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Home » CHFWeb Forum » BibleIssues » Confused
Confused [message #785580] Sun, 25 August 2013 12:39 Go to next message
Michele (Queen of Cheap)  is currently offline Michele (Queen of Cheap)
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Exodus 4:24 specifically but I will copy and paste a few more verses. This is after God told Moses to go back to Egypt to confront Pharaoh and tell him to let the Hebrews go.

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. 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. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 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. <b>And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.</b> 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. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.
(Exodus 4:20-26)


Why did God, all of a sudden, want to kill Moses? Was it just because Moses' son had not been circumcised? It just sort of comes out of the blue with no explanation.


Michele, The Organic Queen of Cheap!
(aka Shelly the Swamp Frog)

Happily posting on CHF since 1995


Re: Confused [message #785593 is a reply to message #785580 ] Sun, 25 August 2013 21:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
LauraBeth  is currently offline LauraBeth
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He is going to Egypt to declare God's covenantal rescue to Israel, and his own son has not been inducted into the covenant. That's disobedience to the Gen.17 covenant that God made with (imposed on) Abraham. Other versions have Zipporah saying, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood"--which calls up the covenant language.

Background on covenants in this time: two parties would make a covenant by cutting an animal into pieces and then passing between the pieces of flesh. It was a way of saying, "May this (death) happen to me if I break the covenant." There were serious implications and consequences to breaking a covenant.

God's messenger, who was going back to proclaim God's remembrance of His covenant with Israel, simply could NOT be a covenant-breaker himself.
Re: Confused [message #785611 is a reply to message #785593 ] Mon, 26 August 2013 06:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michele (Queen of Cheap)  is currently offline Michele (Queen of Cheap)
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But didn't God say anything about this before this point? He has already chosen Moses to be his spokesman and Moses is on his way. Why didn't God tell Moses to circ his son or warn him of the consequences when he first spoke with Moses? Why wait until this point? It just sort of pops out of the blue.


Michele, The Organic Queen of Cheap!
(aka Shelly the Swamp Frog)

Happily posting on CHF since 1995


Re: Confused [message #785616 is a reply to message #785611 ] Mon, 26 August 2013 16:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
LauraBeth  is currently offline LauraBeth
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Well, I obviously don't know God was thinking. But maybe He waited until this point to a)help US to understand that He calls people BEFORE they are qualified to do the task He has appointed for them, and then accomplishes the qualifying for them, and b)to focus Moses' attention on the idea of covenant-keeping. Moses was about to go into Egypt and do some wacky, scary things in confronting Pharaoh--he needed to know that God was serious about the keeping of covenants--including His own covenant with the offspring of Abraham. That would be my take. Anyone else?
Re: Confused [message #786053 is a reply to message #785616 ] Mon, 02 September 2013 10:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Robin H.  is currently offline Robin H.
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Yes. Very good IMO LauraBeth.

Robin H.
Re: Confused [message #786120 is a reply to message #785580 ] Tue, 03 September 2013 09:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
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And it's always possible that he *did* say something before this point, and Moses just hadn't gotten around to obeying.

Like sometimes when we're ready to leave the house for a family event, I might go around and have the kids finish up all the little things I've told them to do and haven't checked (clutter in the living room, empty the trash, etc.). All things they should have done without my checking, but they got by with it because I was working on larger issues...but these things need to be done before we proceed.

God's not as forgetful or negligent as I am, but He might have His purpose for not insisting till a certain time.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Confused [message #786144 is a reply to message #785580 ] Tue, 03 September 2013 17:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
bolt.  is currently offline bolt.
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Quote:

Why did God, all of a sudden, want to kill Moses?

The passage was not clear as to which “he” God wanted to kill. It’s 50/50 whether God wanted to kill Moses, or if He wanted to kill Moses’ son.
Quote:

Was it just because Moses' son had not been circumcised?

Yes. God takes the idea of covenant heritage and the unity of His people very seriously, including obedience to the commands He has thus-far given. Circumcision was a command to Abraham and Moses needed to establish himself and his descendants as ‘within the covenant of the descendants of Abraham’ -- because he was rescuing the other children of Abraham (as an insider/peer, not an outsider/foreigner -- as his life to this point would naturally make him).
Quote:

It just sort of comes out of the blue with no explanation.

No, it comes on the very first night after his departure from the territory/authority of Zipporah’s father. It is Moses’ first night as an ‘independent patriarch of his own authority’ and the first night of his obedience to the mission God had given him.

The timing is critical.

When he was subordinate refugee married to the daughter of a king/warlord, he was not considered directly accountable for how his wife raised their son (which was probably not something he was directly involved in). Therefore this was the right time for God’s will on the subject to become much clearer. As soon as Moses left his relationship with Zipporah’s father, there were simply some things to set right, if the whole family was going to survive the holiness of Moses’ mission. The danger to the person (Moses or his son) here was also due to their greatly increased proximity to God’s work, and probably manifested as an illness.

