Exodus 2:21
And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
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(21) Moses was content to dwell with the man.—Reuel must have been so pleased with the manner and appearance of Moses that he invited him to take service with him—perhaps to share his tent. Moses consented, and in course of time took to wife Zipporah, one of Reuel’s daughters. Marriage with the Midianites was allowed, even under the Law. It has been conjectured that Reuel might have communicated to Moses traditions, or even documents concerning their common ancestor, Abraham, and his family. But there is nothing to indicate the use of letters at this early date by the Midianites.

Exodus 2:21. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter — Whom he married, not immediately, but after some years of acquaintance with the family, as may be gathered from the youth of one of his sons, and his being uncircumcised forty years after this, Exodus 4:25.

2:16-22 Moses found shelter in Midian. He was ready to help Reuel's daughters to water their flocks, although bred in learning and at court. Moses loved to be doing justice, and to act in defence of such as he saw injured, which every man ought to do, as far as it is in his power. He loved to be doing good; wherever the providence of God casts us, we should desire and try to be useful; and when we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can. Moses commended himself to the prince of Midian; who married one of his daughters to Moses, by whom he had a son, called Gershom, a stranger there, that he might keep in remembrance the land in which he had been a stranger.Moses tells us nothing of what he may have learned from his father-in-law, but he must have found in him a man conversant with the traditions of the family of Abraham; nor is there any improbability in the supposition that, as hereditary priest, Reuel may have possessed written documents concerning their common ancestors. 16-22. the priest of Midian—or, "prince of Midian." As the officers were usually conjoined, he was the ruler also of the people called Cushites or Ethiopians, and like many other chiefs of pastoral people in that early age, he still retained the faith and worship of the true God.

seven daughters—were shepherdesses to whom Moses was favorably introduced by an act of courtesy and courage in protecting them from the rude shepherds of some neighboring tribe at a well. He afterwards formed a close and permanent alliance with this family by marrying one of the daughters, Zipporah, "a little bird," called a Cushite or Ethiopian (Nu 12:1), and whom Moses doubtless obtained in the manner of Jacob by service [see Ex 3:1]. He had by her two sons, whose names were, according to common practice, commemorative of incidents in the family history [Ex 18:3, 4].

Moses was content; or, consented to this desire or offer. And so his present and temporary repose there is turned into a settled habitation. Moses married Zipporah not instantly, but after some years of acquaintance with the family, as may probably be gathered from the youngness and uncircumcisedness of one of his sons forty years after this, Exodus 4:25. In which time, as Moses would not fail to instruct them in the knowledge of the true God, which he was able excellently to do, so it is likely he had succeeded therein in some measure, and therefore married Zipporah.

And Moses was content to dwell with the man,.... After he had been called and brought into the house, and had had some refreshment, and after some conversation had passed between them, and perhaps after some days' stay in Reuel's house; Reuel having observed his disposition and behaviour, and being delighted therewith, proposed to him to take up his residence with him, with which motion Moses was well pleased, and accepted of it:

and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter; to be his wife. It is not to be supposed that this was done directly; though both Philo (u) and Josephus (w) intimate as if it was done at first meeting together; but it is not likely that Reuel would dispose of his daughter so suddenly to a stranger, though he might at once entertain an high opinion of him; nor would Moses marry a woman directly he had so slender an acquaintance with, so little knowledge of her disposition, endowments of mind and religion. The Targum of Jonathan says it was at the end of ten years; and indeed forty years after this a son of his seems to have been young, having not till then been circumcised, Exodus 4:22. The author of the Life of Moses says (x), that he was seventy seven years of age when he married Zipporah, which was but three years before he returned to Egypt. This circumstance of Moses's marrying Reuel's daughter is confirmed by Artapanus (y) an Heathen historian; and also by Demetrius (z), and expressly calls her Sapphora, who he says was a daughter of Jother or Jethro; and likewise by Ezekiel the tragedian (a).

(u) De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 611. (w) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 11. sect. 2.((x) Chronicon Mosis, fol. 9. 1.((y) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 27. p. 434. (z) Ib. c. 29. p. 439. (a) lb. c. 28.

And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
21. was content] or agreed; cf. Jdg 17:11; Jdg 19:6.

Verse 21. - Moses was content to dwell with the man. Moses had fled from Egypt without any definite plan, simply to save his life, and had now to determine how he would obtain a subsistence. Received into Reuel's house, or tent, pleased with the man and with his family, he consented to stay with him, probably entered into his service, as Jacob into Laban's (Genesis 29:15-20), kept his sheep, or otherwise made himself useful (see Exodus 3:1); and in course of time Reuel gave Moses his daughter, accepted him for his son-in-law, so that he became not merely a member of his household, but of his family, was adopted probably into the tribe, so that he could not quit it without permission (Exodus 4:18), and, so far as his own intention went, cast in his lot with the Midianites, with whom he meant henceforth to live and die. Such vague ideas as he may previously have entertained of his "mission" had passed away; he had been "disillusioned" by his ill-success, and now looked forward to nothing but a life of peaceful obscurity. Exodus 2:21Moses' Life in Midian. - As Reguel gave a hospitable welcome to Moses, in consequence of his daughters' report of the assistance that he had given them in watering their sheep; it pleased Moses (ויּואל) to dwell with him. The primary meaning of הואיל is voluit (vid., Ges. thes.). קראן for קראנה: like שׁמען in Genesis 4:23. - Although Moses received Reguel's daughter Zipporah as his wife, probably after a lengthened stay, his life in Midian was still a banishment and a school of bitter humiliation. He gave expression to this feeling at the birth of his first son in the name which he gave it, viz., Gershom (גּרשׁם, i.e., banishment, from גּרשׁ to drive or thrust away); "for," he said, interpreting the name according to the sound, "I have been a stranger (גּר) in a strange land." In a strange land he was obliged to live, far away from his brethren in Egypt, and far from his fathers' land of promise; and in this strange land the longing for home seems to have been still further increased by his wife Zipporah, who, to judge from Exo 4:24., neither understood nor cared for the feelings of his heart. By this he was urged on to perfect and unconditional submission to the will of his God. To this feeling of submission and confidence he gave expression at the birth of his second son, by calling him Eliezer (אליעזר God is help); for he said, "The God of my father (Abraham or the three patriarchs, cf. Exodus 3:6) is my help, and has delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh" (Exodus 18:4). The birth of this son is not mentioned in the Hebrew text, but his name is given in Exodus 18:4, with this explanation.

(Note: In the Vulgate the account of his birth and name is interpolated here, and so also in some of the later codices of the lxx. But in the oldest and best of the Greek codices it is wanting here, so that there is no ground for the supposition that it has fallen out of the Hebrew text.)

In the names of his two sons, Moses expressed all that had affected his mind in the land of Midian. The pride and self-will with which he had offered himself in Egypt as the deliverer and judge of his oppressed brethren, had been broken down by the feeling of exile. This feeling, however, had not passed into despair, but had been purified and raised into firm confidence in the God of his fathers, who had shown himself as his helper by delivering him from the sword of Pharaoh. In this state of mind, not only did "his attachment to his people, and his longing to rejoin them, instead of cooling, grow stronger and stronger" (Kurtz), but the hope of the fulfilment of the promise given to the fathers was revived within him, and ripened into the firm confidence of faith.

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