When the Lord sought to kill Moses on the return to Egypt

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Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
This story is really without great detail, but brings up lots of questions. I suspect answering them might be going beyond Scripture, but I'd like to know what others speculate.
How did Zipporah know she must circumcise the child to save Moses' life?
How close did Moses come to death and by what means (blunt object? sudden shortness of breath?)
Did God meet him in a physical from, like when Jacob wrestled?
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
This story is really without great detail, but brings up lots of questions. I suspect answering them might be going beyond Scripture, but I'd like to know what others speculate.
How did Zipporah know she must circumcise the child to save Moses' life?
How close did Moses come to death and by what means (blunt object? sudden shortness of breath?)
Did God meet him in a physical from, like when Jacob wrestled?

Out of the commentaries that I have read on Exodus, Stuart provides the answers I most agree with. As always, context is key.

"Whether one follows the MT Hebrew of v. 24 (“Yahweh met up with him and sought to kill him”) or the likely original lxx/Tg. of v. 24 (“The Angel of the Lord met up with him and sought to kill him”), the same essential point is made: God was not going to allow someone (Gershom—not Moses: the text of 4:24–26 never mentions Moses!) to get to Egypt alive without a decisive change in their circumcision status. The fact that this story follows immediately the warning of Yahweh about the potential death of Pharaoh’s firstborn son provides a spatial setting in the text: we now read a story about the potential death of Moses’ firstborn son, upon whose fate the focus of the pericope should naturally fall. The niv, in inserting the name Moses at two points in the story via brackets, merely misleads the reader into thinking that Moses, not Gershom, was the subject of what Zipporah said and did."
- Douglas Stuart. The New American Commentary: Exodus.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
"Zipporah, who had grown up in the household of a Midianite (high?) priest, surely understood how circumcision was done and what its significance was—including the proper words to say in connection with a circumcision ceremony. Many people groups in the ancient world practiced circumcision, including the Midianites; it was hardly unknown outside of Israelite circles."
- Douglas Stuart. The New American Commentary: Exodus.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
"The flint knife probably was the proper, traditional instrument for performing a circumcision (cf. Josh 5:2–9)."
- Douglas Stuart. The New American Commentary: Exodus.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
"The flint knife probably was the proper, traditional instrument for performing a circumcision (cf. Josh 5:2–9)."
- Douglas Stuart. The New American Commentary: Exodus.
Thank you for all these. I had never thought of seeing Gershon as the one in danger of his life, even though I don't read the NIV. I'll re-read several more times.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
For what it's worth, here is an excerpt from my preaching notes on the passage (about 11yrs ago I think)

Next, we have three verses that puzzle many, but shouldn’t trouble us, once we understand what’s happening, and why this comes immediately after the “operations briefing” just above. The first question to answer is “who is the him of v24?” Answer that correctly, and light begins to dawn. [The ambiguity may also be an intentional, linguistic contribution to our feelings of anxiety and confusion as we are trying to understand a situation that doesn't seem to make much sense right away, like the people felt who were involved.]

The first clue is back in the Lord’s rehearsed speech. “Son” & “firstborn” used repeatedly. Then, in v25, the person involved is the son of Zipporah. So, although it might seem plausible that the Lord met “Moses” at the encampment, I want you to interpret that with me as the Lord met Moses’ firstborn son. And sought to kill him.

Whoa! Pastor, that’s crazy. Why would he do that? Because of Gen.17:14 “Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Who has broken it? That 8-day old boy. But, but, but! Doesn’t seem fair? That’s covenant theology for you.

You know, we frequently see God really, really serious at the beginning of his covenantal dealings, don’t we? He puts on display his severest measures to start with, to teach us that he is willing to use them. Ananias & Saphira is a good NT example. That he is more often than not merciful and kind, and patient, and second-chance, shouldn’t make us think that he has changed somehow.

So, here is a situation where God is getting ready to show himself unto the Israelites to be the faithful, covenant God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and here is his servant Moses, and… will you look at that, Moses is so cavalier and careless about his covenantal duties, he didn’t even circumcise his son. And God is going to lead us out of bondage by this guy?

