Zipporah

ZIPPORAH (zĭ-pō'ra, Heb. tsippōrâh, bird, fem. of Zippor). Daughter of Jethro or Reuel, the priest of Midian, who became the first wife of Moses (Exod.2.21). She was the mother of Gershom and Eliezer (Exod.18.1-Exod.18.6). Apparently Moses sent her back to her father during the unsettled and troublous times connected with the Exodus, though she had at least started to Egypt with him (cf. Exod.4.20; Exod.18.2).


ZIPPORAH zĭp’ ə rə (צִפֹּרָ֥ה, LXX Σεπφώρα meaning bird, one of the seven daughters of Jethro [Reuel], priest of Midian [Exod 2:21, 22], Moses’ first wife and mother of Gershom and Eliezer [Exod 2:22; 18:3f.]). When Moses returned to Egypt, Zipporah and her sons accompanied him. On the way Yahweh rebuked Moses, either because he had not been circumcised before his marriage, or because he had not circumcised his son. Zipporah reluctantly obeyed her husband by circumcising her son, and then apparently touched Moses with the bloody foreskin and declared, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood” (Exod 4:24-26). Zipporah and her sons Gershom and Eliezer later returned to Jethro (Exod 18:2-4).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

zi-po’-ra, zip’-o-ra (tsipporah; Sepphora): The Midianite wife of Moses, daughter of Jethro, also called Hobab, and probably grand-daughter of Reuel, a priest of Midian at the time Moses fled from Egypt, later succeeded at his death by Jethro, or Hobab (Ex 2:21,22; 4:25,26; 18:2-6).

Whether or not Zipporah was the "Cushite woman" (Nu 12:1) is a much-mooted question. There is little ground for anything more than speculation on the subject. The use of the words, "Cushite woman" in the mouth of Aaron and Miriam may have been merely a description of Zipporah and intended to be opprobrious, or they may have been ethnic in character and intended to denote another woman whom Moses had married, as suggested by Ewald (Gesch. des Volkes Israel, II, 252). The former view seems the more probable. The association of Midian and Cushan by Habakkuk (3:7) more than 700 years afterward may hardly be adduced to prove like close relationship between these peoples in the days of Moses.