basket, would he not have already been circumcised at eight days old? Or do you think that because his parentsvwere trying to hide him they wouldn’t have done anything to make him cry? Also, Pharoah’s daughter immediately knew Moses was Hebrew, could it be that it was because he was circumcised?

  3. What Joshua did in 5 v 2-3 was because none of those who crossed the Jordan had been circumcised. There were very few Israelites who crossed the Jordan who had been born in Egypt; every man who left Egypt who was 20 years old at the time of the Exodus died in the wilderness.

  4. Wonderful insight again Dr. Eli, on a section that truly is “One of the most enigmatic Torah events” for so many of us. Thank you. Even the term, “Bridegroom of blood to me” has been a puzzle to me. (the Blood Covenant- I suppose there is a whole lesson of the relationship between husband and wife also?) Thank you as always. Reminds me again that I will enroll in your courses- if I can figure out which offer to choose…? Will do 1 last inquiry to your assistant…. see you in class….!

  5. It still doesn’t explain why he gave him the job when he knew he wasn’t circumcised properly in the first place. I guess since God operates out of the time continuum, he knew his wife would make the blood sacrifice, is that right?

    • ” For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. ” Isaiah 55:8
      Most of what God does, it seems, is not reasonable to Man.

  6. Do you believe that God actually considered killing Moses, or do you think that that is what the people who wrote about it thought?

  7. The Samaritan version says “And it came about at the inn on the way that Shehmaa met him and sought to stun him. And Seebbooraa took a flint and she circumcised her blocked heart, and she brought herself to his feet.” There is no problem of god wanting to kill Moses and of him not being circumcised.

  8. Jos_5:5  Although everyone who had left Egypt had been circumcised, nevertheless all the people born during the journey after their departure from Egypt had not been circumcised. This seems to include Moses. Gershom however was in Midian and was not circumcised. This meant that Gershom was in violation of Abraham’s third covenant with God which had a penalty of being cut off from Israel, since Moses had not ensured this was done, he would hardly be seen as an example of following God’s commands. Thoughts?

    • They were circumcised but most-likely (certainly in the case of MOSES, remember he was accepted into Egyptian Royal home and grew up there!) according Egyptian circumcision custom that split, but did not fully remove the foreskin. So while is not bullet proof case I still stick to my guns here that it was not GERSHOM, but Moses that was the issue. Your interpretation is ok, but the reading I propose actually explains why Zipporah uses the kind of terminology she does (you are now the bridegroom of blood to ME).

  9. Shalom Dr Eli Lizorkin. Your messages are uplifting. they are a blessing, may the Lord continue to bless you. But in this passage Zipporah the wife of Moses circumcised his son, I believe that Moses was circumcised, but he had not circumcised his son; therefore the Lord wanted to kill the son of Moses, as I interpret, it is probable that the wife of Moses did not agree with the circumcision and as Moses lived in his lands he did not want to displease with his wife, who called him a bloodthirsty husband because of the circumcision.

    • Dear Helder, disagreement and divorce thinking is a good thing in my mind. (please, make sure to post in English, I had to google translate and repost from Spanish) 🙂

  10. This whole story is interesting, I think. The sign of circumcision is to indicate inclusion in B’nei Yisra’el, vis a vis the Abrahmic Covenant. However, I suspect that Moshe was ‘too old’ to be circumcised himself, but the blood from Gershom’s circumcision would suffice to show his intention – with Zipporah’s help and verbal acceptance / approval. But it is here words which bring it all together – “You are a bridegroom of blood to me”. This indicates that it was all SHE needed to accept Moshe’s, shall we say, “advances”, and this was enough for HaShem to accept …

  11. cont’d… that the sons of Moshe would be raised in a Jewish manner. But the words of Zipporah are also Prophetic – For they foreshadow the concept of Our relationship with Y’shua. He is, after all – by His own blood – a bridegroom to us, in a manner similar, yet more directly, than Moshe – for He allowed that his OWN blood would be shed for us.

  12. I am a bit surprised that the significance of the name of Zipporah seems to have gone unnoticed here. Judges 7:3 mentions : “.., let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. – .., יָשֹׁב וְיִצְפֹּר מֵהַר הַגִּלְעָד “. “ZPR” means “to depart from, to turn away from”. In carrying out this circumcision, it seems that Zipporah together with Moses turn themselves away from the Midianite and Egyptian customs into a bride-bridegroom-covenant of blood with the Lord. Please remember the Covenant of blood between the Lord and Moses and Moses vs. the Israelites (Exodus 24:8).