The message is really for Moses and for us, and for all who would understand that God takes this covenant business seriously. It isn’t enough that God should just do signs and wonders and save his people. No, the manner in which he saves and the people by whom he saves—all these details are part of the instruction, part of the message of salvation. If God isn’t meticulous, why should you or I be? But if he is! Then we need to pay attention; we should be just as meticulous as he is.
Zipporah (mother) seems to be the one who realizes the crisis, and acts out of possibly new-found faith (and fear) of Jehovah. I take it that the scene is quite graphic, and her son is literally standing there, clutching her, crying in pain and confusion, as she drops the bloody mess at his feet.

The language (lit.) “bridegroom of blood” is a bit more difficult, but I take it in the simple sense that she now speaks to her husband. And in great fear and probably anger (only a mother could know) she calls him a bloody husband, a strong rebuke, for forcing her to the life-saving act (by his weakness and faithlessness), for the blood that was all over her hands, and her son, for the lifeblood of her son that was nearly spilt. But the Lord let him go. He relented.
As to how Zipporah knew what action to take, I propose (beyond a simple familiarity with what circumcision is) that the threat included the reason, and was not simply the Angel with a drawn sword, wordless, in the door of the tent; or somesuch. I am inclined to think it was another theophany, like the burning bush, not a wordless apparition, but one that said words to the effect: I'm here for the life of your uncircumcised son.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
I always hesitate to disagree with Bruce (I rarely hesitate at all to disagree with Douglas Stuart, whose idiosyncratic commentary on Exodus has a lot of good stuff but also a lot of wild speculation and a unique fascination with lice), but the reading offered by Brevard Childs which understands Moses as the one who was in danger of losing his life is very persuasive to me. He has a discriminating lexical/historical discussion, but his explanation based on that follows:

An exposition of some of the chief problems of these enigmatic verses has already been given in the introduction. The author of the Exodus narrative has done his best to fit this old tradition into his story. The incident takes place ‘at an encampment on the way’. In the present context this can only imply on the journey back to Egypt, somewhere in the wilderness. Although the expression in the text is ambiguous, it seems most probable to assume that it was Moses whose life was threatened. The text gives no hint as to the form of the attack, but it is not possible to soften the unexpected harshness of the incident by suggesting that the expression is a Hebrew idiom for falling ill (Buber). Of course, the most difficult feature of the passage is to understand why God should now try to kill Moses whom he had only recently commissioned. Whatever one decides finally to be the author’s understanding of this enigma, at this point in the story no reason whatever is offered. Then Zipporah sprang into action. The fact that Zipporah took the lead in circumcising the child is another indication that Moses was under attack and incapable of responding. She did three things, which are related in quick succession. She circumcised the child, touched his feet with it, and spoke the words, ‘You are a blood-bridegroom to me.’ Of these three only the first is comparatively clear, although even here one could wonder why the child is designated ‘her son’. In the second clause it is not clear as to whose ‘feet’ were touched with the foreskin, what part of the body was intended (cf. Isa. 6.2), or what was the purpose of the action. In my opinion, the redactor of the present narrative seemed to have understood the child as the recipient of the action. The smearing of the blood serves as a visible demonstration that circumcision had indeed been performed. Whether this was the original meaning of the action is uncertain. The significance of Zipporah’s words remains one of the most enigmatic parts of the story, and the attempts to unravel its mystery are almost legion. To whom were the words addressed? On the surface they seem to apply neither to the child nor to Moses, and assuredly not to Yahweh. The frequent suggestion of translating the phrase on the basis of Arabic to mean ‘the blood-circumcised one’ escapes some of the difficulties but cannot be sustained philologically. It appears probable that the term was a technical one and was intelligible at some earlier stage of the tradition. It is possible that elements from an older etiology were involved. But this dimension of the tradition has now been hopelessly, and perhaps consciously, blurred in the present story. In fact, it is a real question whether the author any longer attached any meaning to it. This impression is confirmed by the final comment which he joins to the story. ‘At that time she said “blood-bridegroom” in reference to circumcision.’ This comment does not even attempt to explain the meaning of the expression. What it does is to relate the phrase to the rite of circumcision. Whatever the details of this story meant – probably the final collector no longer fully understood – it belonged to circumcision which the author assumes to be a familiar institution and established within Israel. One thing which is completely clear in the passage is that Zipporah’s action resulted in the release of Moses. If one looks at the story as a whole in its present form, it serves to dramatize the tremendous importance of circumcision. Although the fact is never stated directly, the implication is certainly that Moses was held culpable for its omission. Indeed so serious was the offense as to have nearly cost him his life. When Zipporah righted the omission, he was released.​

Brevard S. Childs, The Book of Exodus (1974)

Without accepting his position with regard to the origins of the text of Exodus, this is how I would explain this passage.

