When Did Zipporah Die?


The Bible offers a wealth of information and guidance, but not every question is explicitly answered within its pages. One such question involves Zipporah, the wife of Moses, and the time of her death. Although Zipporah is a fascinating figure in her own right, her story is often overshadowed by the monumental events surrounding her husband. In this blog post, we will delve into the life and death of Zipporah, drawing upon biblical texts to piece together her story and explore her role in the lives of both Moses and the Israelites.

While the exact date of Zipporah’s death is not specified in the Bible, we can uncover some key aspects of her life by examining the scripture. We will look at the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible to gain insights into the life of this intriguing woman, and consider the context and implications of her death within the greater biblical narrative.

When Did Zipporah Die?

Zipporah’s Early Life and Marriage to Moses

Zipporah was the daughter of Reuel, also known as Jethro, a Midianite priest (Exodus 2:16-21). The Midianites were a nomadic people descended from Abraham and his wife Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4). Moses first met Zipporah when he fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-15). He arrived at a well in Midian, where he encountered Zipporah and her six sisters drawing water for their father’s flock (Exodus 2:16-17). Moses assisted them, and Zipporah’s father, Jethro, subsequently welcomed him into his home and offered him one of his daughters, Zipporah, in marriage (Exodus 2:21).

The Circumcision of Zipporah’s Son

One of the most significant events in Zipporah’s life occurred during the journey back to Egypt, where Moses was to lead the Israelites out of slavery (Exodus 3:10). On the way, the Lord sought to kill Moses, but Zipporah intervened, performing an emergency circumcision on their son (Exodus 4:24-26). She touched Moses’ feet with the foreskin and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” (Exodus 4:25, NKJV). This act of faith and obedience saved Moses‘ life and demonstrated Zipporah’s devotion to both her husband and God.

Zipporah’s Role in the Israelite Community

Zipporah’s role in the Israelite community can be inferred from several passages in the Bible. When Jethro visited the Israelite camp at the foot of Mount Sinai, he brought Zipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, with him (Exodus 18:2-6). This suggests that Zipporah was not with Moses during the earlier events of the Exodus, such as the crossing of the Red Sea and the provision of manna and quail. It is likely that Moses had sent Zipporah and their sons back to her father’s house for their safety.

During Jethro’s visit, he observed Moses’ leadership and offered valuable advice, which Moses heeded (Exodus 18:13-27). This passage highlights the importance of Zipporah’s family in supporting Moses and the Israelite community. Moreover, the fact that Zipporah’s sons are mentioned in the genealogical record of the Levites (1 Chronicles 23:14-17) further emphasizes the significance of her family within the Israelite community.

When Did Zipporah Die?

As previously mentioned, the Bible does not provide a specific date or event marking Zipporah’s death. However, we can gather some information about the possible timeline of her passing by examining related events in the biblical narrative.

Moses spent 40 years leading the Israelites through the wilderness before they reached the Promised Land. Throughout this time, Zipporah’s presence is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. It is likely that she lived with her father in Midian while Moses carried out his mission to guide the Israelites.

Numbers 12:1-15 records a significant event that occurred during the Israelites’ journey. Moses’ siblings, Aaron and Miriam, spoke against him because he had married an Ethiopian woman. While it is unclear whether this woman was Zipporah or another wife, it is worth noting that Midianites were sometimes referred to as Cushites or Ethiopians (see Habakkuk 3:7). If this passage does indeed refer to Zipporah, it would suggest that she was alive at some point during the 40-year journey in the wilderness. If it refers to another wife, it could imply that Zipporah had already passed away, and Moses had remarried.

Given the absence of any definitive biblical evidence, we can only speculate about the timing of Zipporah’s death. It is possible that she died in Midian while Moses was leading the Israelites or that she passed away during the 40-year journey, either before or after the event recorded in Numbers 12.

Zipporah’s Legacy

Despite the limited information available about Zipporah’s life and death, her story remains significant within the biblical narrative. She played a critical role in preserving Moses’ life, and her family provided essential support to the Israelite community. As the mother of Gershom and Eliezer, her legacy lives on through her descendants, who would go on to serve as Levites in the Israelite community.

Zipporah’s story also highlights the importance of faith and obedience, as demonstrated by her quick action to circumcise her son in a moment of crisis. Her willingness to submit to God’s commandments, even when it was difficult, serves as a powerful example for believers today.


In conclusion, while we cannot pinpoint the exact date of Zipporah’s death, her life and legacy are undoubtedly significant within the biblical narrative. She is remembered as a woman of faith and obedience, and her family played an essential role in supporting Moses and the Israelite community.

By examining the biblical texts, we gain a deeper appreciation for Zipporah’s story and her impact on the lives of those around her. As we continue to study and learn from the Bible, let us remember the importance of figures like Zipporah and the valuable lessons their lives offer us.

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