December 29, 2006

Breadcrumb: A strange episode

Ex. 4:24-26 presents an extremely strange episode, unconnected to anything else in the text: as Moses returns to Egypt, before he meets Aaron, God meets him and nearly kills him. He is only saved by his wife, Zipporah, immediately circumcising her son and putting the foreskin at Moses' feet. Because of this, God leaves Moses alone. Keep in mind that this episode takes place after the burning bush, after God has told Moses to free the Israelites. Would God have really killed Moses? What would He have done if He did? Would the Israelites ever be freed from bondage? The answers, of course, are unknowable. It is strange that this episode is almost never mentioned outside the most in-depth Bible courses.


James said...

Hello Julie

Here is another point of view:

On the way from Midian, Moses received a startling and terrible warning of the Lord's displeasure. An angel appeared to him in a threatening manner, as if he would immediately destroy him. No explanation was given; but Moses remembered that he had disregarded one of God's requirements; yielding to the
persuasion of his wife, he had neglected to perform the rite of circumcision upon their youngest son. He had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God's covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people. Zipporah, fearing that her husband would be slain, performed the rite herself, and the angel then permitted Moses to pursue his journey. In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God. {PP 255.5}

Anonymous said...

You've misread it. Its Moses that gets circumcised, hence why he is "a bloody husband" "because of the circumcision".