In one of the strangest episodes in the whole Old Testament, after this whole conversation the Lord himself tries to kill Moses, when he and his family stopped to rest on their way from Midian to Egypt. It could seem like the Lord is the obstacle in this episode, but really Moses was still the problem. It was somehow obvious that Moses was about to die. His wife Zipporah understood that the reason was their failure to circumcise their son. So she circumcised him and applied the blood of that surgery to Moses. Then the Lord let him live. Moses was the problem here again, because he had failed to circumcise his son.

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant. Not applying that sign to his son was disobedience, and it showed indifference to God’s promise. This event solemnly tells us that God’s servants must be consecrated to him. How could he be the instrument to fulfill God’s promises, if he had not been careful that he and his family were within the orbit of God’s promise?

This story is also similar to the Passover narrative that’s coming up. There also each family was in danger of a death brought about by the Lord, and the way to be saved was by the application of blood. In order to be the redeemer of the people, Moses needed to obey God. But even more fundamentally, he needed to be saved.

Moses was freed from a righteous condemnation through the shedding of blood. What happened to him in a literal and visible way is also true of us. Because Christ spilled his blood and that blood is sprinkled on us, we are free from the penalty of death that is our just portion.

The first requirement for God’s servant, then, is to receive God’s mercy. God can use the actions of the unbelieving to accomplish his purposes, but in order to serve him from the heart we need to be forgiven through the shedding of Christ’s blood. Without that, obedience is meaningless. On that basis, sincere obedience first becomes possible. Having been reminded in this way of the importance of forgiveness and consecration, Moses was further encouraged when his brother met him and the elders of Israel believed his word.

From all of this, it’s obvious that God has been very patiently merciful towards Moses. Although the text speaks of God’s anger and attempt to kill him, God used those severe measures, as well as gentler ones, to make Moses thoroughly assured and prepared for his great work.

This is also a fun passage for proof of God's sincere and well-meant desire to kill his appointed representatives.
 

RJ Spencer

Puritan Board Freshman
I always hesitate to disagree with Bruce (I rarely hesitate at all to disagree with Douglas Stuart, whose idiosyncratic commentary on Exodus has a lot of good stuff but also a lot of wild speculation and a unique fascination with lice), but the reading offered by Brevard Childs which understands Moses as the one who was in danger of losing his life.

I agree. I think the Wycliffe Bible got it correct as well. Why else would Zipporah cast the foreskin at the feet of Moses?
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
I agree. I think the Wycliffe Bible got it correct as well. Why else would Zipporah cast the foreskin at the feet of Moses?

Where does it say she cast it specifically at Moses' feet? The Hebrew is silent concerning Moses in this pericope. The ESV inserts "Moses."

Exodus.4.25.png

"Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet"
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ex 4:25). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

"So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched his legs with it"

Jewish Publication Society. (1985). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Ex 4:25). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

"And then Shiphrah, taking a flint stone, cut around the foreskin of her son and fell at his feet and said, “The blood of the circumcision of my young child is accomplished.”

Brannan, R., Penner, K. M., Loken, I., Aubrey, M., & Hoogendyk, I. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Septuagint (Ex 4:25). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

"Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet"
American Standard Version. (1995). (Ex 4:25). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
"It is assumed by many translations that Yahweh was here seeking to kill Moses. However, in the original text the name Moses does not appear. It simply says that ‘Yahweh met him and he sought to kill him.’ The question then arises who is the person referred to by the ‘him’ (the third person masculine singular), referred to in this verse. There is every reason to believe, as will be demonstrated below, that the author is speaking of Gershom, the first-born son of Moses.

4:25. And Zipporah took a flint and she cut the foreskin of her son, and she touched it to his feet. And she said, ‘For a covenant-relative of blood you are to me.’

