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Biblical People
Zipporah (z-pora). [Heb. Sipporah, “female bird.” The name is attested in Palmyrene as Spr.] Daughter of Jethro, priest of Midian, and wife of Moses (Ex 2:21; 3:1). She traveled with Moses toward Egypt after he had received his commission to deliver Israel, and on the way circumcised her son (ch 4:18-26). Some time before Moses' negotiations with Pharaoh concerning the Israelites' departure from Egypt, she and her 2 sons were evidently sent away to her father for their safety (ch 18:2, 3). After the departure of Israel from Egypt, Jethro brought them back to Moses while the Israelites encamped at “the mountain of God” (ch 18:1-6, RSV). In Num 12:1, 2, Moses' wife is called a “Cushite” woman (see Ethiopia). This appellation was not unlikely to be applied to a Midianite, for Midian was a part of northwestern Arabia where some Cushite tribes lived. Then again this appellation might have been given to her because her complexion may have been darker than that of most Israelites. Some commentators think that Num 12:1, 2 does not refer to Zipporah but to another wife of Moses, but there is no evidence whatever that Moses had more than one wife.

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.

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