We decided to work through Exodus 4 together just to see what other ways we could find of reading these verses. And, as with all of our study groups, it’s an intense and mind-opening experience! I think we looked at 5 different translations? And used the dictionaries plenty. And fortunately some knew of Midianite culture, etc. But as we all researched and talked, I jotted down a few of my own questions to bring up in the discussion. So this represents some questions I had, not the final result. And in fact, we didn’t have any solid interpretation by the end, just lots of new thoughts and a very uplifting night!
18 ¶And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
19 And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.
20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.
24 ¶And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him.
Him who? the son, because he was not circumcised? Or Moses? and why, just because he had not circumcised his son?
What does this have to do with the God-Israel, Pharaoh-firstborn situation? Those verses were right before this story and I can’t help but wonder what the parallels are.
25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.
Why bloody? Bloody seems to refer so far in the Bible to murderous, army, or sacrifice, but usually negative, sinful. Could it just mean covenant? Now you are a covenant husband, one that has made this covenant with God finally, or how else could it be read positively?
Again: why Zipporah?
Was Moses unworthy to circumcise him because he had killed an Egyptian? And so she had to do it instead of him?
Do we ever have a record of a woman doing a circumcision before this point? Or after?
Does she fall (or stone, etc) at Moses’s feet, or the angel’s feet?
26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art,because of the circumcision.
Because of the circumcision, not because of past deeds. But she did it, not him. So why is he bloody, if it is not past deeds? Or, because she had to do the circumcision – because she had to do it and not him (because of past deeds) she points out he is bloody. Maybe this was the first time that she found out about it?
“Bloody husband” was enough for the angel? Did her words satisfy the angel?