Again, the name of Moses does not appear in the original Hebrew text of this verse. It simply says, ‘And Zipporah took a flint and she cut the foreskin of her son and she touched it to his feet.’ It is likely that Moses is not the central figure of this episode, but rather his son (cf. Gen. 17:14).
But what does one do with the word ‘bridegroom’ that is used in so many translations? Why would she call her son by that term? The Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament not only to refer to a bridegroom, but to a son-in-law, a father-in-law and even a mother-in-law. It is used of Jethro in 3:1 and 4:18 to describe his family relationship to Moses. The basic idea of the word stresses that a person has been made part of a family, that he or she has become a blood relative through a covenant relationship. Thus, Moses’ son has been circumcised as a symbol of his entrance into the covenant community/family.
Zipporah then takes the blood of the foreskin and places it on the child’s feet. On occasion the term for ‘feet’ can be used of genitalia (Judg. 3:24; 1 Sam. 24:3), and that is perhaps where Zipporah smeared the blood of the circumcision. This act may serve as a precursor or preview of the forthcoming exodus event, in which God passes over the houses of his people who have blood smeared on their doorposts. The blood, in both cases, serves as a protective sign against Yahweh’s wrath."



Currid, J. D. (2000). A Study Commentary on Exodus: Exodus 1–18 (Vol. 1, pp. 115–116). Darlington, England; Carlisle, PA: Evangelical Press.
 

RJ Spencer

Puritan Board Freshman
"It is assumed by many translations that Yahweh was here seeking to kill Moses. However, in the original text the name Moses does not appear. It simply says that ‘Yahweh met him and he sought to kill him.’ The question then arises who is the person referred to by the ‘him’ (the third person masculine singular), referred to in this verse. There is every reason to believe, as will be demonstrated below, that the author is speaking of Gershom

Bridegroom and in-laws are relatives through marriage... How would this term Hatan or Chathan apply to her son?
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you, Ben, for posting this. I just read through this passage the other day (for the 100th time) and really longed to understand it.

This story is really without great detail, but brings up lots of questions. I suspect answering them might be going beyond Scripture, but I'd like to know what others speculate.
How did Zipporah know she must circumcise the child to save Moses' life?
How close did Moses come to death and by what means (blunt object? sudden shortness of breath?)
Did God meet him in a physical from, like when Jacob wrestled?

————————

Robert,
Thank you for all the info you have posted in this thread.
Moses had two sons at this time, correct? Do you think the younger one was circumcised? Or was only Gershom targeted because he was the oldest?

Out of the commentaries that I have read on Exodus, Stuart provides the answers I most agree with. As always, context is key.
————————————-
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you, Rev. Bruce.
If I may ask you, was Zipporah’s father a priest of the Lord God, or a pagan priest? I hope that isn’t a dumb question, but I have heard both.
Would they have been practicing circumcision in Midian for the covenant?
Also, with Moses being raised by Pharoh’s daughter, did he know about covenantal Circumcision while living among the Egyptians? Thank you for indulging me.


For what it's worth, here is an excerpt from my preaching notes on the passage (about 11yrs ago I think)
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for this response. It was very helpful. I have also wondered if the bloody scene was related to the Passover.


I


Without accepting his position with regard to the origins of the text of Exodus, this is how I would explain this passage.

In one of the strangest episodes in the whole Old Testament, after this whole conversation the Lord himself tries to kill Moses, when he and his family stopped to rest on their way from Midian to Egypt. It could seem like the Lord is the obstacle in this episode, but really Moses was still the problem. It was somehow obvious that Moses was about to die. His wife Zipporah understood that the reason was their failure to circumcise their son. So she circumcised him and applied the blood of that surgery to Moses. Then the Lord let him live. Moses was the problem here again, because he had failed to circumcise his son.

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant. Not applying that sign to his son was disobedience, and it showed indifference to God’s promise. This event solemnly tells us that God’s servants must be consecrated to him. How could he be the instrument to fulfill God’s promises, if he had not been careful that he and his family were within the orbit of God’s promise?

This story is also similar to the Passover narrative that’s coming up. There also each family was in danger of a death brought about by the Lord, and the way to be saved was by the application of blood. In order to be the redeemer of the people, Moses needed to obey God. But even more fundamentally, he needed to be saved.

