We find in the book of exodus a very interesting verse , the issue which many biblical scholars found puzzling is exodus 4:24. Its obvious that a very important part is missing from the story of Moses. First Let's read this problematic passage and all will be revealed. Since the topic of this paper is exodus 4:24 we shall read e few verses before just to show how the story turns into a mess. For those who are not familiar with exodus 4 it's the story where Yahweh spoke to Moses and turned his staff into a serpent made Moses know who Yahweh is Also commands Moses to go visit pharaoh and ask him to release the children of Isreal...... We'll start from verse 18
Moses Returns to Egypt
18Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand. 21And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, 23and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’” (Exodus 4:18-23)
From the above passage starting from verse 18 we can see that Yahweh has commanded Moses to go back to Egypt and deal with pharaoh and bring back the children of Isreal now comes verse 24 where we find the problem!
24At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death.
Wait a tick Yahweh wanted to kill Moses! What for? Starting from verse 1 all the way to verse 23 there is no sign of Yahweh showing his wrath to Moses. Yahweh had a straight forward conversation with Moses commanding and instructing him what needs to be done. Why all of a sudden did Yahweh sought to kill him? For what reason do you see the gap between verse 23 and 24 like a major leap something happened in between those verses. What could of possibly happened that Yahweh wanted to kill him? Something is missing it's so obvious there is not grammatical or linguistic way to solve this problem.. Now this isn't half of what comes next. Before that lets read the proceeding few verses after verse 24
24At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. 25Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. (Exodus 4:24-26)
the proceeding verses tell us zipporah cut her sons Forskin and touched His feet with it? Here we have another issue to deal with "touched his feet" who's feet? Did zipporah touch Moses's feet ? Now the NIV, ESV, NASB, ISV all say Moses feet whereas the KJV or Hebrew bible which is more orthodox doesn't say Moses.
The other problem to this verse it the Samaritan Torah says something completely different :
But seeboorah took a flint, and she CIRCUMCISED HER BLOCKED HEART and she brought herself to his feet and she said you are a bridegroom of blood to me,"
(Exodus 4:25 Samaritan Torah )
Do you see how the Samaritan Torah is different to the Masoretic Torah! It doesn't stop here we still need to scrutinise exodus 4:24 and do an in depth study of that puzzling. Verse. So far we know there is a missing gap between Exodus 4:1-23 to 24-26. We don't know why Yahweh sought to kill him and why he have difference between the Samaritan Torah and Masoretic Torah. However we do know Jews and Christians try to explain this problem of Yahweh trying to kill by saying Moses did not circumcise his son and one of the covenant made to Yahweh is circumcision, so this angered Yahweh and he tried to go and kill? This desperate attempt doesn't harmonise the situation but makes it worse when you consider how Yahweh made clear that he chose Moses to do his work yet at the same time wants to kill him? Sounds like a schizophrenic wouldn't you agree.
Now even if we accepted that no part of the story was missing and verse 24 was an immediate continuation from the previous verse. How does one justify why Yahweh would switch minds or in other words turn from Good to evil?. But let's not dwell much into this yet let's accept for now all this was planned. How did Yahweh true to commit this perfect murder let's find out from commentaries starting with rashis and the Talmud :
|24Now he was on the way, in an inn, that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death.||כדוַיְהִי בַדֶּרֶךְ בַּמָּלוֹן וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁהוּ יְהֹוָה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ הֲמִיתוֹ:|
|Now he was: [I.e.,] Moses.||ויהי: משה בדרך במלון:|
|on the way, in an inn and sought to put him to death: [I.e., He sought] Moses, because he had neglected to circumcise his son Eliezer. Because he neglected it, he was [to be] punished with death. It was taught in a Braitha: Rabbi Jose said: God forbid! Moses did not neglect it, but he reasoned: Shall I circumcise [him] and go forth on the road? It will be dangerous for the child for three days. Shall I circumcise [him] and wait three days? The Holy One, blessed be He, commanded me, “Go, return to Egypt.” [Moses hurried to Egypt intending to circumcise Eliezer upon his return.] Why [then] was he to be punished with death? Because first he busied himself with [the details of] his lodging. [This appears] in tractate Nedarim (31b). The angel turned into a sort of serpent and swallowed him [Moses] from his head to his thighs, and then [spit him out and] swallowed him from his feet to his private parts. Zipporah therefore understood that it was because of [the failure to perform] the circumcision [that this occurred]. — [from Ned. 32a, Exodus Rabbah 5:5]||ויבקש המיתו: המלאך למשה, לפי שלא מל את אליעזר בנו, ועל שנתרשל נענש מיתה. תניא אמר רבי יוסי חס ושלום לא נתרשל, אלא אמר אמול ואצא לדרך, סכנה היא לתינוק עד שלשה ימים, אמול ואשהה שלשה ימים, הקב"ה צוני (פסוק י"ט) לך שוב מצרים. ומפני מה נענש, לפי שנתעסק במלון תחלה. במסכת נדרים (דף לא ב). והיה המלאך נעשה כמין נחש ובולעו מראשו ועד ירכיו, וחוזר ובולעו מרגליו ועד אותו מקום, הבינה צפורה שבשביל המילה הוא:|
