Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let's Do a Little Bible Study

So, here's a passage that I don't remember there ever being a flannelgraph story for in Sunday School.

It has been on my mind all week. Let's dissect it together. Remember the process of Bible study - observe first, then interpret, then apply. Read through it and make some observations and share them with us all. We'll get to interpreting and applying after that.

Some background: Moses killed an Egyptian then ran for his life to the pastureland of Midian. There, he met and married his African wife Zipporah. Eventually, God showed up in a burning bush telling him to head back to Egypt and lead the children of Israel in their exodus. He complains and tries to beg out of it, pissing God off, but finally agrees to go, says goodbye to his father-in-law and heads out. That's where we pick up:

Exodus 4.24-31 (TNIV)

24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it. "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said "bridegroom of blood," referring to circumcision.)

27 The LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the signs he had commanded him to perform.

29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.


H said...

I would have loved to have seen the flannel board figure for a foreskin.

Aaron said...

Maybe that's why the divorce rate is so high, we need to start incorporating foreskin and the phrase "bridegroom of blood" into our marriage ceremonies.

Robb said...

Any thoughts about God heading out to kill Moses like the day after the burning bush incident? That doesn't seem a little strange to anyone?

klasieprof said...

THank GOD I read this before leaving for work this morning...NOW, I've done my bible reading for the day, and I can meditate on scripture-the foreskin kind of scripture.

God Bless the Grenzian.

Robb said...

Donna, that's why I'm here - to make sure you're thinking about foreskins.

corexian said...

Actually, I just read through this passage this week and the language/situation still has me scratching my head.

I do know that God expected Moses to be circumcised and to do the same for his son. But I just feel like I'm missing some of the story, maybe because of cultural distance.

H said...

I think this was God's "Bill Cosby" moment. He brought Moses into the world, and (once he becomes a brat) God decides to take him out.

Matthew said...

If Moses was supposed to lead his people out of Egypt, he would likely be expected to be an example to them, wouldn't he? This would mean that all of the covenants expected of Abraham et al would be expected of Moses as well.

Now, just for the sake of argument, let's say that Moses had not circumcised his son as he was supposed to have in accordance with the covenant of circumcision in Genesis 17:13-14 because Zipporah didn't want him to. In order to be an example, Moses would probably have to be a darn near perfect example, and if he wasn't so, then he wasn't much value to the Lord's purpose. Perhaps the Lord threatened Moses's life to get it across to Zipporah (and Moses) that this was important and expected of everybody in Moses's household (and would be expected in ALL of the Lord's people's households, both the direct descendants of Abraham and any non-Jewish people who decided to become part of them [at least I think that was possible--I never can remember]).

Or perhaps it's a mystery? ;-)

The disturbing thing for me is reading Genesis 17 in which Abraham circumcises himself, his son Ishmael, and every male in his household. I can just see his male servants now, "you want to do WHAT?!?! Put that knife down, old man. Get off me, you old buzz--OUCH!!!" Also, can you imagine how much that would have to hurt, particularly if you're 99 years old? OWWEE! I bet that stung a bit, to say the least.

Robb said...

Matthew, your comment reminds me of the fun story after the rape of Dinah when the sons of Jacob convince a whole town of men to be circumcised, and then while they're all doubled over in pain, they smite them. Good times.

Matthew said...

I always thought that one was a particularly mean trick, but I suppose rough time call for rough measures.

Marsue said...

Zipporah saved Moses' life. Her sacrifice and obedience led the Lord to "leave him alone". It was a sacrifice for her to inflict great physical pain on her son to save her husband.