Moses, a key figure in the Old Testament, is often remembered for his remarkable accomplishments as the leader of the Israelites. He was chosen by God to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, and his life is a testament to the power of God’s grace and deliverance. Yet, amidst the grand narratives of Moses’ life, we sometimes overlook the personal aspects of his story, such as his relationships and family life. One intriguing question that arises is: who was Moses’ first wife?
In this blog post, we will delve into the life of Moses and explore the identity of his first wife. We will examine the relevant biblical texts in the New King James Version (NKJV) to gain a better understanding of the woman who stood by Moses’ side during his journey. As we embark on this investigation, let us remember that the stories of the Bible hold invaluable lessons for our lives today.
Moses’ Early Life and Marriage
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Moses was born in Egypt at a time when the Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptians (Exodus 1:8-10). As an infant, he was saved from the Pharaoh’s decree to kill all male Hebrew babies by his mother, who placed him in a basket and hid him in the Nile River (Exodus 2:1-3). He was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the Egyptian royal court (Exodus 2:5-10). As an adult, Moses fled from Egypt after killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11-15).
During his time in exile, Moses took refuge in the land of Midian, where he met Jethro, also known as Reuel, the priest of Midian (Exodus 2:15-16). While living with Jethro, Moses married his first wife, Zipporah, one of Jethro’s seven daughters (Exodus 2:21). Moses and Zipporah had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer (Exodus 18:3-4).
Who Was Zipporah?
Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, was a Midianite woman who became Moses’ first wife. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah, whom he married after the death of Sarah (Genesis 25:1-2). Thus, Zipporah was a distant relative of the Hebrews, but her people were not part of the covenant God established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Despite this, Zipporah was a supportive and protective spouse to Moses. One notable incident occurred when God sought to kill Moses for not circumcising his son, as commanded by the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17:9-14). Zipporah took it upon herself to perform the circumcision, thus saving Moses’ life (Exodus 4:24-26).
Moses and Zipporah’s Relationship
Moses and Zipporah’s relationship was not without its challenges. In Numbers 12:1, we find a passage that suggests tension between Moses and his siblings, Aaron and Miriam, concerning Moses’ marriage to a Cushite woman. While some scholars argue that the Cushite woman mentioned is a different wife, others believe it refers to Zipporah herself, highlighting the differences between her Midianite background and the Hebrews.
Nevertheless, Zipporah’s steadfast support for Moses cannot be ignored. Her willingness to follow Moses as he led the Israelites out of Egypt and her dedication to their family indicate her commitment to her husband and his divine mission. Zipporah’s actions in the circumcision incident reveal her understanding of the importance of God’s covenant and her willingness to uphold it, even in the face of adversity.
The Legacy of Zipporah
While Zipporah may not be as widely recognized as her husband, her story is a testament to the vital role women played in the history of God’s people. Her unwavering support for Moses and her participation in his mission, despite the challenges they faced, speaks to her strength and resilience.
As a non-Hebrew woman, Zipporah’s acceptance and integration into the Israelite community serve as a reminder of God’s inclusive nature. Her story highlights the fact that God’s love and grace extend beyond the boundaries of a single nation or culture.
Moses’ first wife, Zipporah, was a remarkable woman who played an essential role in her husband’s life and mission. As we have explored her story, we have discovered a woman of courage, faith, and commitment, despite the challenges she faced as a non-Hebrew woman in a predominantly Hebrew community.
Zipporah’s story reminds us that God’s grace knows no boundaries. Her acceptance into the Israelite community illustrates the inclusive nature of God’s love, a lesson that remains relevant in our modern world. By embracing the diversity of God’s creation, we can truly embody the spirit of unity and love that God intends for us.
As we reflect on the life of Moses and his first wife, Zipporah, let us take to heart the lessons they offer. May we find strength in their commitment to each other and to God’s purpose, as we, too, strive to fulfill our own divine callings. And may we remember that God’s grace and love extend to all, regardless of our backgrounds or origins, as we seek to build a more inclusive and loving world.