Exodus 4:25

Exodus 4:25

Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of
her son
Perceiving that it was the neglect of circumcising her son was the cause of the divine displeasure against her husband; and he being either so ill through the disease upon him, or so terrified with the appearance of the Lord to him, in the manner it was, that he could not perform this rite himself, she undertook it; and, according to the Jewish canons F2, a woman may circumcise; and having with her no instrument more proper to do it with, took a sharp stone, very probably a flint, of which there was great plenty in Arabia Petraea, where she was, and did it; and so the Jewish writers say F3, they circumcise with a flint stone, with glass, or anything that will cut; and such like actions have been performed with sharp stones among the Heathens F4: and cast it at his feet; not at the feet of the infant Eliezer, as R. Samuel in Aben Ezra; the blood of the circumcision running down to his feet, as Lyra interprets it; and so touched his feet F5, as some render the words; not cast at the feet of the destroying angel, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, in order to pacify him; but at the feet of Moses, as the Jerusalem Talmud F6; and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra: and said, surely a bloody husband art thou to me;
those who think it was at the feet of the child the foreskin was cast, take these words to be spoken of that, and observe that it is usual for women, at the circumcision of a child, to call it a bridegroom or husband, because it is then espoused unto, and reckoned among the people of God; but this is not well supported; it is a custom of too late a date to give any countenance to such a sense of the words, which seem plain enough to be spoken to and of Moses; but not in an angry upbraiding way, as if he was a bloody cruel man to oblige her to do such an action, but rather in a congratulatory way, as being thankful and rejoicing, that by this means, through the blood of the circumcision, she had saved her husband's life; and as it were in that way had bought him, and afresh espoused him to herself as her husband; or otherwise it would have been all over with him, but now to her great joy he was delivered from the threatened destruction, and restored to her; and so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase the next verse,

``then Zipporah gave praise, and said, how amiable is the blood of circumcision, which hath delivered my husband from the hand of the destroying angel.''

FOOTNOTES:

F2 Maimon. Hilchot Milah, c. 2. sect. 1. Shulchan Aruch, par. 2. Yore Dea, Hilchot Milah, c. 264. sect. 1.
F3 Maimon. ib. Shulchan ib. sect. 2.
F4 "Mollia qui rupta secuit genitalia testa." Juvenal Satyr 6. "Devolvit ipse acuto sibi pondera silice." Catullus.
F5 (wylgrl egtw) "tetigitque pedes ejus", V. L.
F6 T. Hieros. Nedarim, fol. 38. 2.
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