We read in (Exo.4: 24-26) that on the way to Egypt, Moses and his family took rest in the evening, and his family consists of his wife Zipporah and two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. (Exo. 18: 3, 4) They might had finished their dinner, and rested. It appears that his both the sons slept, due to the hardship of their day journey. But God visited Moses during that time and his wife Zipporah might have not slept. Suddenly she might have heard some unusual sound and unusual movement of her husband Moses and he was in a horrible state, might be lying on the floor, and immediately she jumped into action due to critical and in the shortest time possible. She had no time to search for a knife but got some sharp stone or she broke the stone to pieces and took a sharp piece and circumcised one of her sons sleeping nearby by uncovering his nakedness, and threw the fore skin between the legs of Moses lying on the floor, and seeing the blood, God left Moses and he was rescued from the state of death. All her action might had taken with in few seconds and Moses was safe. Ah, what a dramatic scene it was and blood chilling moments!
Why? What could be the reason for all? The answer is spiritual and need to understand spiritually. We know God is a Spirit, and His actions are also spiritual. God loved Moses and chose him to be a savior of the Israelites, predestinated, processed and trained and finally made him a leader to bring God’s people from Egypt. (Moses was created with exceeding beauty, in order to be accepted in the palace of Pharaoh, though it was a Hebrew baby, brought up as a prince with all royal education and training for forty years, and made to flee from Egypt for another training to learn patience and meekness, in Midian, rearing his father in law’s sheep for another forty years. Now Moses is eighty years old, well trained to lead a great band of people more than forty lakh souls, (including women, children and aged people), along with their cattle and other materials from Egypt to Canaan through Red Sea and wilderness.) One thing to understand is that even God would have killed Moses by accident, God would have raised him up alive as he had a mission of God to lead the generation of Abraham to Canaan as God promised him four centuries ago when Abraham offered 3 animals and 2 birds as burnt offering and God promised about Abraham’s seed, when he was praying for a child. (Gen. 15: 1-21)
To understand this mystery we need to know about some spiritual happenings took place. Among many, only two happenings are referred here. In one village few young men or youth went to the fields at night to steal raw fruits of Palmyra trees, and while returning walking on the partition path between two fields, (Raised foot path) and carrying a heavy load of raw fruits in baskets, on their heads, one youth went ahead and turned in another direction and walked and the remaining youth followed his footsteps. While he turned another direction one spirit came behind him or trapped behind him. It is the belief that the spirit moves in straight path and it could not overtake him and it splashed the water in the field upon him so that he will give way to it. But this youth misunderstood and was shouting on his friends following him, why they are splashing the water upon him? Next day morning he had severe fever and his parents treated him but no cure and finally they met a sorcerer and he explained them what happened during the other night and the moving spirit could have killed him but the family god whom the parents worship stopped the spirit and they needed to offer some sacrifices and they offered and the youth became well.
On another occasion, in another place a man was riding a bi-cycle and was crossing a small temple near road side and he was thrown away from the road from the bi-cycle. Some people came behind and helped the man and that man was wearing some special clothes to reveal, he had vowed to some god and that is why was wearing a special dress, and he was not killed but thrown out, the people saved him said.
From these two happenings the common thing happened is the spirit attacked men when they crossed and blocked the way of the spirits, and the result could be death, but luckily they did not die due to some help from other spirits whom they worship. In Bible also we read about Gideon the judge and Manoah the father of Samson, that they feared and confessed that they would die because they looked face to face upon an angel of god. (Judges 6: 22-23, 13: 20-22)
God is a Spirit and came to meet Moses but some unfortunate thing happened and Moses blocked the way of the Spirit or perhaps Moses saw God the Spirit and the result was death. But here his wife saw the accident and took a right action to save him by throwing the foreskin of her son, sleeping nearby, and by seeing the blood, God the Spirit went back, and Moses was saved.
Here some interesting thing took place. Moses was a Hebrew and Zipporah was a Heathen, lived in Midian but might be basically of Ethiopian origin, having dark complexion, came to know about circumcision due to her marriage with Moses. Though Jethro was a priest, he must be a Gentile priest of some heathen god, as priest-hood started only after reaching Mt. Sinai by Moses and the Israelites journeyed from Egypt, and the knowledge of circumcision might not be in Midian. As a Heathen, she must be aware that blood can save a person in such accidents encountered with the spirits. Generally they cut a piece of flesh like ear of an animal, finger of a hen etc. But when no such things are available foreskin is preferred than cutting any part of the body, which is called circumcision, which will not make a person a handicap, as she might have learnt from her husband.