Moses was freed from a righteous condemnation through the shedding of blood. What happened to him in a literal and visible way is also true of us. Because Christ spilled his blood and that blood is sprinkled on us, we are free from the penalty of death that is our just portion.

The first requirement for God’s servant, then, is to receive God’s mercy. God can use the actions of the unbelieving to accomplish his purposes, but in order to serve him from the heart we need to be forgiven through the shedding of Christ’s blood. Without that, obedience is meaningless. On that basis, sincere obedience first becomes possible. Having been reminded in this way of the importance of forgiveness and consecration, Moses was further encouraged when his brother met him and the elders of Israel believed his word.

From all of this, it’s obvious that God has been very patiently merciful towards Moses. Although the text speaks of God’s anger and attempt to kill him, God used those severe measures, as well as gentler ones, to make Moses thoroughly assured and prepared for his great work.

This is also a fun passage for proof of God's sincere and well-meant desire to kill his appointed representatives.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Thank you, Rev. Bruce.
If I may ask you, was Zipporah’s father a priest of the Lord God, or a pagan priest? I hope that isn’t a dumb question, but I have heard both.
Would they have been practicing circumcision in Midian for the covenant?
Also, with Moses being raised by Pharoh’s daughter, did he know about covenantal Circumcision while living among the Egyptians? Thank you for indulging me.
Midian was a son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen.25:2). Moses fled to the land of Midian (Ex.2:15ff), where eventually he met a certain priest of Midian through doing kindness to his shepherdess daughters; and married one of them who bore him a son (vv21-22).

Midianites seem to have adopted a decentralized political organization, following a clan structure. So, for example when fighting against Midianites near the end of the wilderness wandering (Num.31) there are five kings named as targets, v8 (princes, Jsh.13:21). When Gideon fought the Midianites, his allies caught and killed two "princes" (Jdg.7:25) and he killed two himself (Jdg.8:21, "kings" v5).

What inferences can we get from these gleanings? As an extended family confederation (amphictyony) the Midianites could take the forms of either friend or foe, depending on the exact connection. Their heritage-tie to the patriarch Abraham inclines me to conclude the father-priest model of Abraham prevailed in some fashion among those who learned their religion first in his sphere of influence. Moreover, it seems reasonable to think that aspects of the content of his (true) faith was passed on for a period of time in certain branches of his family.

Another example of religion in this form may be observed in Job, see 1:1-5 & ch.42; leading to the interpretation that his experience took place in patriarchal times (or at least before Israel settled in the Promised Land). Job and his friends, when names and places are examined, seem likely associated with the environs of Edom; Edom is tied to Esau, and so back to Abraham. Ishmaelite clans are rarely identified in the OT, but it might not be too much to expect some slight Abrahamic influence found also in their midst. We know Abraham had religious impact on the territory wherein he dwelt, something very evident in Gen.20 & 21 through his dealings with Abimelech of Gerar.

A Philistine king that feared and worshiped God may have been rare (not that the lack of it justified lying to him) and getting rarer--as true knowledge of God ebbed further out of the rest of the human race not explicitly in covenant and regular communication with God--but it was still present. Witness #1: Melchizedek, an Amorite king-priest, so far as we can tell. So, if rudimentary knowledge still remained before Abraham arrived, and his witness upon arrival in Canaan supplied a boost of energy to sustain it a while longer...

it stands to reason it would persist among his descendants--including them outside the formal covenant-community (and he deliberately sent these other sons away from Isaac, not as punishment per Ishmael, but by design, Gen.25:6). Therefore, among the Midianites we might reasonably expect to find remnants of true religion. Furthermore, Moses' presence in one particular Midianite household constitutes the presence of refreshing grace in the form of another witness to the truth. His knowledge he probably imparted to his father-in-law over many decades, strengthening faith and knowledge in that clan. But not necessarily, and evidently not, in Midian as a whole.

********************
I see no reason to think Midian practiced any form of circumcision related to true religion, and positive reason to think they did not. That Midian was circumcised in the house of Abraham could have led to a cultural practice among his descendants; but a cultural practice is not a covenant practice. And in the Bible, Israelite circumcision is covenantal, it is religious. I think if Midian had circumcised his sons as a covenant practice, he would also have had to teach them that they were the servants of Isaac, and servants of Isaac's heir, forever. There is no evidence of this happening.

