Who Is Zipporah In The Bible

Zipporah is an important character in the Bible, featured in the second, third and fourth books of Moses in the Old Testament. She was of Midianite origin, the daughter of Reuel, also known as Jethro, and sister of Moses’ friend, Hobab. She was also the wife of Moses and the mother of two of his children, Gershom and Eliezer.

Initially, Zipporah is mentioned during the account of God sending Moses to the Pharaoh of Egypt to secure the release of the Hebrews. She is mentioned one particular time, when Moses is on the way to Egypt (Exodus 4:18-20). It is also said that Moses “went out to his own people and performed the wonders in their sight.” It is assumed that she accompanied him along the way.

In Exodus 18:1-5, it is stated that the prophet Jethro arrived with Zipporah and the two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, to join Moses in the desert. Here, Jethro advised Moses on his leadership approach, which may have been the beginning of Zipporah’s role as an advisor and confidant to her husband. This was a significant contribution to the well-being of the Hebrew nation, as Jethro was known by the people of that time to be a wise man.

According to biblical accounts, Zipporah was also a devoted and obedient wife. When Jethro suggested circumcision to Moses, whom God had previously instructed to not perform the act, Zipporah performed the circumcision on their second son, Eliezer (Exodus 4:25-26).

In regards to her personality and character, Zipporah is rarely mentioned, although some have speculated on her nature. It is suggested by rabbinical commentators that Zipporah was a direct and powerful woman who did not hesitate to speak or act on behalf of justice and fairness. In the narrative between Moses, God and Pharaoh, it may be surmised that Zipporah would have been one of Moses’ main supports in discussions, decisions, and actions.

Though there is not much known about Zipporah, what is recorded stands in testament to her character – devotion, obedience and strength. The life of Zipporah, though brief, provides an interesting insight into her role and position as a woman at the time in the biblical context. It is clear that she was an important character of her time, and her legacy still stands today.

Relationship with Moses

In biblical literature, the relationship between Moses and Zipporah is thought of as a strong and affectionate one. Though their relationship is not described in a detail, the Supreme Being is repeatedly referred to as “the God of Zipporah” and it can be assumed that Zipporah was a faithful and supportive partner for Moses. In Judges 4:13-14, there is an account of a successful battle led by the Israelites against their adversaries. The victory is attributed to the fact that “the people of God fought with strength.” Here, Moses is presented as an example, and Zipporah is referenced as a partner in this fight for justice, in that she was the one who had at times “interceded” and “aided” Moses.

There is also mentioned a disagreement between the couple. There are several accounts in the literature where there is talk of a “discord” between husband and wife. This disagreement may have been related to the circumcision of their son, Eliezer. As mentioned before, this was only revealed to Moses in Jethro’s visit to the desert, and it is unknown how Zipporah may have felt about it. However, even if there was a conflict between them, Zipporah’s devotion to her husband prevails and her loyalty stands true throughout their troubles.

Family Life

The existing sources indicate that the life of Moses and Zipporah was a good and contented one, from what can be surmised from documents. This can be seen in the efforts they made to protect their family. Moses, who spent his life wandering, leading the Hebrews and was often required to be away, surely took great comfort in the fact that his family was safe and secure in the camp. Zipporah, too, played her part in protecting her family. This can be seen in Exodus 4:24-25 when Moses is almost being killed, and Zipporah steps in to save him.

In the same narrative, it is mentioned that Zipporah valued education and good manners amongst her children, as described in Exodus 18:2-4. This shows a strong commitment to their upbringing, and her understanding of the importance of education and wisdom in a world filled with uncertainty. Her dedication to her children and her husband is naturally a relatable one for any modern woman and mother.


Though much of Zipporah’s personality, deeds and thoughts remain unknown, her impact on the Bible is still widely celebrated and revered. She was undoubtedly an important figure within the literature and in the historical context, and though not mentioned as often as other characters, her story carries an important message. Her sacrificial life, faithfulness to the Supreme Being and devotion to her husband are remembered through the scriptures.

In more contemporary times, Zipporah is frequently referenced in Judaism as an example of a loving, supportive, and faithful wife. Her strong character and values is celebrated and a source of influence for women around the world.

Scholarly Opinion

Scholarly opinion on Zipporah is heavily divided, with some sources citing her as a woman of great character, strength and wisdom, while others point to her as a woman who was secondary to the overarching Biblical narrative. For example, in Judith Bergs’ “Moses and Zipporah” essay, she claims that Moses is the primary actor in the stories surrounding her, and highlights her lack of presence outside certain stories. That being said, her character still standstoday.

Scholars also suggest that Zipporah was an educated and strong-willed woman. In Abraham Heschel’s dissertation ‘Women in the Bible: Zipporah’, he states that “Zipporah is often presented as a strong and decisive woman who, through her actions, displays a highly refined sense of religion, philosophy and even political acumen,” which stands in testament to her strength and insight.

Furthermore, in other scholars’ works, Zipporah is seen as “an inspired female force, who calls attention to the importance of women’s role in the Israelite nation”. This further solidifies her place as an important figure who stood in testament to what a woman’s place was at the time in the Hebrew nation.

Archetypal Role

In her archetypal role in the Bible, Zipporah is considered to be a faithful wife and loving mother who, in times of great difficulty, would step up to the challenge and take charge of her family to the best of her capabilities. Through her actions, and her relationships with her husband and his relationship with God, she can be seen to stand as an example to generations of women, who have followed in her footsteps.

The strength and loyalty of Zipporah’s character is also highlighted, as she stands by her husband and assists him. This displays her loyalty and devotion to those she loves and an unwavering spiritual commitment that she possessed. This is important to note, as it stands to set an example of the power and devotion of women in the face of adversity.

It can also be said that Zipporah embodied certain aspects of motherhood, and through her own example, can be seen to have set a strong model for generations of mothers. She is likened in some sources to the Hebrew matriarchs, and her devotion to her children can be seen as a testament to her place as a maternal figure in the Hebrew nation.


In conclusion, Zipporah is an important figure in the Bible who is still relevant in contemporary times. She stands as an example of a strong yet devoted wife, mother and leader. Her story carries with it an important lesson of resilience, dedication and strength – character traits that are still celebrated and admired today. Her legacy as an important figure of her time is still remembered, and it can be said that her role and stance are guiding forces even until now.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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