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And yet, I can see how if Moses had been married before to the Ethiopian woman, that he might feel honor bound to cancel his second marriage.   Old Testament . This possibility might explain why Moses “sent back” Zipporah to her father’s house instead of taking her with him to Egypt (Exodus 18:2- 3). Some scholars even argue that Miriam and Aaron were sticking up for Zipporah because they felt that Moses was neglecting her because of his role as prophet. I blew it off , but a few years ago I found a reference to a past church policy "against" interracial marriage. This possibility is supported by the scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants 132:38 in which, while speaking of those ancient prophets who had multiple wives and concubines, the Lord says, “David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants…and in nothing did they sin.”.   Acts - Revelations I think that one of the most important things that we can learn from her story is that God is no respecter of persons, and that he loves and is aware of women no matter what color their skin. Regardless of who this woman was, and what the situation of her marriage to Moses was, she has a fascinating story. Though this Ethiopian woman’s identity is largely a mystery, there are several possibilities about who she could have been that add depth and understanding to this story. If this is the case then Miriam and Aaron’s objections to her may have had to do something with her priestly lineage as her father, Jethro, was a “priest” among the Midianites. Many times I would be cornered by men and women wanting to know if my husband and I were "really married". How fun! A Cushite is from Cush, a region south of Ethiopia, where the people are known for their black skin. Thirdly, the Tarqum of Jonathan associated the Cushite wife of Moses in Numbers 12:1 with the queen of Ethiopia: And Miriam and Aharon spake against Mosheh words that were not becoming with respect to the Kushaitha whom the Kushace has caused Musheh to take when he fled from Pharaoh but whom he had sent away because they had given him the queen of Kush, and he had sent her away. Hebrew: kushiyth (Koo-sheeth’) a Cushite woman (Strongs Hebrew Dictionary). Thus, the Queen of Sheba, whom Josephus says was the Queen of Ethiopia and Egypt, who visited Solomon in 992 B.C., roughly 540 years after Moses married the Ethiopian princess, came from this same royal city of SABA-SHEBA. Walking with the Women Books Stephen, at his martyrdom, said of Moses that he “. that if the author had known that the Ethiopian woman was Zipporah that he didn’t use her name. Personally, it makes me Ahitophel – The Wise Man who Committed Suicide. They were Midianites living in North West Arabia, just South of the Eastern arm of the Red Sea, known to us as the gulf of Aquaba. It therefore seems we must look for another wife! We don’t know what happened to her after Moses left Egypt. Moses is such an interesting subject that his life demands at least one more essay! Numbers 12:1. As you observed, we hear earlier of Moses marrying the daughter of Jethro the Midianite. There is always the possibility that this Ethiopian wife is the same woman as Zipporah. I just wanted to stop by and say that on Sunday a lady in my ward gave a talk and quoted something from a book of yours. Moses’ s Cushite wife as well as Rahab and Ruth “were essential to the forma tion, preservation, and deliverance of I srael, ” Karen S. Winslow , “ Mixed Marriage in T orah He publishes his studies researched, in Theology, World History, and the writings of the early Church Fathers. The Midianites lived in the Sinai region and in northern Arabia. Eventually this opposition to Moses resulted in Miriam being stricken with leprosy. Still, it is important to remember that while her marriage to Moses may have been that catalyst that prompted Miriam and Aaron to speak out against Moses, she wasn’t the real problem. Alexander and Daniel in History and Visions. Jim trained at the South African Bible Institute. It’s important that we study the scriptures our self, even the scripts we are told are not part of the sixty-six books, we’re left with. When he lived in those circumstances, he also lived in the culture. They were not the children of Ham, Cushites (i.e. He says Moses is faithful, and upbraids Aaron and Miriam for daring to say anything against Moses. in Habakkuk 3.7 "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction and Today there are marriages although the assumption that Moses had married before he left Egypt No. Artist Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), in his painting “ Moses and his Ethiopian wife Sephora,” depicts Zipporah as a Black woman. It is a very strange story. In this painting Moses is depicted with his Nubian or Ethiopian wife. We know that he married a girl named ‘Zipporah’ the daughter of Reuel/Jethro. Moses, Prince of Egypt CGG Weekly by Richard T. Ritenbaugh. It almost sounds like Moses was restoring the practice after a lapse similar to what Joseph Smith would do (after a much longer lapse – the Apostacy/Dark Ages). What a test for women! period they may have viewed Moses’ marriage to the Ethiopian woman as multiple wives I think that this Ethiopian woman’s presence is a good them to question Moses’ prophetic