Did God want to KILL
Moses before the Exodus?
Q. God first told Moses he was to lead Israel out of Egypt. Later, however, God wanted to KILL him and only the circumcising of his son by his wife Zipporah spared his life. I don't understand how God can jump from dealing favorably with someone then trying to kill him.
(Submitted by: Sandi)
A. While the Bible does not precisely state all of God's reasons and motives for doing something, we can take what information is available and derive possible explanations. Although it may seem outwardly there was nothing wrong, to God nothing is hidden! The issue surrounds the circumcision of a son. I will speculate as to why it was not done at the proper time, on the eighth day after birth, as God commanded. Let's first take a look at the scriptures in question:
"Now the Lord said to Moses in Midian, 'Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.' Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt . . .
"And the Lord said to Moses, 'When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the Lord: "Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn." ' '
"And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, 'Surely you are a husband of blood to me!' So He (God) let him go. Then she said, 'You are a husband of blood!' - because of the circumcision." " (Exodus 4:19-26, NKJV throughout)
Because only one of his sons is mentioned here - not having been circumcised, we must assume the other was! Evidence suggests that Moses did circumcise his firstborn according to the command of God. Was Zipporah (not being an Israelite) so appalled at the bloody act that she gave her husband a hard time over it --- such that he didn't want to do it again? God knew about the situation and gave him time to repent. He may had hoped God would shut His eyes to the situation and not even bring the matter up.
Let us read what the scriptures have to say about circumcision:
"'This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.
"'He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, THAT PERSON SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE; he has broken My covenant.'" (Genesis 17:10-14)
Not only was Moses head of his household, but God had picked him to be head of the whole nation of Israel - he was now going to make a decision - circumcise the boy - or die! Him and his wife must have discussed the matter and she knew he was dying before her eyes, making her quick to circumcise the boy! But she was still upset over having to circumcise her son.
"So He (God) let him go. Then she said, 'You are a husband of blood!' - because of the circumcision." (Exodus 4:26)
There is more that is not recorded that took place, but is alluded to in Exodus 18:
"Then Jethro . . . after he had sent her back, with 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');" (Exodus 18:2-4)
Why had Moses sent his wife and his sons back? More speculation here - because his son was most likely a young boy, not a baby or small child, circumcision would have made him unable to travel without great pain. And because he did not have much to say on this matter here in the scriptures, he would have been embarrassed to have to explain the circumcision to a young boy - that is also his son. This would have put him in a bad light before all the people of Israel. I think it was likely the ordeal with his wife over the circumcision that caused him to send his family back to his father-in-law's house. For us to get some idea of the condition of a grown man or young boy we need to look elsewhere in the scriptures for the answer:
"And all who went out of the gate of his city heeded Hamor and Shechem his son; every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
"Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out." (Genesis 34:24-26)
The men of these people were so sick from circumcision that could not defend themselves and were all killed by two men! So Zipporah needed to stay at the Inn with the boy until he was able to travel - influencing Moses' decision to send his family back to Jethro's house. Discerning the scriptures and how Zipporah was a woman who spoke her mind - and most likely not have let up on her husband all the while they were in Egypt - if he hadn't sent her back.
Let's take one last look at Exodus 4:
Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet (the word cast in the original Hebrew means 'made it touch'), and said, 'Surely you are a husband of blood to me!' (Exodus 4:25)
Zipporah took the foreskin of the circumcised boy and threw it at the feet of Moses along with mouthing her disgust with doing it! There is no more mention of Zipporah after Exodus18 and her sons are not mentioned with any degree of importance anywhere else in the scriptures.
Written by: Don Smith