Old Testament

The Pentateuch

Why did God try to kill Moses?

When Moses packed up his family and headed back to Egypt, they stopped one night to camp. There, “the Lord met him and tried to kill him”. In reaction, Zipporah, Moses’ wife, took a flint and circumcised their son. She touched Moses’ feet with the foreskin and cried, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” (NRSV, Exodus 4:25) After that, God let Moses alone. What went on here? There is only speculation. One interpretation is that God was going to prevent Moses from carrying out a divine mission while his household was still uncircumcised. Zipporah’s cry might have been the result of exasperation she felt at not understanding fully this new phase in her life.


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