role and ability to receive While it was not uncommon for men to have multiple wives in this time   New Testament It was something about scripture reading…I can't remember exactly. Underneath the skin color we are all the same!!!! Hebrew: kushiyth (Koo-sheeth’) a Cushite woman (Strongs Hebrew Dictionary). Required fields are marked *. ): It is possible that Zipporah, Moses’ wife, could have died by this point in the Exodus story and that Moses married another woman who happened to be of Ethiopian heritage. Just an interesting thought. They sometimes refer to the parallel of this minor prophet: Habakkuk 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in … So Moses won the war using a clever stratagem to take the city by surprise, for he took a short cut across the narrow land between the horse shoe bend of the Nile river, clearing the snake infested ground with hungry Ibis birds, the natural enemy of snakes. think that we are dealing with two different women. We've updated our privacy policy to include the most recent GDPR updates. Aaron’s Grandson the Other Jericho Spy, 17. Jim Cole-Rous researched background information on Lesser Known Bible People beginning in 2008. Let us know about your decision. He was reverenced by ancient Hebrews as among the mightiest of their prophets and seers. In Biblical text, however, Moses is also castigated by his brother and sister for marrying a Cushite, which is a person from modern day Ethiopia. Moses first Marriage was to Adoniah as previously mentioned and his second marriage was to Reuel (Jethro) the Midianite’s daughter Zipporah. Obadiah’s Widow and God’s Deliverance, 36. This possibility is supported by the scripture found in, What’s Working and What Isn’t– A Homeschool Update, Walking With the Women of the Old Testament, Walking With the Women of the New Testament, Miriam and Aaron had a bad case of spiritual ego. Jasher 73:32-34 states that the marriage was not consummated because: “Moses feared the Lord God of his fathers, so that he came not to her, nor did he turn his eyes to her [his wife]. The only wife of Moses known by name is Zipporah. Welcome! Now the sister and brother challenge Moses about his wife. Your work has really spread I guess! The merits of this line of reasoning are examined herein, and the Biblical and profane record of Moses’ Ethiopian wife are explored. “Moses married an Ethiopian woman” is a common statement made in defense of interracial marriage. Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Now the sister and brother challenge Moses about his wife. Did Moses have a child? Moses had one or two wives, depending on how the Biblical text is interpreted. There is an understanding about Moses’ wife, which says that he was married to an Ethiopian lady. Now you know that Moses was in fact married to an Ethiopian, you can go and educate others. The one hang up with this explanation is that I have a hard time believing that Moses would marry a woman outside of the covenant, when he had  just spent the majority of his time teaching the people’s God’s laws, among which was the command to not intermarry with other nations who do not share the same covenants (Deuteronomy 7:1-6; Exodus 34:12-17). Some scholars speculate that if Zipporah’s people, the Midianites and Kenites, had migrated from Northern Africa ( or a place that also happened to be called Kush) that she might be referred to as  Ethiopian (Kushite). the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath In his case, Oliver took himself out of the camp of Israel for a little over 10 years.Orson Pratt sheds some light on Moses' marriage to the Ethiopian woman: "Moses…not only approbated polygamy but actually practiced it himself…The brother of Moses (Aaron) and the prophetess Miriam began to upraid him, in consequence of a certain Ethiopian wife he had taken. If you would like someone to pray for you, click the button and we’ll connect with you. By looking at the lineages we can safely conclude that Moses had at least two wives mentioned in scripture. Ramona, Thank you so much for your comment. Cushites were descendants from the line of Ham through his son Cush. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing Latter-day Saints, with good reason, also appreciate the importance and work of Moses. Moses and his brother Aaron came of goodly parents. Verse 16 is a "must do", and verse 17 shows as per the Statute of Num.30, that a father can "utterly refuse to give her unto him", which was not the case with Moses according to the record of Josephus, and he had in fact "married an Ethiopian woman": Numbers says so. was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt and mighty in words and deeds.” Acts 7:22. However these people were the descendants of Abraham and Keturah Gen.25:2. We are humans after all. I’ve never really understood why Moses would have sent Zipporah away, apparently with no intention of going to get her as it was her father, Jethro, who finally brought her and her sons back to Moses when he was the wilderness. Like Ayn brought up, there's a really great parallel between this situation of Moses and Miriam and the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery — how eerie that Moses' entering into plural marriage and Miriam's subsequent questioning his status as a true prophet mirrors what happened between Joseph