    • Shalom, Francois. Thank you for your helpful comment. ZPR is important to look at (in a large study no doubt), but to my knowledge unlike Egyptian circumcision Medianite circumcision was the same as Israelite.

  13. Thank you Dr, Eli. I fully subscribe to your exposition. The way I understand the process of circumcision and taking into account the immediate effects thereafter, I do not see how Moses would have been properly circumcised without betraying that he was a Hebrew. It seems incredible to assume a ‘maid’ (her mother) so to speak would be given the latitude to circumcise a child entrusted to mind. May God continue to bless you Sir. Funds permitting, I will one day join your classes

  14. I have always thought that the God in the old testament was a petty tyrant and not someone who engendered respect except through fear. Therefore I have doubted that his actions were actual but rather written by priests who wished to control the people for their own ends. Far different from the NT God who is a God of love , forgives and turns the other cheek.

    • Perhaps rather than listen to what you have been taught,you should actually read the OT and you will see that YHWH really is a God of Love. Jesus is the image of YHWH and fully reflected his qualities. If you are attracted to Jesus, it is because he reflects his Father. People misrepresent YHWH and have even conspired to remove his holy name from the Bible where it was originally found almost seven thousand times. Remember,Jesus worshipped YHWH and restated the Shema.

  15. Sorry, these verses never made sense to me in the flow of chapter 4. They always seemed like a scribe lost his place and inserted out of context verses. God instructed Moses how to interact with Aaron and the Egyptian pharaoh, and then came to kill him before he did either? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  16. Hmm… maybe more than a little speculation here? All we know is that the Lord “sought to kill him.“ The only antecedent for HIM that we can conjecture from context is that of either Moishe or his son. The latter seems to make the most sense, given that in the verse immediately preceding 4:24, the Lord is threatening to kill the firstborn of Egypt if Pharaoh does not let His people go. As another commentor said, the most likely connection with Pharaoh’s daughter immediately recognizing Moses as a Hebrew was the giveaway mark of his circumcision.

  17. There was no room for negotiation in the guidelines for covenant with YHWH. In the moment that Moishe decided not to circumcise his own son, he had broken the terms for covenant with his G d, and could be cut off – both spiritually and physically. Most improbable of all (to me) is all the detailing about Zipporah touching and atoning for Moishe’s “procreative organ” which all seems to based upon a premise that is simply not established. Is “feet” really so common a euphemism in the OT? Some might conjecture that “feet“ was a more polite way of asking

  18. Ruth to lie at the feet of Boaz (just how would THAT establish her as the fine woman of G d and mother in Israel that Boaz recognized her to be?), but it makes perfectly good sense that she would put herself at his feet as a symbol of submission to his lordship and position of covering as husband. Furthermore, when the twenty-four elders cast their crowns at the feet of the LORD, that is precisely what they are doing: throwing their crowns before Him as a sign that His majesty and rulership far surpasses and engulfs their own, as

  19. Maybe the Church of Rome might not believe in being circumcised however not all of the Christians in America follow Rome. A few months back Pope Francis quoted:”Being circumcised was not necessary” in one of his news articles. Isreal many Christians have stood up and followed the rules of the God of Israel also by being circumcised. Reason for the Circumcised law is because of it cut down on animal nature desires. Moses biggest problem was he wanted to save everyone was the biggest conflict. I came to a conclusion biggest problem was his ego.

  20. Very interesting article. However Moses had devout parents who would have (doubtless?) circumcised him at eight days of age, long before he was found in the bulrushes. Thus the argument that because he was brought up in the palace as “the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” and was therefore not circumcised is probably not correct.

    • I agree with you Martin. I am sure he was circumcised. Pharaoh’s daughter who found Moses (Bithiah= ‘daughter of Yah{YHWH}’-yes I googled it), ‘felt sorry for him’ because he was crying in the basket. She states, ‘This is one of the Hebrew children…’ I would say, that God touched her heart…look at the meaning of her name…’daughter of YHWH!’ It was part of GODs plan, of course, and HE had her in the right place and the right time for the right connection…rescue HIS Chosen Hebrew child, Moses. She knew he was Hebrew-Gen 2.

