Lord sought to kill Moses and son’s circumsision

Hi could someone explain the passage in Ex 4 where there is a section that talks about Lord sought to kill him but Zipporah circumcise shud son


@Kishore_Hanani My understanding of this passage is that Moses had failed to circumcise his son, as God had commanded, so when he was on his way to Egypt God required that Moses comply with the terms of the Abrahamic covenant. It was Moses’ life that was in danger, not his son’s life. Moses was culpable for failing to keep the terms of the covenant. His wife called him a ‘bridegroom of blood’ because as a result of marrying Moses she had to circumcise their son. That is my understanding of the passage.

The next section (vv. [24-26](javascript:{})) records a rather strange story. God had said that if Pharaoh would not comply he would kill his son—but now God was ready to kill Moses, the representative of Israel, God’s own son. Apparently, one would reconstruct that on the journey Moses fell seriously ill, but his wife, learning the cause of the illness, saved his life by circumcising her son and casting the foreskin at Moses’ feet (indicating that it was symbolically Moses’ foreskin). The point is that this son of Abraham had not complied with the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. No one, according to [Exod 12:40-51](javascript:{}), would take part in the Passover-exodus who had not complied. So how could the one who was going to lead God’s people not comply? The bold anthropomorphisms and the location at the border invite comparisons with [Gen 32](javascript:{}), the Angel wrestling with Jacob. In both cases there is a brush with death that could not be forgotten. NET Bible Note


Thanks SeanO but it sounds rather strange that suddenly without warning God sought to kill Moses. Do we assume that it was deliberately that Moses did not circumcise his son ? When God instructs Moses as to what he ought to do like remove your sandals, go to pharaoh do these miracles etc… he could have instructed him about the covenant. Looks like he caught him off guard


@Kishore_Hanani I agree—it is a strange passage. As of 2010, there were at least 43 different ways this passage has been interpreted (Willis). Even scholars do not have a firm grip on exactly what is going on in the passage, so it is understandable that you find it bewildering.

Not all Biblical texts are equally clear. This particular passage has been compared to the “sons of God” passage in Genesis 6 in regards to the difficulty of achieving a clear interpretation. But I think one thing we can take away from the passage based on all that I read is the importance of keeping a covenant with God. Circumcision was the sign of the covenant, and most commentators I read acknowledge the problem here is that for some reason Moses did not circumcise one of his sons. Circumcision foreshadowed Christ’s work on the cross that would circumcise our hearts, as well as the shedding of the blood of the Lamb in the Exodus.

So, for me, while the exact details of the passage and its place in the flow of the text are an open question, I am reminded that we must be holy as God is holy. We must approach Him through the covenant which He has established in Christ. What a tremendous privilege that we can enter into the presence of the living God!

Willis, John T. Yahweh and Moses in conflict: The role of Exodus 4: 24-26 in the book of Exodus . Vol. 8. Peter Lang, 2010.

Thus Childs suggests these points: (1) The child was circumcised by his mother because Moses did not do so. (2) The bloody
foreskin was touched to the feet of the child to demonstrate that the
circumcision was accomplished. (3) Questions about Zipporah’s
enigmatic words are unanswered. (4) The meaning of the passage is to be found in the tremendous importance attached to circumcision (and its role in the covenant of God and man).

These are the salient elements in Kaiser’s presentation: (1)
Moses was the one under God’s action, suffering from an (unnamed) illness that incapacitated him. (2) The child (presumably Gershom) had not been circumcised, possibly the result of a
family dispute. (3) Zipporah showed revulsion to the act of circumcision of her son, as seen in her words to Moses; nevertheless
she acted to save Moses’ life. (4) One senses the homiletical point
in Kaiser’s last paragraph: What sadness if one were to lose a
ministry for God just to keep peace in the home.

Allen, Ronald B. “THE” BLOODY BRIDEGROOM" IN EXODUS 4: 24-26." Bibliotheca Sacra 153.611 (1996): 259-69.

Circumcision itself points to a larger implication of this passage. In order to be the bride
of YHWH, blood must be shed. This passage is a proleptic to Passover, which is clearly a
proleptic itself, pointing towards the true Passover lamb. The blood of circumcision, where the
flesh is cut off and separated from the body, is perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Without that
blood, YHWH meets us, to put us to death. But Jesus is our Bridegroom of Blood, the firstborn
son, the one who meets us as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:6).

Vroom, Nathaniel, and Richard Belcher. “THE BLOODY BRIDEGROOM AND THE BLOODY LAMB: AN EXEGESIS OF EXODUS 4: 19-26.” (2019).


Just my thoughts on these types of passages,
I feel there is a lot of back story between the characters that we were mot privy to that God knows. Perhaps in this case there were disagreements between the two and God gave the ultimate answer. Again as I see through my lens of scripture. Difficult to grasp something’s. Thank God he grasped me more than anything