and Oliver. It was the Capital of the very powerful Kingdom of Meroe during the time Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s Palace. There is no word of any kind against Moses or his Ethiopian wife. But he wa angry that they should make light of a thing which he himself esteemed as very sacred; and, as a consequence, he smote Miriam with leprosy." African Nations(and by extension Africans) mentioned in the Bible are Egypt,and Ethiopia(Moses' wife was at least half Ethiopian ). What Happened to John the Baptist’s Head? The woman is richly dressed and wears an extravagant African sun hat. Miriam and Aaron had a bad case of spiritual ego that was incubating way before this event happened. We can recognize him by the table of the law in his left hand. Apollos: Integrity Tested in a Godly Man, 37. 40. Even though Zipporah may have been married to Moses for almost  40 years by this point, Miriam and Aaron may have just recently met her. The woman being spoken of here is actually Tzippora (the one who is described as being Moses’ wife back in Exodus). I think you are right that sometimes it can be tempting to put our modern day perspectives on ancient scripture. The Jewish historian Josephus tells this story of Moses in his Antiquities Chapter 10, cited by Ireneus shortly after Josephus’ life time: “Josephus says that when Moses was nourished in the King’s Palace, he was appointed General of the Army against the Ethiopians, and conquered them when he married that King’s daughter; because out of affection for him, she delivered up the city to him.” Josephus tells us her name was ‘Tharbis’, and she had fallen in love with him, and the marriage was consummated. Certainly if he had left her, she would have either been killed or used to pressure him to surrender. The Ethiopians gave the Egyptians a lot of trouble, they invaded South Egypt repeatedly. Much more likely is that Zipporah had died (although her death is not recorded in Scripture) and that Moses had remarried. Whoever she was, and however she ended up being married to Moses, it appears that her situation was highly usual and prompted hard feelings between Moses and his siblings. Numbers 12:1 - an Ethiopian woman - Hebrew "a Cushite woman" - Arabia was usually called in Scripture the land of Cush, its inhabitants being the descendants of that son of Ham (see on Exodus 2:5) and being accounted generally a vile and contemptible race (see on Amos 9:7). While these anecdotes are not in the Bible itself, the authority for their truth is based on the historical records of the Jewish writers and Roman historians and at least one of the Church Fathers, Ireneus. 12:1). But it seems that eventually her heart was softened to it after her leprosy episode. I believe words have the power to change the future and heal the past. There is no other answer to this story except that Moses had married an Ethiopian wife, and Zipporah was not the wife God bound him to in Holy Matrimony: Moses is shown in Scriptures to have been faithful in keeping the Law of God, so since marriage is "bound by the law", as per Romans 7 and 1 Cor.7: 39, if Moses, supposing him to be a virgin, did marry a virgin Cushite woman, with her father's approval (the Statute of Numbers 30 would apply to that marriage and bind it), God bound them in marriage for life. Trophimus: Whose Praise is in the Churches. Some argue that this woman could have been Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro whom Moses married when he was in Midian (Exodus 2: 16-22). We know historically that around this time period that.   Matthew - John indicator of what D&C 132:38 teaches us is true–that Moses had more than Moses stands out as one of the greatest men ever to grace the earth. 43. She, and her marriage to Moses, a prophet of the Lord, is a beautiful testament to the truth taught in 2 Nephi 2:26, “and he[the Lord] denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”. Thank you for your thoughts about inter-racial marriages, it is an important perspective. We have been married for over 15 years. So Moses was in reality married to two women, the Ethiopian Princess “Tharbis” and the Midianite Princess “Zipporah”. Adam Clarke comments: Num 12:1 “Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses. inappropriate because she was a non-Israelite, they may have been Moses' Midianite wife was of Cushite ethnicity. We know from Exodus 2:21 that Moses married Zipporah, the daughter of the Midianite priest, Jethro (also known as Reuel). Midian was safe & sovereign territory, that the Egyptians dared not enter. For Moses remembered how Abraham made his servant Eliezar swear, saying unto him, Thou shalt not take a woman from the daughters of Canaan for my son Isaac. Some have tried to speculate that the later reference to Moses' wife as being a Cushite was still in reference to Zipporah. Moses' Ethiopian Wife. Moses had two sons. Still, it is strange to me Life is a journey we can travel together! Pardon me – that is Deuteronomy 21:15, not Exodus 21. 12.1). With her right hand she points to her heart. We learn in Numbers that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman (Num. What does an Ethiopian's skin color and facial features look like? Hi HeatherThis is a great synopsis, and I had a random thought once that Moses had more than one wife. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4). delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. We are told plainly she was an Ethiopian! Zipporah, Moses’ wife, was a Midianite woman. 1. Possibility #2: She is the same woman as Zipporah. “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman”. If this woman was indeed Moses’ first wife, before Zipporah, then it is beautiful to me that God intervened on her behalf and recognized the validity of her claim upon Moses as her husband. Two children, and they were circumcized as Jews. wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.”. 2 Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zippo’rah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons, of whom the name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”), 4 and the name of the other, Elie’zer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). He already had one wife, the daughter of Jethro…Did the Lord join in with them?…Did he say…It is sinful!   Book of Mormon. We know this because of Jeremiah 13:23: Can the Ethiopian [the same Hebrew word translated Cushite in Numbers 12:1] change his skin or the leopard his spots? And Mariam and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of the Ethiopian woman whom Moses took; for he had taken an Ethiopian woman. Jesus offers you forgiveness and a new life. Shortly after this Moses was forced to flee Egypt, and spent the next 40 years in Midian. Zipporah’s father was actually a Midianite (Ex. Possibility #3: Moses had multiple wives. 49. 22. \"And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman\" (Num. In  Bible times this was a powerful kingdom, sometimes rivaling Egypt in technology and power,  and one in which women often held the highest roles in government. Kush is the Hebrew name for Ethiopia (modern day Sudan and Ethiopia). Sinai: Ex.22:16,17. A new novel, Zipporah, Wife of Moses, by Marek Halter, puts a fictionalized spin on Zipporah by making her the "Cushite" or Ethiopian wife of Moses. Still, it is always possible that this woman converted to the faith and chose to follow the God of Abraham, which if she did is impressive on her part! Which is so interesting, because I think it has been something that LOTS of good women have stuggled with. It is likely that she may have been among the Kushite slaves brought to Egypt, and was delivered from her slavery along with the children of Israel when Moses led them out of Egypt. For if one is not a virgin at marriage, there is a judgment to do that God gave them at Mt. The idea that Moses and Aaron struggled with the concept of Moses's polygamy and the situations of his marriages seems to be an appropriate foil for current day struggles with Joseph Smith and his polygamy. In the end though it appears that Moses was able to keep both of his wives, Zipporah and the Ethiopian wife, and perhaps others. It is mentioned several times in the Bible and can be referred to by several names including: Ethiopia, Kush or Cush, and sometimes Nubia. I was so surprised! 30. In Moses' case, he probably married Zipporah because he thought he would never be returning to Egypt. all the other passages where she is mentioned she is called by her name. She is called an Ethiopian, which can also be translated as  Kushite, meaning she was from the ancient African kingdom of “Kush”, which is where modern day Sudan now is. There is no other answer to this story except that Moses had married an Ethiopian wife, and Zipporah was not the wife God bound him to in Holy Matrimony: Moses is shown in Scriptures to have been faithful in keeping the Law of God, so since marriage is "bound by the law", as per Romans 7 and 1 Cor.7: 39, if Moses, supposing him to be a virgin, did marry a virgin Cushite woman, with her father's approval (the … So Moses was in reality married to two women, the Ethiopian Princess “Tharbis” and the Midianite Princess “Zipporah”. In fact, given the scripture in D&C 132:38 I am inclined to believe that Josephus’s account of Moses marrying an Ethiopian woman while he was an Egyptian prince (before his marriage to Zipporah) is true. Moses fled from Egypt to this area. In this case He honors the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law, which is what Christ would teach centuries later. The House of Abinadab and the Ark of God. #2. I guess I've never seen a good picture of you! Given that this story involves a woman with black skin, do you see any possible significance in the fact that Miriam is cursed with leprosy and becomes as. These people were known to have very dark black skin and Jeremiah even alluded to this when he wrote: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Yet, she repented of her mistake and after seven days outside of the camp she was healed and returned to travel with the children of Israel. As I listen to various Bible documentaries and some other teachings, the point is made that Moses married an Ethiopian woman. I thought OK , this is why.In light of our recent observance of the life of Dr Martin Luther King, I would paraphrase that one day I would love to live in a world where people are not judged on the color of their skin but in the content of their character. Here we see God intervening in the attack. It appears that jealousy of the power and influence of Moses was the real cause of their complaint; though his