The Truth About Moses' Wife Zipporah

In the Bible, women are often praised when they are obedient but they sometimes disappear from the text after giving birth or getting married. However, the stories of some of the women of the Bible continue to resonate, despite only minor appearances. Zipporah was one of them.

According to the Jewish Women's Archive, when Moses killed a man in Egypt, he rushed to hide among the Midianites. When the daughters of Reuel, a Midianite priest, were being harassed, Moses helped them. Reuel was so grateful, he decided to receive Moses as a guest in his house and offered up his daughter Zipporah to Moses to marry. She became the mother of Gershom and Eliezer, Moses' children.

At some point, God told Moses to bring his family to Egypt in order to free his people. Yet on the journey, God tried to kill Moses. Zipporah noticed her husband was at risk and swiftly used a stone to cut their son's foreskin. She then touched Moses saying, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!" (Exodus 4:24). Her words stopped the attack against Moses.

Zipporah is not rewarded for saving Moses' life

The circumcision performed by Zipporah is one of the most intriguing moments in the Bible, though the meaning behind her words is still unclear. According to U.S. News and World Report, removing the foreskin was mandatory among Hebrews, as God had told Abraham. Therefore, one of the interpretations asserts that God was angry at Moses because his son was not circumcised, and could not be identified as a Hebrew.

While most people would feel grateful when a person saves their lives, Moses didn't seem to appreciate it. Before arriving in Egypt, he sent his family to their home country, and he possibly even married another woman. His father-in-law eventually brought Zipporah and her children to Moses, but he doesn't seem to have been happy to see her (via Jewish Women's Archive).

Some people believe that the "Cushite woman" the text referred to whom Moses married was not a second wife, but Zipporah (via My Jewish Learning). It is also noted that Zipporah is often rejected by her husband, who is always waiting to hear new words from God. There is no information about how Zipporah felt about it, and she is still a mystery in many ways. Unlike other women in the Old Testament, such as Sarah and Rebekah, it is difficult for us as readers centuries later to fully understand her motivations.

The last time the Bible mentions Zipporah is when she is at Mount Horeb with her family, according to Daily Journal. Her last years and the circumstances of her death are unknown.