      • I was raised Catholic and always believed that pharaoh’s daughter found the baby (Moses) in the basket in the water wrapped in his Hebrew blanket and that is how she knew he was Hebrew. I also believe that pharoah’s daughter saw the mother place the baby in the water. I don’t believe he was circumcised. Also, he grew up with Ramses and they would have seen his circumcision if or when they bathed, swam and played together.

        • Rameses lived hundreds of years later that Moses.

          The discussion has forgotten to answer why God was about to kill Moses, His representative, in the first place

  21. Thanks for your view. However, consider this: Ex 4:25 says …’cast’ it at his feet…(KJV), implying frustration on her part. Could there have been some contentious argument between Zipporah and her husband, who might have warned her of the consequences of, possibly, her preventing their son’s circumcision until then?

    • clearly! However, throwing it at his feet does not explain the phrase that YOU ARE NOW THE BRIDEGROOM OF BLOOD TO ME.

  22. It is here in this passage that we learn to understand the power of Declaration of Action. Zipporah declared her action with the recognition statement of the Blood Covenant of Circimcision. In the same way, Yeshua, prior to his death on the cross declared of the sup cup of wine, “This is my Blood”. Let us not forget the Power to Declare as it was given unto Adam in “The Beginning” the Power to Declare a name or an animal or marriage to Eve.

  23. Shalom Melehem to all, I love these 2 biblical characters and how Moshe’ Rabainu undergoes a spiritual preparation in the wilderness (Madian) by our most high blessed be HE. Moshe’ understands that he can no longer procrastinate with the circumcision of Gershom. Moshe’ and his family were traveling back to Egypt to introduce his Medianite family to Aharon and Merium. However, Moshe’ falls ill and cannot continue his journey. Sephora then takes action to save Moshe’ from GOD’s wrath and intervened. Pharaohs daughter understood that baby Moses was Hebrew by the blanket he was wrapped in.

  24. Avraham got circumcised when he was old. The Bible is clear in Hebrew context. There are so many excuses about circumcision of heart. It is really surprising how the plain truth can be twisted.

    • Jamaican cost is heavily discounted, but if that is still prohibitive I suggest that you look for a partner to do the course together with.

  25. Very interesting comments so far. I too believe that Moses was fully circumcised and could identify himself as jew prior to his flight to the Midian . Let us also remember that Zipporah’s dad was the priest of Midian. He would later on even counsel Moses on how to “judge” the Hebrews after crossing the Red Sea. From Genesis 25, we noticed that Abraham had other children with Keturah, a concubine, one of whom was Midian. Abraham blessed these 6 or 7 children and sent them away to the East. It would appear that out of this son, Midian, came

  26. Out of Abraham’s son Midian, emerged the midianites. The Priest of Midian was the one Moses was sent to, to learn about the God of Abraham for 40 years before his encounter with God on Mt. Sinai. The Midianites would have known about circumcision because Abraham circumcised all his children, workers and soldiers. Thus, Zipporah would have known about circumcision and therefore acted at the crucial moment knowing that Moses failure to circumcise Gershom was the source of God’s anger. By her action, she broke away from her and her child’s past to fully follow her man and his God.

  27. Jehovah in those days had many Priests representing him thruout the middle east. Such as the priest of On whose daughter Joseph had married 400 yrs earlier. Joseph would never marry outside the Covenant & a prominent Egyptian would never marry a Hebrew. Also the corrupt priest Balaam. They may not have been under obligation to the Abrahamic Covenant of circumcision. The passage still does not make sense & I think there has been a loss in transmission.

  28. I did a little homework and found that “Blood Husband”, is an NIV translation. However, KJV states “Bloodied Husband”, and makes more sense. Moshe had to hold Gershon while Zipora conducted the circumcision. Shalom

    • NIV in this case is more faithful. it HUSBAND OF BLOODS (literally). Bloodied is diffidently wrong direction.

  29. As I was reading Isaiah 53 today, I am very much interested in reading the Hebrew expression of it. Do you have this? If not, is it possible for it be done as a lecture or blog? Please? Thank you.Shalom!