having married an Ethiopian woman-האשה הכשית haishshah haccushith = ‘That Woman, the Cushite’, – was the ostensible cause.”, Numbers 12:4 “And the LORD spoke suddenly…”. Then, when he was commanded to return to Egypt, I could see how that might put him in a hard place, knowing that he already had a wife there as well. It seems logical that he would have been "married" as an Egyptian. Thanks for sharing this with me . Even Perhaps they doubted her commitment to the faith or had questions about her heritage or her suitability as the wife of the prophet. though the Old Testament account doesn’t make it clear that Moses had The Greatest Champion Of Woman And Womanhood Is Jesus Christ – James E. Talmage. Demonstrating to us in a powerful way that what matters to God is not the color of a person’s skin, but rather the  condition of their heart. Yet in the Book of Numbers Moses’s sister Miriam is upset about his having taken a “Cushite” wife. But, Heather, I think you can predict my opinion, that just as I went through a Miriam phase, most covenant women will have to have their "Miriam moment" before they are willing to accept that the righteous/authorized practice of plural marriage is of God, and to not mock, or belittle it or we will find ourselves outside the camp of Israel. I have issued a standing challenge for all my readers… The Women in the Scripture Challenge… are you super brave and daring enough to take the challenge? And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. The marriage between Moses and the Ethiopian woman was probably a political marriage, and they loved each other.And as in your post about Miriam, her reaction may have been one of misplaced jealousy and spite. Douay-Rheims Bible And Mary and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of his wife the Ethiopian, Darby Bible Translation N12-2: Who Exactly Was Moses’ Ethiopian Wife? Ethiopians).   Book of Mormon, Study Guides Numbers 12:1. Rashi makes this comment on verse 1, From Keil and Delitzsch's Commentaryof the same passage, What's more, when the Lord summoned the 3 of them (Moses, Aaron, and Miriam) to the door of the Tabernacle (vs 3) He called Aaron and Miriam and said, Miriam was identified as a "prophetess" (Ex. I think that this Ethiopian woman’s presence among the children of Israel tells us that she had joined them, and that she had accepted the God of Abraham as her own. This is a highly plausible explanation, and if this is the case we can see that Miriam and Aaron’s problem with Moses’ marriage may have been that he married a non-Israelite. Biblical Hebrew partial scholarship: https://goo.gl/AK3MUw For centuries, the Holy Bible has been a source of inspiration for people all over the world. However, for Miriam, who struggled with Moses' upbringing and calling anyway, having two wives was a very difficult thing for her to swallow. then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”  (Jer. I could see how Moses after fleeing Egypt, and knowing he could never return, might marry Zipporah and have children. You can discover a new path for living. The Midianites descended from Midian, the son of Abraham through his wife Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2) and while it is possible that the Midianites worshiped idols and false Gods, it does seem like Jethro (and perhaps Zipporah as well) had a sound understanding and testimony of the God of Abraham because in Exodus 18: 9-11 it states, “And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to In order to understand the significance of Miriam's role, and her subsequent judgment, it's necessary to understand the progression of the offence. Questions are good! Given this view of things, I can see how this whole situation would have rubbed Miriam and Aaron the wrong way and could have promoted them to question Moses and his authority. When we joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we were at times an "object of curiosity", and endured a frequent barrage of strange questions that bordered on rude. A) Moses’ Second Wife Was an Ethiopian Princess. Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil. Let us know your thoughts or concerns and we’ll connect with you. Numbers 12:1-10. Attention is drawn to the … 13:23). Like I said, this woman’s identity is a mystery, but I think there are three different situations in which she could have become Moses’ wife (if you happen to think of any more let me know! In a stricter sense the Kingdom of Meroe, from the junction of the Blue and the White Nile to the border of Egypt. The reasoning to support this idea is that Tzippora was a very dark-skinned person who was racially categorized as a Cushite but tribally as a Midianite. This page is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi) “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman” (Numbers 12:1).. Ethiopian woman literally means a “Cushite woman” (Gen. 10:6). Miriam and Aaron against Moses' Ethiopian wife; Miriam punished by God with leprosy. Moses could have ruled all of Egypt. And how have I been your blog friend this long and never realized that you were African American! Another possible scenario for this Ethiopian wife is that Moses took multiple wives, and that he married this woman at the same time he was married to Zipporah.

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