He Married Who?
“Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman);” (Numbers 12:1, NASB95)
When many of us read a verse like this, we are too lazy to do the hard work of Biblical interpretation, so we just assume that Zipporah, Moses’ wife, was a Cushite woman. The problem is that Zipporah, daughter of Jethro, was clearly a Midianite, and Midian was nowhere near Cush, which is otherwise known as Ethiopia. There have been many ingenious efforts to try to explain this away, but none of the efforts are particularly satisfying.
Could it be that Moses had two (or more) wives? We simply don’t want to accept such a thought because it doesn’t fit our mental image. Polygamy in the ancient world—Jewish or gentile—was certainly no surprise. From the Patriarchs to the Kings, multiple wives were multiplied through the pages of Scripture (never with God’s endorsement).
One of the most intriguing answers to the Cushite wife problem comes from the historian Josephus, who clearly tells us that Moses married a Cushite princes after a battle he lead while still an Egyptian prince himself. Since the Scripture speaks of a Cushite wife, and a respected Jewish historian speaks of a Cushite wife, it seems to me the case is closed.
In His Grace;
Dr. Randy White
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