*********************
As for Moses' upbringing in Pharaoh's house, from Ex.2:8-10 we know that Moses had continual contact with his birth mother, who was contracted to nurse him. Heb.11:23 indicates that Moses' faith was a direct result of his Hebrew parent's faith and practice. So, it seems clear to me that he was taught from early in life the faith of his fathers, along with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians," Act.7:22. Instruction in holy wisdom would include the law of circumcision, and its meaning.
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
Wow, thank you, Reverend! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your insights and wisdom with me and whoever else may read this read. You have no idea how helpful you have been on so many topics, as I was a lurker for a long time before joining the board.

I especially found this helpful: ”Furthermore, Moses' presence in one particular Midianite household constitutes the presence of refreshing grace in the form of another witness to the truth.”

I like thinking of it as “refreshing grace”, as that makes perfect sense to me. I will continue to ponder this some more in light of everything you’ve said.

I do have a clarifying question, if you are able to give any more time and effort to me:
I am having trouble connecting Judges 13:21, except that Hagar also sees the Angel of the Lord in Genesis 21. Am I missing something? Thank you and may God bless you!



What inferences can we get from these gleanings? As an extended family confederation (amphictyony) the Midianites could take the forms of either friend or foe, depending on the exact connection. Their heritage-tie to the patriarch Abraham inclines me to conclude the father-priest model of Abraham prevailed in some fashion among those who learned their religion first in his sphere of influence. Moreover, it seems reasonable to think that aspects of the content of his (true) faith was passed on for a period of time in certain branches of his family.

A Philistine king that feared and worshiped God may have been rare (not that the lack of it justified lying to him) and getting rarer--as true knowledge of God ebbed further out of the rest of the human race not explicitly in covenant and regular communication with God--but it was still present. Witness #1: Melchizedek, an Amorite king-priest, so far as we can tell. So, if rudimentary knowledge still remained before Abraham arrived, and his witness upon arrival in Canaan supplied a boost of energy to sustain it a while longer...

it stands to reason it would persist among his descendants--including them outside the formal covenant-community (and he deliberately sent these other sons away from Isaac, not as punishment per Ishmael, but by design, Gen.25:6). Therefore, among the Midianites we might reasonably expect to find remnants of true religion. Furthermore, Moses' presence in one particular Midianite household constitutes the presence of refreshing grace in the form of another witness to the truth. His knowledge he probably imparted to his father-in-law over many decades, strengthening faith and knowledge in that clan. But not necessarily, and evidently not, in Midian as a whole.

********************
I see no reason to think Midian practiced any form of circumcision related to true religion, and positive reason to think they did not. That Midian was circumcised in the house of Abraham could have led to a cultural practice among his descendants; but a cultural practice is not a covenant practice. And in the Bible, Israelite circumcision is covenantal, it is religious. I think if Midian had circumcised his sons as a covenant practice, he would also have had to teach them that they were the servants of Isaac, and servants of Isaac's heir, forever. There is no evidence of this happening.

*********************
As for Moses' upbringing in Pharaoh's house, from Ex.2:8-10 we know that Moses had continual contact with his birth mother, who was contracted to nurse him. Heb.11:23 indicates that Moses' faith was a direct result of his Hebrew parent's faith and practice. So, it seems clear to me that he was taught from early in life the faith of his fathers, along with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians," Act.7:22. Instruction in holy wisdom would include the law of circumcision, and its meaning.
 

Nomos

Puritan Board Freshman
Bridegroom and in-laws are relatives through marriage... How would this term Hatan or apply to her son?

Robert apparently doesn't like to have to repeat himself, so I will point to the portion of his quote that he believes answers your question:

The basic idea of the word stresses that a person has been made part of a family, that he or she has become a blood relative through a covenant relationship. Thus, Moses’ son has been circumcised as a symbol of his entrance into the covenant community/family.

I couldn't find any actual examples of the word being used this way in antiquity, and no examples were given to support the point in the original quote.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Robert apparently doesn't like to have to repeat himself, so I will point to the portion of his quote that he believes answers your question:

I asked him a question and have had no response. My time is rather limited.

