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Who was Zipporah in the Bible?

Zipporah was the wife of Moses. As Moses was fleeing Egypt at around the age of forty, he met Zipporah and her six sisters in the land of Midian. The women were trying to water their father's flocks, but a group of shepherds drove them away. "But Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock" (Exodus 2:17). The women returned home sooner than usual; when their father, Jethro (also called Reuel), asked them why, the sisters told him about Moses. Jethro told them to call Moses so the family could host him. "And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah."

Together Moses and Zipporah had two sons. The first son was named Gershom, meaning foreigner, just as Moses was a foreigner in Midian. Their second son was Eliezer, named in remembrance of God helping Moses to escape from Egypt after he had committed murder (Exodus 18:2–4). Zipporah's father was a priest of Midian as well as a shepherd. Jethro mentored Moses and put him in charge of caring for his flocks.

Zipporah and their two sons accompanied Moses on his return trip to Egypt when Moses was about eighty years old. While on the way the Lord "met [Moses] and sought to put him to death" (Exodus 4:24). In response, Zipporah circumcised their son with a sharp rock and touched his foreskin to Moses' feet. She then said, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!" (Exodus 4:25). And the Lord let Moses alone. It is thought that God was angry with Moses because he had failed to circumcise his son. Circumcision was an important symbol of the Abrahamic covenant that separated the Israelites from other nations, identifying them as belonging to God. No one is certain why Moses' son had not been circumcised, but here Zipporah intervened and fulfilled the commandment of God.

While in Egypt Moses sent Zipporah and their two sons back to Midian to stay with Jethro. They eventually rejoined the Israelites after they have been freed from slavery (Exodus 18:1–9). Nothing more is said of Zipporah in the Bible, but it is believed that the Cushite woman disliked by Aaron and Miriam was Moses' second wife, after Zipporah's death.


Related Truth:

Who was Moses in the Bible?

Who was Aaron in the Bible?

Who was Miriam in the Bible?

Why do women seem to have a small role in the Bible?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?


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