  30. Ok. Thank you Dr. Eli. I’m disappointed, but I understand. I believe the Hebrew expression would be much more of a reality than any other. It would truly be an amazing read. Thank you Dr. Eli. Shalom! GOD Bless Israel and her People!

  31. The explanation to this puzzling episode seems to be answered by the covenant Abraham made with God in Genesis 17:9-14, specifically, 17:11-12 “ you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the sing of the covenant between Me and you. And throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days.” Clearly, circumcision marks a male as being a member of the covenant, likewise, non-circumcision marks the male as being a non-member of the covenant. By not circumcising his son, Moses was excluding him from the covenant. By excluding his

    • Terry, that is that yes… but please reread the post your explanation (that is really a traditional one) does not explain a phrase of your husband of blood to me.

  32. Moses did not circumcised his children non himself which is against the law of the scripture, but God being so merciful forgave him and the wife advice’s him to carryout circumcision.

  33. Moses on a mission from God and he didn’t have his own basic responsiblites to God in order.Good thing he had a female descendant of Abraham’s second actual wife to clue him in.

  34. This is interesting, i took my time to read all the comments, Dr. Eli thank you for generating such discussions and contributions, to me i am learning from lame man point of view. I am a preacher, this conversion fired up my spirit.
    To end, i will say, God works in a mysterious way, his ways are not the ways of man, in the package of his design for redemption , every thing will work together to fulfill his plan. It is man’s perception and philosophy that confuses Biblical scriptures, but God is not confuse. His works are perfect Shalom

  35. Totally wrong. It is a cosmic myth. Moses (Mises=hero Assyrian) is Marduk, the solar god of the vernal equinox. She touched Gershom’s foot with the flint as in the foot of Orion being stung. She didn’t touch Moses’ foot, Moses’ name is not in the sentence. God attempts to kill Moses because he visited the star Al Gor, the burning bush, which is sinister. Zipporah, one of 7 sisters is in the Pleadies, which was also the Zu bird in Babylon at the city of Ur. (Zipporah=bird)

    • Moses visited the star Al Gor? This is creative, Michael, but I’m not convinced yet. What exactly are you saying? What do you conclude if there were a connection here?

    • I always thought Al Gor was Vice President under President Bill Clinton (lol!). But in all seriousness, Michael Ledo, you are obviously trying turn the Scriptures into a book of New Age nonsense. What’s next? Placing the Aquarius Gospel of Jesus Christ as what should have been in the New Testament rather than the four Divinely inspired Gospels?

  36. Most interesting . I have never heard this being discussed or focused on before, will definitely investigate same. There is always something new to understand about the scriptures especially from a hebrew perspective which I think would be more correct. Thank you for all the comments and answers and information

  37. I feel like this & Moses should’ve said then why choose me & U r a God so then why not already circumcize males in womb if U feel this strongly about it?My mom once said 2 me if God wanted holes in Ur ears he would’ve put them there.She did allow me 2 get my ears pierced.If I had a son I would wait 4 him 2 make that decision I don’t feel as parents U should possess Ur children & offer them every choice there is not just 1’s U want them 2 take & make

  38. I appreciate the insight and difference of opinion on this subject. I would have to agree that if creator God, The God of All that was, is, or will ever be, came to comfront Moses and reclaim his very life from him, that it does not seem logical that it was because of any bodily imperfection on Moses part. As he did in fact stand in the presence of The Most High and recieve instruction from him, to take the law to the Hebrew children/people. It stand perfectly plausible and logical as well as literally accurate to surmise that Gods

  39. towards Moses, was due to his failure to follow Gods command on the circumcision of his child.
    My question would be, how did you come to your conclusion?

  40. Dear Dr. Eli,
    Greetings. This is about the second son of Moses and NOT Moses. The first born was circumcised, but when the wife of Moses saw the experience, she did not permit the circumcision of the second son of Moses. So it was NOT Moses that God sought to destroy, but the second son of Moses. That’s why the wife of Moses quickly circumcised him to avoid the disaster. The problem may be the use of NASB or other defective translations. I suggest you stick with the King James Version. You will not go wrong.

