How Many Sons Did Moses Have in the Bible?

Moses was one of the towering figures of the Old Testament, leading the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and receiving the Law from God at Mount Sinai. As the deliverer and lawgiver to God’s people, Moses holds an esteemed place in Judaism and Christianity. His life story is recorded extensively in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Throughout his 120 years, Moses filled many roles – prince of Egypt, Midianite shepherd, prophet of God. But one aspect of Moses’ life that often gets overlooked was his role as a father. The Bible records Moses having two biological sons with his wife Zipporah. Their names were Gershom and Eliezer.

The details we have about Moses’ sons may seem sparse compared to the vast portions of Scripture devoted to Moses himself. But upon closer examination, we can gain valuable insights into this dimension of Moses’ family life and see how his sons connect back to God’s larger purpose in Israel’s deliverance.

So how many sons did Moses have according to the Bible? Let’s take a deeper look at each to understand their place in this monumental biblical narrative.

Key Takeaways:

  • Moses had two sons named Gershom and Eliezer.
  • Gershom was Moses’ firstborn son, born during his time in Midian before the Exodus.
  • Eliezer was Moses’ second son, born after the Exodus while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness.
  • The names of Moses’ sons carry symbolic meaning about Moses’ life and God’s deliverance.
  • Beyond his two biological sons, Moses also viewed the nation of Israel as his children spiritually.
How Many Sons Did Moses Have in the Bible?

Gershom – Moses’ Firstborn Son

The first son of Moses and Zipporah mentioned in the Bible is Gershom. We are introduced to Gershom in Exodus 2:22:

And she gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” (NKJV)

Based on the chronology, Moses married Zipporah during the time he was living in exile in Midian after fleeing Egypt. Gershom was born to them in this foreign land east of Egypt, sometime before the burning bush encounter and Moses’ return to Egypt.

The name Gershom literally meant “stranger” or “exile” in Hebrew. By giving his son this name, Moses was commemorating how he had been a foreigner and sojourner living apart from his people. Even as he started a family, Moses still keenly felt his displacement from his homeland.

But while Moses may have felt like a sojourner, we see God’s providence in sending him to Midian. In this obscure desert land, Moses would meet Jethro, the priest of Midian, and his daughter Zipporah. Jethro would become a father-figure and mentor to Moses. Zipporah would become Moses’ own wife. And the son born to them in this place would signify God’s faithfulness to Moses even in exile.

So Gershom represents those seasons of waiting when God’s promises seem remote. His birth was a sign that though Moses felt removed from God’s purpose, God was actively working to prepare him for the trials ahead.

Eliezer – Moses’ Second Son

The second son born to Moses and Zipporah has an even more distinct connection back to Moses’ service for God. We read about this son, named Eliezer, in Exodus 18:3-4:

And her two sons, of whom the name of one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land”) and the name of the other was Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”); (NKJV)

Whereas Gershom was born during Moses’ time living in Midian, Eliezer arrived on the scene after the Exodus. As the Israelites were wandering in the Wilderness of Sinai after their deliverance from Egypt, this second son was born.

The name Eliezer means “God is my help” – a fitting testimony to how God powerfully intervened to deliver Moses from Pharaoh and bring Israel out of slavery. Through this son’s name, Moses memorialized the mighty hand of God in action, setting His people free.

So while Gershom represents God’s faithfulness in seasons of waiting and exile, Eliezer signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises in liberating His people. His birth marked a new chapter as Israel embarked on their journey to the Promised Land.

Interestingly, Jewish tradition states that this son Eliezer was the one who descended from Mount Sinai and delivered the Ten Commandments to the people when Moses tarried on the mountain. Though not stated explicitly in Scripture, this view highlights Eliezer’s connection to the Exodus redemption. God used him to deliver His Law to the newly freed nation.

The Meaning Behind Moses’ Sons’ Names

When we look at the meaning behind the names of Moses’ two sons, we see how they connect deeply back to Moses’ own calling.

Gershom embodied Moses’ feelings of exile during his Midian years, while Eliezer testified to God’s mighty deliverance. These two sons memorialized key phases of Moses’ life story.

Most parents name their children based on positive hopes, meanings, and family heritage. But in Moses case, his sons’ names preserved pivotal moments in Moses’ own walk with God.

