Skip to main content

Exodus 4: Why was Zipporah so afraid of Moses’ failure to circumcise his own son?

When I preached Exodus 4 last weekend I made no reference to the bit about Zipporah, partly because John Peel of Waterfront Church Plymouth had preached this for us recently. Jacky Lam writes on this:

"To begin with, this is a character-building experience for Moses to not over-spiritualise the gospel and fail to complete the sacraments. He himself was most likely circumcised before being put in the ark, being born in the tribe of Levites. If Moses was going to be the man to tell the Israelites about the Law, then he must take the law entirely seriously. The Angel (v.24 - “the LORD met him and sought to put him to death”) was very angry with Moses because of this failure to circumcise his son. Did Moses forget Genesis 17?

At least Zipporah did not. Apostle Paul understood the truth of taking the sacraments seriously (1 Corinthians 11:29-32), so why shouldn’t Moses? Zipporah, his Gentile wife, had at least a Christian understanding of the sacraments. She immediately circumcised his son, and touched the LORD’s feet with her son’s foreskin. When this sign of blood is given to the Angel, Christ, He does not kill Moses. Zipporah then worships Christ as her “Bridegroom of Blood”. The ESV among other reliable translations seem to translate this with some misconceptions, because the Hebrew does not say “Moses’ feet” in v.25 - it simply says “his” feet. If you follow the context, v.25-26 - “Zipporah took a flint and cut of her son’s foreskin and touched his feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone.” The grammatical syntax doesn’t really make sense if you say that Zipporah cut the son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it, because v. 26 refers the “he” to Christ, not Moses. The point of Zipporah touching Christ’s feet is to enable Christ to let Moses alone - that is why v.25 goes on to v.26. Any other translation (even offered by ESV/NIV etc) will fail to make sense of these two verses.

Zipporah’s theology is rich here - she actually understands the Second person to be the bridegroom of blood, in effect putting herself before Christ as the bride of blood. She understands the Second Person’s role in the Trinity, and understands her role in relation to the Second Person’s blood covenant. She is no daughter of a priest of foreign religion; she is the daughter of a Christian priest*, and wife to a Christian husband who is struggling with his understanding of the sacraments."

* See Exodus 18 for Jethro: The Christian Priest who instituted both a Trinitarian modelled-church, and headship in one go, stemming from his understanding of God

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…