  41. Long before Moses, circumcision was done by the “seed” of Abraham. Also, “a man from the house of Levi took a wife from the house of Levi”, and these two were the parents of Moses. Additionally, Moses lived with his mother for the first three months of his life, and circumcision normally occurs on the eight day. So, it could be doubtful assumption that Moses was not circumcised. The issue of the Gershom and his circumcision requires a separate response. BUT, it’s a prophetic event that hints at the seven churches being circumcised in their hearts and minds.

  42. tslawson1@yahoo.comThe Septuagint translators resolve the difficulty this way or they had a manuscript that differed from the MT:
    Exodus 4:24-26 Now it happened on the way at the lodging, an angel of the Lord met him and was seeking to kill him. And Sepphora took took a pebble and circumcised the foreskin of her son, and she fell at his feet and said, “The blood of the circumcision of my child is staunched.” And he went away from him, because she said, “The blood of the circumcision of my child is staunched.”
    (Ex. 4:24-26 NETS)

    It is the angel of Yhwh that is seeking to kill the child and it seems Sepphora bows down to the angel and offers up the foreskin to him with the words The blood of the circumcision of my child is staunched. Then the angel departs because she said this.

  43. Thank you for this insight I also see in this event a typology for the event in the gospel of Luke alled the Circumcision of Jesus or the Presentation in the Temple. Mary knew that her child was the Messiah, conceived or begotten in her womb by God through the Holy Spirit yet she and Joseph bring Christ to the temple and He is circumcised out of obedience to the Law and because Christ would be the new Moses leading the people of God and dying as a Bridegroom of Blood for mankind.I hope to join classes after Christmas.

  44. Although I have never studied this scripture much before, I’ve heard that: Zipporah was (understandably) resistant to the idea of circumsising her son, and communicated her disapproval by rebuking Moishe.

    • All of the teachings in these articles are completely free, and I truly hope that they are a blessing for you.

  45. This is what the Targum Psuedo Jonathan says:
    וַהֲוָה בְאוֹרְחָה בְּבֵית מִבְתּוֹתָא וְעַרַע בֵּיהּ מַלְאָכָא דַיְיָ וּבְעָא לְמִקְטְלֵיהּ מִן בִּגְלַל גֵרְשׁוֹם בְּרֵיהּ דְלָא הֲוָה גְזִיר עַל עֵיסַק יִתְרוֹ חָמוֹי דְלָא שַׁבְקֵיהּ לְמִגְזְרֵיהּ בְּרַם אֱלִיעֶזֶר הֲוָה גָזַר בִּתְּנָאָה דְאַתְנִיוּ תַּרְוֵיהוֹן

    But it was on the way, in the place of lodging that the angel of the Lord met him, and sought to kill him, because Gershom his son had not been circumcised, inasmuch as Jethro his father-in-law had not permitted him to circumcise him: but Eliezer had been circumcised, by an agreement between them two.

    וּנְסִיבַת צִפּוֹרָה טִינְרָא וּגְזָרַת יַת עוּרְלַת גֵרְשׁוֹם בְרָהּ וְאַקְרִיבַת יַת גְזֵירַת מָהוּלְתָּא לְרַגְלוֹי דְמַלְאָךְ חַבָּלָא וַאֲמָרַת חַתְנָא בְּעָא לְמִיגְזוֹר וְחָמוֹי עַכִּיב וּכְדוֹן אֲדָם גְזוּרְתָּא הָדֵין יְכַפֵּר עַל חַתְנָא דִילִי

    And Zipporah took a stone, and circumcised the foreskin of Gershom her son, and brought the severed part to the feet of the angel, the Destroyer, and said, The husband sought to circumcise, but the father-in-law obstructed him; and now let this blood of the circumcision atone for my husband.

    וּפְסַק מַלְאָךְ חַבָּלָא מִנֵיהּ בְּכֵן שַׁבְּחַת צִפּוֹרָה וַאֲמַרַת מַה חָבִיב הוּא אֲדָם גְזוּרְתָּא הָדֵין דְשֵׁזִיב יַת חֲתָנָא מִן יְדוֹי דְמַלְאָךְ חֲבָּלָא

    And the destroying angel desisted from him, so that Zipporah gave thanks, and said, How lovely is the blood of this circumcision that hath delivered my husband from the angel of destruction!

