“And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He let him go. Then she said, “ You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.”
Exodus 4:24-26 NKJV https://www.bible.com/114/exo.4.24-26.nkjv
Why did the Lord want to kill Moses when He had sent him to Egypt to rescue Israel.
@geoff.hull Terrific question 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 if 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.
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).
I think that the writer must have left out some detail leading up to the this point. I think the conclusion that his son was not circumcised and that was Moses’ responsibility, sounds the most plausible explanation.