In this context some preachers preach that this happening took place as sons of Moses were not circumcised and God permitted it for the purpose of circumcision. But the question is for the purpose of circumcision, will God kill Moses? We know that when Moses was rearing the flocks near Mt. Horeb, God appeared to Moses from a flaming bush and talked about his mission to bring back the Israelites from Egypt. God talked with Moses about many things about his mission, the miracles he can do to reveal God had sent him, and including his brother Aaron. God should have talked about circumcision of his both the sons! Also Zipporah circumcised only one of her sons and not the both. So that saying or belief that for the purpose of circumcision God permitted that instance is incorrect. Another point to note is what would be the age of her son? Many think they must be of small age, but the shocking truth is that they were about forty years old! How? When Moses was 40 years old, he had a desire to meet his brothers the Israelites. But when Moses killed and buried one wicked Egyptian, and when this was known to Pharaoh, Moses had to flee from Pharaoh to Midian, for his life, and there Jethro the father of seven daughters accepted him in his house and married his first daughter to Moses. Now imagine what a handsome young man was Moses, who was born with exceeding beauty, but married with a black Ethiopian girl! Moses may not be willing to marry her but the circumstances of his vagabond situation, and Jethro who sheltered him had seven daughters and someone need to marry his daughter and reduce his burden, compelled Moses to marry the black girl. But some Bible readers teach that Zipporah was his first wife and after her death Moses married one Ethiopian girl as second wife. But it is wrong. When Moses was eighty years old, he took his family of wife and two sons to Egypt. After crossing eighty years will a great leader and handsome person marry an Ethiopian black lady, as a second wife? To this great and handsome leader many nobles of Israelites might be ready to give their daughter in marriage to him! So Moses married an Ethiopian black girl as a second wife cannot be true at all, and it is not recorded when Zipporah died.
So it is to conclude that God is a Spirit and has some norms of the Spirit, and the Spirit was about to kill Moses on the way to Egypt, due to some spiritual accident, which cannot be understood normally but spiritually, and Zipporah by throwing blood between his legs, by cutting the foreskin of her youth son, sleeping nearby, saved the great Moses!
2 thoughts on “The LORD met Moses and sought to kill him”
The narration above does not explain clearly as to why God tried to kill Moses. For getting an answer to this question, we need to go to other places in the scripture.
God has no respect of persons. He does not look at the face like man. We will hesitate to scold someone whom we know by person but rather “adjust” or “bend” the rules for them. But God is a zealous God, a consuming fire and he doesn’t have respect for individuals. His word and his doctrine is supreme. This is the reason God intended to kill all the Israelites in the wilderness when they sinned. Only due to Moses’ interceding, God relented. Otherwise he would have killed them.
In another place, God killed the son born to David and Bathsheba. Again here the act of David brought displeasure to God and he didn’t see that David is a man after his own heart. But killed his son. Only after David repented and confessed, God blessed him again. But the damage was already done as the firstborn of Bathsheba was slain by God.
We can cite many other circumstances where God had killed his own people and leaders. Judah’s 2 sons, the sons of Eli are some of the examples.
Now Moses is no different. Although he was chosen as a great leader by God to do mighty works God expected him to follow his instructions. If Moses himself did not follow the circumcision of the male child, how can a righteous God kill the firstborn of Egypt?
Finally, Gen chap 17 clearly speaks how God appointed circumcision as a covenant between him and the seed of Abraham. Moses knew this commandment well and he himself was circumcised by his parents. But when he married Zipporah, he came under pressure from her and she did not allow Moses to circumcise her son. That is why we read that when God tried to kill Moses, it was not Moses who performed the circumcision but Zipporah!. Because she clearly knew from Moses that her son should be circumcised. As the verse 24 – 26 speaks about circumcising only one son, we can assume that the first son was already circumcised and Zipporah was against circumcision of her second son.
The brevity of the passage does not allow us to know more things at that happening, but many things have to be constructed. In the verses preceding 24, we can read how God clearly instructs Moses to be careful to do all the wonders in Egypt.(verse 21). So it is evident that God will take him to Egypt eventually. The attempted murder incident is only to teach a lesson to Zipporah who had otherwise no encounter with the living God. From that day she would have taken the God of Israel seriously.
The Lord met Moses and sought to kill him.
Dear brother Joshua in Christ, it is a pleasure to receive your comment regarding God sought to kill Moses. Loving and righteous God, can kill a man only when he trespasses a major commandment. You will agree that when God spoke to Moses many things about His people in Egypt and their fore fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He could have told Moses to circumcise his both the sons, as he told Abraham, but God did not tell him to circumcise his sons. But it was not recorded in Bible except God asked Joshua to circumcise all Israelites after crossing river Jordan at Gilgal (Joshua 5: 2,3). So Moses circumcised his first son and Zipporah refused to circumcise her second son does not appear true and cannot be accepted. Also Abraham married one more wife Keturah and she had six sons and one among them was Midian, and we can accept that Abraham circumcised them all as God commanded Abraham to circumcise all his men (Gen. 25:1,2) (Gen. 17: 22-24). As we know that Zipporah was from Midian, she must have the knowledge of circumcision, as Moses took shelter in Midian when he fled from Egypt when Pharaoh wanted to kill him, when Moses killed one Egyptian (Exo. 2:12-22).
Also in Gen. 17 chapter we read about God spoke to Abraham about circumcision, and in verse 22 we read that “God left off talking with him and went up from him” shows a remarkable visit or touch or an experience took place on Abraham and a similar experience might had experienced by Moses on the way to Egypt in a resting place, with a difference of certain mistake would have happened crossing the law of the Spirit by the flesh of Moses which made a critical condition to Moses and Zipporah rescued Moses by offering blood by throwing the foreskin from her son’s body between his legs, and saved him (Gen. 4:25).
Hope I have clarified your comment.