  46. Shalom Dr Eli Firstly thank you for these precious insights. Genesis 17:13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. What does it mean that the covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant ? What really is the true significance of circumcision? Like Yeshua who bore the scars of the nails even in His resurrected form , will those faithful servants of The Almighty bare the sign of circumcision in their resurrected body?

    • This verse means that circumcision will be a permanent mark on the body that represents God’s covenant will be a permanent practice throughout Abraham’s generations. I guess we won’t know if it will carry over into the resurrection until it happens, but I think that it’s a good possibility.

  47. The Bible didn’t tell us if Moses was circumsied before his mother placed him into the basket or he was circumsed when he was cared for by his birth mother. Moses grew up in the Egyptian palace where Circumcision was not practiced by the Egyptian so why would he knew to circumcise his sons? Unless The Almighty told him while he was in the mountain with God. As a gentile believer, I am not sure I understood this passage, why was God mad at Moses. Thank you for teaching us.

    • Anita, circumcision *was* practiced by the Egyptians. There are early Egyptian paintings that show it being done.

      The scriptures indicate that Moses knew that he was himself a Hebrew.

      Moses apparently lived for 40 years as part of a clan descended from Abraham. Zipporah’s family were Kenites, a clan of the Midianites, who were descendants of Midian a son of Abraham and Keturah. Our first introduction to Jethro is vague (“priest of Midian”) but later he clearly worships the same God as Moses.

      The idea that Moses was ignorant of circumcision, and Abrahamic circumcision, is hard for me to believe.

  48. What I’m curious about is, why was God ready to destroy Moses if not for the actions of his wife, Zipporah. In that I mean, why didn’t God give Moses a warning regarding the requirement of circumcision beforehand so this whole near fatal event would have been avoided?

  49. I have had this on my heart for the last few weeks and every comment has given me new insight; however, I am inclined to go with Dr. Eli for this is how the Spirit spoke to my spirit about this Scripture. Thank you all for giving me more to chew on. I really appreciate the dialogue!

  50. God is omniscience. Knowing Moses was not properly circumcised, why chose him to lead his people out of Egypt? In this case God was not in a state of knowing everything. God is love, why is there a need to kill Moses when he did not sin against God? It is rediculous to have such a God.

  51. Dear Dr.Eli
    The prophets always had to deal with the customs of the people because they were living in the human society. In these fields, sometimes they made mistakes like Moses, who killed and killed a Pharaonic soldier before fleeing Egypt.

  52. When God dispatch Moses to a mission, Moses said, “I am afraid to go lonely, because I have killed one of the Pharaohs.” Let me not to go alone and my brother accompany with me? (The brother of Moses Aaron was a smart man; he compensated the Moses’ mistakes.)
    Ultimately, this question leads us to this message and the general result, Moses should have left the Culture and customs of the kingdom he grew up with it, and God wanted to clean him.

  53. Dear Dr.Eli
    The prophets always had to deal with the customs of the people because they were living in the human society. In these fields, sometimes they made mistakes like Moses, who killed and killed a Pharaonic soldier before fleeing Egypt.
    This harassment and pressure is done since the person turn prepared to take on new and important responsibilities. This verse of Expansion of mind , which is mentioned in the Quran, is in principle for the Torah.

    • He was otherwise fully qualified. He was humble and, as an adopted family member, he was close or at least well-known by Pharaoh and his family and servants.

  54. Thank you Dr Eli for this fascinating conversation. And thank you too to Peggy Jan 13. As much as it is enjoyable to study scripture in a group conversation such as this, I was wondering as I read through the posts, when would some one rely not on his own understanding and seek instruction from the Holy Spirit? Good on you Peggy. I looked to the Holy Spirit and the next post

  55. I think William Propp has an interesting interpretation also worthy of consideration. In his Exodus commentary, he proposes that God seeks to kill Moses because he still bears bloodguilt for killing an Egyptian. The blood of the circumcision would then expiate the guilt to allow Moses to live and return to Egypt. This interpretation would at least explain why “blood” is in the plural (damim), since the plural form typically means bloodguilt, and the shedding blood to avert death would foreshadow the tenth plague. Propp also observes that the word for “bridegroom” also means “circumcision” in Arabic.

