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Gershom and Eliezer

Gershom, meaning stranger, or cast out (in a reference to Moses having fled Egypt) and Eliezer, meaning God is my help, were the two sons of Moses and Zipporah who were born in Midian while Moses lived there for 40 years with Jethro, prior to his return to Egypt for the Exodus at age 80 (Exodus 7:7). Although their father is one of the most famous people of Bible History, relatively little is recorded about Gershom and Eliezer (who were half Levite through their father and half Midianite through their mother), and unlike their cousins who succeeded Moses' brother Aaron in his role as high priest, Gershom and Eliezer did not take over their father's position as Israel's leader - Joshua, of the tribe of Ephraim, did (see Children of Jacob).

Moses At The Red Sea After killing an Egyptian who was abusing a Hebrew, Moses fled from Egypt to Midian, where he married Jethro's daughter Zipporah:

"One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand." (Exodus 2:11-12 RSV)

"When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together; and he said to the man that did the wrong, "Why do you strike your fellow?" He answered, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid, and thought, "Surely the thing is known." When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh, and stayed in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well." (Exodus 2:13-15 RSV)

"Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock ... And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. She bore a son, and he called his name Gershom; for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land." (Exodus 2:16-17,21-22 RSV)

When Moses returned to Egypt for the Exodus, Zipporah remained in Midian with her father and her sons Gershom and Eliezer, but were re-united with Moses after his return (see also Wilderness Journey):

"Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how The Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. Now Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her away, and her two sons, of whom the name of the one was Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land", and the name of the other, Eliezer, for he said, "The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh." And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God. And when one told Moses, "Lo, your father-in-law Jethro is coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her," Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and did obeisance and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare, and went into the tent. Then Moses told his father-in-law all that The Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how The Lord had delivered them." (Exodus 18:1-8 RSV)

Fact Finder: What very unusual incident involving Gershom resulted in Zipporah calling Moses her "bridegroom of blood"?
Exodus 4:21-26


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