I couldn't find any actual examples of the word being used this way in antiquity, and no examples were given to support the point in the original quote.

The chart below illustrates all of the ways the word is used in the Old Testament.
HotenChart.png
Looking at the above uses of how it is used in the Old Testament alone, without combing through antiquity, is perfectly in line with the portion you quoted. Let me repeat that portion:
 

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Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
"חָתָן, Sam.M64 ʿāten (→ חֹתן !): Ug. ḫatnu son-in-law (PRU 3:233; UTGl. 1025);
• MHb., JArm. CPArm. Sam. Syr. חַתְנָא, Nab. DISO 98, son-in-law, bridegroom, child to be circumcised (MHb. ?), Syr. also father-in-law, brother-in-law;
• Arb. and OSArb. (ZAW 75:309) ḫatan son-in-law, bridegroom;
• Akk. ḫat(a)nu relative by marriage, son-in-law, brother-in-law, bridegroom, (AHw. 335, WSem. ? Goetze Orient. 16:246f):
• חֲתַן, חֲתָנוֹ, חֲתָנָיו:
• one who by marriage (as daughter’s husband or brother-in-law) has become a relative to another man and his family and enjoys their protection (→ חתן, Akk.);
• connection with circumcision as original puberty practice (→ חתן, Ar.; circumcised before marriage by future father-in-law, cf. Gn 34; → Wellhausen Heidentum 175f; HwbIsl. 314f; de Vaux Inst. 1:80):
1. daughter’s husband Gn 19:14 (dl. חָתָן וּ v.12) Ju 15:6 19:5 1S 18:18 22:14 Neh 6:18 13:28;
2. bridegroom, newly married :: כַּלָּה Is 61:10 62:5 Jr 7:34 16:9 25:10 33:11 Jl 2:16 Ps 19:6;
• חֲתַן דָּמִים Ex 4:25f (Gressmann Mose 56ff; Gunkel Märchen 72ff :: Junker Fschr. Notscher 120ff);
3. חֲתַן בֵּית אַחְאָב related by marriage to the house of Ahab 2K 8:27. †


Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1994–2000). The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed., pp. 364–365). Leiden: E.J. Brill.
 

RJ Spencer

Puritan Board Freshman
I couldn't find any actual examples of the word being used this way in antiquity, and no examples were given to support the point in the original quote.

Then why quote someone that believes it to be the case if there is no instance? Same with the Hebrew word for feet being used in reference to genitals... No such instance exists. I don't understand the need to talk down to others, especially when you are going beyond scripture to suggest that the interpretation of another is wrong. I willingly admit that I am not as smart as most of the other people on this board, but until someone shows me from scripture that my understanding is wrong I will stand firm in my belief. Even the most common and most popular jewish interpretation disagrees with your interpretation, they believe that God sought to kill the youngest son in accordance with the Talmud. How can we be smug in our understanding when there are at least three different viable interpretations?
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Then why quote someone that believes it to be the case if there is no instance? Same with the Hebrew word for feet being used in reference to genitals... No such instance exists. I don't understand the need to talk down to others, especially when you are going beyond scripture to suggest that the interpretation of another is wrong. I willingly admit that I am not as smart as most of the other people on this board, but until someone shows me from scripture that my understanding is wrong I will stand firm in my belief. Even the most common and most popular jewish interpretation disagrees with your interpretation, they believe that God sought to kill the youngest son in accordance with the Talmud. How can we be smug in our understanding when there are at least three different viable interpretations?
Are you referring to me as the one "talking down to others" and being "smug?" If so, my apologies. My intention is never to talk down to others especially when discussing things pertaining to our God.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Bridegroom and in-laws are relatives through marriage... How would this term Hatan or Chathan apply to her son?
Take a look at the chart of how the word is used along with the lexicon entry I posted. They are two of the last things I posted. Hopefully this helps answer you question.
 

Nomos

Puritan Board Freshman
The chart below illustrates all of the ways the word is used in the Old Testament.
View attachment 6449
Looking at the above uses of how it is used in the Old Testament alone, without combing through antiquity, is perfectly in line with the portion you quoted. Let me repeat that portion:

Which verse in the Bible do you have in mind where you have found a parallel use of this word to describe a similar scenario as this passage?
 
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