4/07/2006

The Ten Commandments

This Monday, ABC is airing a new version of the Ten Commandments. I plan to watch it, of course. I feel I have to point out, however, that the director mindlessly copied DeMille's mistake in their casting of Zipporah.
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. Numbers 12:1
How many white Ethiopians do you know?
They made the same mistake in the movie The Prince of Egypt, too.

7 comments:

fzmousie said...

It's amazing how something can cause a mental pictures (like the original movie) that just won't go away. Even in reading Exodus, I never made the mental connection to the verse in Numbers.

fzmousie said...

The other mistake they made was Moses age.

Since he was in the desert 40 years and was exiled around the age of 40, he would have been 80. Even if he was exiled as a young man, he still couldn't possibly have been more than 60.

dragev said...

Moses' wife Zipporah was not an Ethiopian. She was the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian (See Exodus 2:16,21 and Exodus 3:1). The Ethiopian woman referred to in Numbers 12:1 was a different wife.

Ruth said...

Moses was only married once. There was no "second wife." I am well aware of whose daughter Zipporah was. It's true, Jethro was priest of Midian, but it does not say that's where he was born. Given that the guy was a nomad, it is perfectly possible for him to have travelled to Midian from Ethiopia.

dragev said...

What evidence is there that Moses' did not have more than one wife? The Israelites clearly had a history of plural marriage, a good example being Israel himself.

What evidence is there that Jethro, priest of Midian, was not a Midianite (descendant of Abraham)?

Ruth said...

<blinks>
So, you'd prefer to speculate on things that are not in the Bible, rather than go with what is?

I'm going with the "theory" (ie: fact) that the OT geneologies are pretty meticulous. There is no evidence for a second wife because in any geneology you look at, you will see that Moses had only one wife (Zipporah) and two sons (Eliezer and Gershom).
The only evidence we have that Jethro may not have actually been a Midianite is Zipporah, who was an Ethiopian. The only evidence to support the idea that he was a Midianite is that he was living in Midian when Moses met him. It is totally plausible for Jethro to have been a Midianite and Zipporah to have been an Ethiopian. Recall that Jethro was a nomad. What was there to prevent him from travelling to Ethiopia, securing a wife, having a daughter by her (ie: Zipporah) and then travelling back to Midian? As for the Wikipedia entry, it says "likely" descendant. It does not say "was definitely."
Jethro's origin is certainly debateable, since the Bible is unclear. As for the origin of Zipporah, it is unequivocal.
She was Ethiopian.

dragev said...

"As for the origin of Zipporah, it is unequivocal. She was Ethiopian."

Before I made my first comment on this post, I wasn't aware of the controversy originating from Numbers 12:1.

Now, having read differing opinions on this matter, I respectfully disagree that it is "unequivocal" that Zipporah was a Cushite.

"So, you'd prefer to speculate on things that are not in the Bible, rather than go with what is?"

Did I speculate about Zipporah's origin? I simply made a fair assumption that she was a Midianite based on the scriptural account that her father was a priest of Midian. On the other hand, I did not speculate that her father may not have been a Midianite, even though he was clearly a priest of Midian, nor did I speculate that her mother was a Cushite. I also did not speculate that the reference to Moses' Cushite wife was really a reference to Zipporah, who is otherwise repeatedly associated with Midian in the scriptural record.

"There is no evidence for a second wife because in any geneology you look at, you will see that Moses had only one wife (Zipporah) and two sons (Eliezer and Gershom)."

I don't know why little detail is given of Moses' marriage to a Cushite woman. I guess I could speculate that they had no children!

"What was there to prevent [Jethro] from travelling to Ethiopia, securing a wife, having a daughter by her (ie: Zipporah) and then travelling back to Midian?"

Nothing. But that is pure speculation.

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