|25So Zipporah took a sharp stone and severed her son's foreskin and cast it to his feet, and she said, "For you are a bridegroom of blood to me."||כהוַתִּקַּח צִפֹּרָה צֹר וַתִּכְרֹת אֶת עָרְלַת בְּנָהּ וַתַּגַּע לְרַגְלָיו וַתֹּאמֶר כִּי חֲתַן דָּמִים אַתָּה לִי:|
|and cast it to his feet: She cast it before Moses’ feet. — [from Yerushalmi, Ned. 3:9]||ותגע לרגליו: השליכתו לפני רגליו של משה:|
|and she said: about her son.||ותאמר: על בנה:|
|For you are a bridegroom of blood to me: You were a cause that my bridegroom would [almost] be murdered. You are to me the slayer of my bridegroom.||כי חתן דמים אתה לי: אתה היית גורם להיות החתן שלי נרצח עליך, הורג אישי אתה לי:|
|26So He released him. Then she said, "A bridegroom of blood concerning the circumcision."||כווַיִּרֶף מִמֶּנּוּ אָז אָמְרָה חֲתַן דָּמִים לַמּוּלֹת:|
|So He released: [I.e.,] the angel [released] him. Then she understood that [it was] because of the circumcision that he had come to slay him.||וירף: המלאך ממנו. אז הבינה שעל המילה בא להורגו:|
|she said, “A bridegroom of blood concerning the circumcision”: My bridegroom would have been murdered because of the circumcision.||אמרה חתן דמים למולת: חתני היה נרצח על דבר המילה:|
|concerning the circumcision: Heb. לַמּוּלֹת concerning the circumcision. This is a noun, and the “lammed” serves as an expression meaning “concerning,” similar to “And Pharaoh will say concerning the children of (לִבְנֵי) Israel” (Exod. 14:3). Onkelos, however, translates דָמִים as referring to the blood of the circumcision.||למולת: על דבר המולות. שם דבר הוא, והלמ"ד משמשת בלשון על, כמו (שמות יד ג) ואמר פרעה לבני ישראל. ואונקלוס תרגם דמים, על דם המילה:|
Let's take this step by step firstly the Jewish commentator does not mention of the gap between Exodus 4:23 to 24-25 secondly we have have a very graphic and detailed explanation of what really happened according to Jewish belief. Here's the striking part on how an Angel turned into a Serpent and swallowed Moses half way?
"The angel turned into a sort of serpent and swallowed him [Moses] from his head to his thighs, and then [spit him out and] swallowed him from his feet to his private parts."
This is an unusual event which is spoken by classical Jewish scholars. Can you imagine Yahweh sent an Angel to kill his Messenger who he himself sent to carry out a mission? All this took because of his son was not circumcised how absurd. It had to be his wife zipporah who understood what she had to do get a knife and circumcise her son and throw the Forskin as his feet
"Zipporah therefore understood that it was because of [the failure to perform] the circumcision [that this occurred]. — [from Ned. 32a, Exodus Rabbah 5:5]" but the question is who's feet.? Again let's find out from Jewish rabbis
Moses’ feet :
(Rashi; Rashbam; Ibn Ezra). In the Talmud, one opinion is that it was at Moses’ feet, another that it was at the child’s feet, and a third, that it was at the feet of the angel who wanted to kill him (Yerushalmi, Nedarim 3:9). Others have, ‘the blood ran down [the child’s] feet’ (Ralbag); or, ‘She peeled back [the foreskin] toward his legs’ (Malbim).
Literally, ‘a bridegroom of blood.’ Some interpret the Hebrew word chathan here to denote a newly circumcised child (Ibn Ezra), because the child is being initiated into new joy (Radak, Sherashim).
to blood :
Or, ‘you are like a murderer to me’ (Ibn Ezra; Radak; Sherashim; Tur); ‘you are the murderer of my husband’ (Rashi); or ‘You are bleeding so much’ (Ralbag). According to the opinion that she was addressing Moses (see note, this verse, ‘to the child’), she said, ‘Through this bloody child you will remain mine [and live]’ (Rashbam; Targum Yonathan); or, ‘Your marriage to me requires this blood’ (Sforno; Chizzkuni; Tur; cf. Targum). Or, ‘the circumcision blood of [my son] is staunched’ (Septuagint).
to the child :
In the Talmud there is a debate as to whether she was addressing Moses or the child (Yerushalmi, Nedarim 3:9).
From the above biblical statements and classical commentary it's crystal clear Yahweh sought to kill Moses through a horrific evil method Making an Angel turn into an Serpent who swallowed him and spat him out... Also how there's a huge gap which has no explanation