Their names celebrated God’s faithfulness to His servant through seasons of exile and deliverance. They remind us that even in tumultuous times, God does not forget His promises.

Beyond bolstering Moses’ own faith, his sons would have reminded the nation of Israel about God’s covenant loyalty. As the Israelites faced their own seasons of wilderness wandering, Moses’ sons were living testaments to God’s guidance and redemption. Their names pointed to the same God who had delivered their fathers from Egypt and remained faithful through every trial.

Moses’ sons were not just his offspring – they were an integral part of God’s salvation narrative to encourage Moses and the people of Israel along the way.

Moses’ Fatherhood Reflected God’s Fatherhood to Israel

In naming his sons, Moses displayed a key aspect of Hebrew culture. The meaning behind children’s names carried spiritual significance for the parents and community as a whole.

We see this same pattern with other important figures like Eve, Abraham, Samuel, and John the Baptist. The names they chose for their sons preserved memories of God’s dealings with His people.

For Moses specifically, his fatherhood also mirrored the special relationship God had established with the nation of Israel.

Repeatedly in the Old Testament, God refers to Israel as His firstborn son. Just as Moses guided and provided for his sons, God shepherded and tenderly cared for His people. Moses’ role as a father foreshadowed God’s own fatherly compassion towards Israel.

We see this metaphor explicitly in a key passage from Hosea:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11:1 NKJV)

Here God unmistakably compares Israel to His beloved child whom He called out of slavery in Egypt. Moses fulfilled a similar fatherly role in mediating God’s deliverance and instruction.

Beyond his two biological sons, Moses saw all of Israel as his spiritual children. His leadership reflected the nurturing heart of God Himself towards His people.

So Moses’ sons connect back to God’s redemption in two key ways. First, their names commemorate phases of Moses’ calling to deliver Israel. And second, Moses’ fatherly care for them reflected God’s own fatherly love and concern for the nation.

Both of these dimensions offer edification and hope to believers going through their own trying seasons today.

Lessons From Moses’ Example as a Father

Though details about Moses’ family life are limited, we can draw some key lessons from what we do see about his role as a father:

1. God is at work even in times of exile – Gershom’s birth reminds us that even when we feel remote from God’s promises, He is actively working behind the scenes. Our pain is never absent from God’s care and sovereignty.

2. God faithfully fulfills His promises – Eliezer’s name testifies to God making good on His covenant loyalty, just as He delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. We can trust God to accomplish His redemptive plans in His timing.

3. The next generation benefits from remembering God’s faithfulness – By memorializing God’s acts through his sons’ names, Moses passed on the heritage of faith to the next generation. We likewise should cultivate spiritual legacy in our families.

4. Caring for others can reflect God’s own compassion – Moses’ fatherly care for Israel mirrored God’s love for His people. As Christians, our love and sacrifice for others should emulate our Father’s heart.

5. God views His people as His children – Moses was a forerunner who anticipated God’s own patient, faithful fatherhood towards Israel. As believers today, we enjoy this same intimate, familial relationship with God.

Though Moses faced extraordinary challenges, his example as a father was rooted in the ordinary rhythms of family life. His legacy displayed in microcosm the same loving faithfulness that God demonstrates towards His children on a grand scale.

As fathers and mothers seeking to raise our children in the Lord, we can aspire to emulate Moses’ wholehearted devotion. At the same time, we can take comfort that our imperfections are covered by God’s perfect patience and care.


Moses stands as one of the premier men of faith within the pages of Scripture. But his exalted status among Israel’s prophets and leaders did not overshadow his mundane role as a husband and father.

Though few in number, the brief glimpses we have into Moses’ family life reveal so much. The two sons born to him in Midian and the wilderness bore names etched with deeper spiritual significance. They memorialized critical junctures in Moses’ own walk with God as well as His covenant loyalty towards Israel.

So how many sons did Moses have according to the Bible? Two sons named Gershom and Eliezer. Their names speak volumes about God’s redemptive purposes through their father.

May Moses’ legacy as a parent inspire us to raise up children who know they are deeply loved by their earthly families and their Heavenly Father as well.

About The Author

Scroll to Top