God’s presence is holy, and holiness is dangerous, even deadly when approached to closely by sinners. It’s not something that God “decides to bring up” – it’s something that happens when sinful people begin to approach His presence, which was what was happening as that family began to walk out God’s active will in those days. Circumcision was something like a ‘safety measure’ – the safety comes because it is a way of showing that even as sinners, someone is a sinner by mistake, they don’t actually *want* to be in rebellion against God. (The danger comes from the way rebellion interferes with the life/love relationship between Creator and creations.)

Important note: This OT theology is not at all transferable to the Christian life. The Bible is clear that the redemption of Jesus has widespread effects on the whole world and all of humanity, as well as directly making believers and their children holy. Never, never interpret any illness as God’s way of saying, “Your family is getting so close to my will that you are in physical danger of illness/death, so you should find out which legalistic requirement you are neglecting and get on top of it, or people are going to die.” That is theologically impossible post-resurrection, not to mention pretty much insane.

I provide this information on “how holiness used to work” to clear up the confusion over passages like this one. It is a curiosity only. It honestly has NO (direct) life application. Holiness absolutely does not work this way anymore. It is one of the reasons salvation was needed, and salvation has very much satisfied it. I suppose an indirect life application would be simply grateful that we are ‘saved’ from the being endangered by God’s holiness by being drawn into God’s holiness itself. That’s pretty awesome. Go with that.

(Just please don’t go crazy with this info and your families, OK?)

Oh, and there are more questions this passage raises (other than these first few) so if you’d like to carry on, I do know more stuff about things like Zipporah’s significance and the references to ‘bridegroom of blood’ / ‘bloody husband’. It’s a fascinating narrative!

[Updated on: Tue, 03 September 2013 17:29]

Re: Confused [message #786191 is a reply to message #786144 ] Wed, 04 September 2013 16:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michele (Queen of Cheap)  is currently offline Michele (Queen of Cheap)
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Wow, Bolt! What a great answer! You always come up with the good stuff Very Happy


Michele, The Organic Queen of Cheap!
(aka Shelly the Swamp Frog)

Happily posting on CHF since 1995


Re: Confused [message #786278 is a reply to message #786144 ] Fri, 06 September 2013 04:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sherry in NH  is currently offline Sherry in NH
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Expand on Zipporah, etc., please. Interesting...


In Jesus

Sherry from NH
Re: Confused [message #786468 is a reply to message #785580 ] Tue, 10 September 2013 07:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
bolt.  is currently offline bolt.
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Zipporah has an interesting social role in the story of Moses (after leaving Egypt, before the burning bush).

You are dealing with a 'patriarch' society: a man's extended family and all their slaves and livestock and various holdings are what we would call a town. Sometimes this 'town' would be nomadic, other times it would be fairly settled. The patriarch would be something like a combination of a petty king, a priest, and a warlord. He has all the honour available, so is often called a king, even though he is only king over his own family and family lands.

It was Z's father's decision to incorporate M into his family/town/tribe by marriage to Z. In this way he grants M honour and a place but keeps him subordinate, contributing to the family. He was probably given such a good marriage because he was (in their eyes) a refugee Egyptian noble. If he had been 'just anyone' the warlord could have offered him marriage to his great-niece-twice-removed.

Z has been raised as a 'princess' -- a daughter of the warlord. She retains that place after marriage, and it is *her* status that grants M his status in the family. While she is female and therefore both 'property' and subordinate to males, she would retain her status among women as the daughter of the warlord, even after marriage.

Female 'doings' would have been separate from male: perhaps to the point of having 'womens areas' and 'mens areas' for sleeping and working. Marriage would not have made M and Z into a "couple" as we think of it. Z would still have primarily lived and worked among women, and her primary identifying relationship is still her father.

M's relationship is also primarily with her father, as he would be living and working closely with him.

So, when women have children, they are raised among women, not in family units. Various religious practices would still be practiced, and Z (if she was an elder princess) would have had a religious role. M's religious background would have no place in this clan, aside from his personal practices. He would not offend his FIL the priest, and he would have no influence over women's business.

All of this changes when M and Z (and their child/ren) leave.

Z's father would have thought he had secured M, using Z -- increasing his family's power and capacity. It is a tremendous loss to him, and he would have been within his rights to dissolve the marriage and keep his daughter and her child as his own.

As soon as they move somewhere else, all the lines of power change. There is no father/warlord/priest above both M and Z, and suddenly what M believes about God and religious practices begins to matter very much... and M's God says that how a child is raised needs to include circumcision.

This idea is unexpected to Z, who has to decide: am I going to live the religion I have always known and practiced, retaining my identity as a member of my father's tribe? Or is this a new tribe where M is the patriarch? The circumcision *done by Z* is her moment of "your God will be my God" -- her life is tied to M by blood, by the blood sacrifice of a part of her own son (as she would see it). Therefore they are not emissaries of her father, but a new "clan of Moses" with a new household God... it was Z who had to make that decision, because to God, it always matters what the women do. He works within the dynamic of recruiting a man to do His will (because that was culturally practical) but he always recruits the woman too.
Re: Confused [message #786521 is a reply to message #786468 ] Wed, 11 September 2013 04:20 Go to previous message
Emily
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Bolt - I've really enjoyed reading both your posts on this thread. Thanks for taking the time to write it all out!


Emily
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