Wednesday, November 30, 2005

 

The Bridegroom of Blood

To me, the "Bridegroom of Blood" story is the most mysterious tale in the Bible. God tells Moses that he must go back to Egypt to lead his people out of slavery. As Moses and his family journey to Egypt, it seems that God tries to kill him. One translation reads

"On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met Moses and tried to kill him. But Zipporah, his wife, took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched his feet with it, and said 'Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!' So he let him alone. It was then she said, 'A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.'"

Whom is God trying to kill? Why? What is a "bridegroom of blood?" Biblical scholar and author Kenneth Davis suggests that circumcision was believed to ward off demonic attack. Because Moses was presumably not circumcised, the smearing of the blood on him may have protected him as well. Others suggest that Moses' wife wasn't fond of the Hebrew rite of circumcision and had resisted it. This passage might have referred to Moses contacting an incapacitating disease that almost killed him, leaving his wife to do what was necessary. One scholar says that this episode is so difficult to understand because the biblical narrator no longer knew its real meaning. It seems to be a fragment of a once independent tradition and exhibits archaic features, such as representing Yahweh as a kind of hostile night demon, and the use of a flint knife for circumcision.

Comments:
Very cool, Cliff. I didn't remember that bit.
 
This is a new one on me. Creepy!
 
The foreskin in some cultures is saved after circumcision. It may even be dried and worn around the neck of someone as a protective amulet.
 
Some believe it also to be the Semitic-Midianite religion that was believed to exist, which actually believed circumcision to only be symbolic, and not a necessary sacrament. These scholars would then suggest God was opposing Moses, since his own sons were not properly raised in the religion of Israel, and was not circumcised. As such, he could not represent God to Israel, nor Egypt. It is also suggested that his wife possibly kept him from circumcising his children, due to their disgust with the practice, and kept Moses from obeying God. The Lord needed absolute obedience in the quest, and has possibly decided to oppose Moses to the point of death, unlest he repent.
 
In fact, just read a great article on that here:

http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=77443

Hope it helps, as it is rather faith-building to me.
 
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