  56. Dr. Eli Thank you for your explanation for this enigmatic passage. But I see that your explanation is weak and I find no biblical support for your answer. Firstly how do we know that Moses was not properly circumcised? Are there any biblical references to support this claim? It the best it appears to be an inference. Secondly, citing Joshua 5:2-3 you say that people of Israel were circumcised again, which say is fully circumcised.(foreskin completely removed). Strange! The correct explanation is given verse 4 on wards. why should we attribute our thoughts to it. ?

    • Thank you for sharing your take on it. I often ask questions that get people thinking, and I see it’s working perfectly. I’m fine with and I’m even glad that people disagree.

  57. I have a totally different understanding of this passage. The Bible doesn’t mention Moses being a “newborn”. Very likely he was over the age of 8 days, therefore, circumcised. Zipporah was a Medianite. Median is believed to be in Saudi Arabia making her Arab and not believing in circumsizion. God’s wrath was against Moses not following the covenant with his own child. Just my opinion. Also, it is clear that Moses had a second wife from Ethiopia, therefore, being black. That is why Miriam was punished for complaining to God about Moses wife.

  58. It is my understanding that GOD does not make mistakes … and that GOD knows all, … Past, Present and Future, all that has ever happened, all that is happening now and all that is to happen in the future …
    Please explain …

  59. The old law was nailed to the cross proficy was fulfilled. It was all to bring what was to come. And did. It is done . Circumstances leading to Christ’s first coming is what all these things are . mans arrogance. And quest for godly powers to use for selfish control i feel is what Jesus defeated by reviling . Truth. . you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. God bless..May we be in the will of God

  60. One good thing I take out of the story is that Moses being the leader, a type of Christ must be above board along with his household. Apparently his son was not circumcised and the LORD was against that. However Joshua 5 records that all of the children of Israel who came out of Egypt were circumcised before leaving Egypt. But those who were born in the forty years of wilderness journey were not circumcised. This was the reason the LORD instructed Joshua to circumcised the them second time before entering the promised land… Joshua 5:4-5.

    • That’s right. It is also a picture of our salvation: We must circumcise our hearts before we join the kingdom of Heaven.

  61. Wise answer Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg
    On March 2, 2018 at 11:13 am
    It is good to know that I missed the point and you did not :-). At least one of us got it! 🙂

    Y’varechecha Hashem, Shalom,


  62. MJ is on the right track. The Targums and the LXX are similar. Sepphora fell at the foot of the angel with the foreskin of their FIRSTBORN SON whom the angel had come to kill. Moses was already circumcised. “Him” in v24 is not Moses but their son.

  63. HaShem does answer our prayers truly. Yesterday this passage popped in my head and I had planned to ask a messianic synagogue about it. Then today comes an email with this year old article about the event. Coincidence? Possibly, but highly unlikely. Thank you Hashem, Yeshua, Prof Eli and Heiser.

  64. Per the Septuagint Jews: An angel of the Lord met him (Moses) and sought to kill him. Zipporah, taking a shard of pottery, cut off her son’s prepuce and fell before his (the angel’s) feet and said: “Here, this is the blood of my son’s circumcision”, and the angel departed.

  65. Similarly baptism (baptismos) is a total burial in water of the believer into Christ and resurrection from water to walk in newness of Christ Romans 6: 1-4. It was not done any other way.

  66. What a great topic of study and some wonderful answers to this question. Thank you Dr Eli and to George Amponsem and especially to Brother M, who provided what the Targum Psuedo Johnathan said. Why didn’t Dr Eli respond to the latter?

  67. The topic of Circumcision.
    Question: Did God use a Pagan/gentile practice to introduce the Abrahamic Covenant?

    Question: What is the difference between the Egyptian, Medianite and Israelite circumcision?

    • Originality was not a high priority in the ancient near east. There was a lot of borrowing of customs, designs, and liturgy.

  68. Dear brother Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg
    Thank you for addressing these troubling verses. So if I understand your explanation, this was an act of Redemption by God for Moses and his sons. (similar to the redemption through the blood of the Lamb, Y’Shua)? to sanctify him for work? Thank you

  69. I love reading these articles and comments. I am currently writing curriculum and teaching the Old Testament and its connections to the New. I am also writing a VBS curriculum so I cannot take the class now but definitely will in the near future! Can’t wait

    • Thank you for reading these articles and comments, Hezekiah. I hope that they challenge you to re-read your Bible in its original context. Blessings in your studies!


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