Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The Bridegroom of Blood
"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.
Hope it helps, as it is rather faith-building to me.