Reviving an old lesson is not as easy as meets the eye. I first studied and prepared a Bible study guide on Zipporah in 2002. I rather liked it then. In fact, I like it now and am changing very little in the construction.
However, I studied an additional 1 1/2 hours on it this afternoon and early evening. Her name is mentioned but three times in the Bible, but in other places is referred to as daughter, or wife. She was an “outsider” according to Miriam and Aaron. God did not tolerate their racist remarks nor their criticism of brother, Moses. Never again is a dissention mentioned from them.
God protected her, and God protected Moses.
Zipporah first met Moses in the wilderness when he fled Egypt to save his own skin. Her father was so impressed by this Hebrew/Egyptian that he gave Zipporah to him for a wife. Neither of them seemed to rebel at the idea. After all, Moses was able to care for her. She bore him two sons and it seems as if they lived peacefully together for about 40 years. As husbands and wives grow close in the marriage relationship, they share many things and Moses, it seems, was the responsible father and let Zipporah know that Gersham needed to follow the Hebrew mandate of circumcison. If Zipporah was not accepting of the Hebrew ways, at least she was compliant.
Then came the burning bush incident. Really? She had to have wondered about that. Now she would head for Egypt with Moses to carry out this–this–this–whatever it was. When God almost kills Moses because of his neglect to carry out the Hebrew mandate on his second son, Zipporah shows anger. She also turns back and decides to stay in Midian with her Daddy while Moses goes to rescue his own people. However, she does circumcise Eliezer and spits out to Moses that he is a bloody man. I can see fire in her eyes and hear sharpness in her tone in my imagination.
We meet up with her again in Exodus 18 when Daddy Jethro brings her to meet Moses. She travels on with him, and we know from an account in Numbers that Miriam and Aaron don’t really like her much because, well, her skin is really dark, and she is really rather “different” shall we say.
Culturally, she was different. As far as I can see, she did Moses no harm. And these are things she endured: She was not present during the 10 plagues so she missed seeing how God was using her man. In fact, it seems that she was not present at the cross of the Red Sea. Can you imagine how alone and bewildered she must have felt in the wilderness with Moses? He was a busy man. As far as we know, she was faithful and it seems, his only wife. She had something that was enduring in their relationship. It is pure speculation on my part to say so, but I think that Zipporah understood tolerance and gave way to deference. That possibly is what made the difference. Let me repeat, it is pure speculation for me to say that.
So next time you feel alone and bewildered, and maybe like a fish out of water, remember Zipporah. Be patient, be strong, be faithful, and God will reward you with a steadfast love.
Do you think that she accepted Moses’ God and way of worship?