WHOM DID MOSES MARRY?
Revd Bertrand L Comparet, A.B., J. D.
YOU are all familiar with the famous saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” This is true: A LITTLE knowledge is never enough; it never gets beyond half-truths which mislead one into false beliefs.
This is more consistently true in the field of religion than in all other fields. I am frequently challenged on some point by someone who has just this little half-truth knowledge and thinks that he has found a fallacy in the Bible’s great truth that God’s people Israel are known today as the Aryan, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and Teutonic peoples, and they are, and always have been, under God’s command to keep their race pure.
One instance of this, is the challenge frequently made, “Why shouldn’t Whites marry Negroes? Moses married an Ethiopian woman.” They base this upon the way Numbers 12:1 reads in their King James’ Version Bible,
“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.”
Christianity has never laboured under a greater curse than the many mistranslations in the King James Version - and some of them are even followed in some other translations because these errors have become traditional. Bible scholars know that there are many thousand mistranslations in the King James’ Version of the Bible; the eminent scholar Robert Young, author of Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible and of Young’s Literal translation of the Bible says in the preface to his Literal Translation, that in the King James’ version,
“there are scarcely two consecutive verses where there is not some departure from the original and these variations may be counted by tens of thousands, as admitted on all hands.”
Therefore, when you think that you have found some discrepancy in God’s word, some contradiction which can be used as the foundation for conflicting doctrines, you can never safely rely upon what you find in the English translation, until you have checked it in a good lexicon-preferably the Hebrew and Greek dictionaries included in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, which is more thorough than most others. You will often find that defective scholarship in early translations has become accepted as doctrine, and is continued - although the original word will not support the meaning given it in the translation.
Now let’s get back to Moses and his wife. In the Hebrew of Numbers 12:1, it does NOT say “Ethiopian” - it says “Cushi” - a Cushite, a descendant of Cush, or a resident of the land of Cush. You remember that Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. Genesis 10:6 tells us that the sons of Ham were “CUSH, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” Noah and his wife were both white; their children were naturally of the same race. One of Ham’s sons was Mizraim, meaning “Egyptian” - and we know from all Egyptian art, including their marvelously fine portrait sculpture, that during all the many centuries of Egypt’s greatness, they were a pure white people: in fact, during that time any Negro found in Egypt (other than a slave working in chains in the fields) was summarily killed on sight. Ham’s other son, “Cush” was no doubt also White. Now, what about the land of Cush?
There were two different countries named “Cush” in Bible times. One was Ethiopia, lying south of the Sudan in Africa. But there was another “Cush” in ancient times: it was in eastern Mesopotamia, or what at other times was part of the Babylonian Empire. These people were certainly not a black race, at any time. This “Cush” flourished about 1,500 B.C.- in other words, in Moses’ time, for the Exodus from Egypt occurred in 1,486 B.C. Now, who can we expect to find living in this Cush, on the east of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates? From what people there did Moses take his wife?
In the first place, note that there is absolutely nothing in the Bible anywhere which says or even hints that Moses ever was in Ethiopia or any place where he could have found a Negro woman to marry. The Bible does tell us where Moses got his wife, and who she was. You remember that Moses had killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite. In Exodus 2:15-21, we read,
“Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharàoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well. Now the Priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, ‘How is it that ye are come so soon today?’ And they said, ‘An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us and watered the flock.’ And he said unto his daughters, ‘Why is it that ye have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.’ And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.”
So we know positively from this that Moses married the daughter of the Priest of Midian. His name, “Reuel” means “Friend of God.” It is given in the variant form of “Raguel” in one or two places; and sometimes he is called “Jethro”. “Jethro” is the Hebrew word “Yithro” and means “His Excellency” - a title of respect, not a name. So who were the Midiariites, from whom Moses got a wife?
In Genesis 25:1-2, the Bible tells us that, after the death of his wife Sarah,
“Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and MIDIAN, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”
So Midian was a son of Abraham. But Abraham had been told by God that the great promises to him would be fulfilled through his descendants by his son Isaac, not through any of his other sons. He therefore gave his inheritance only to Isaac, but he loved his other sons too, and dealt fairly with them. In Genesis 25:6 it says,
“But unto the Sons of the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward unto the east country.”
Logically, he would want them to move more than just a few miles, as the whole idea was to send them far enough away that they would not be neighbours of Isaac, quarrelling with him over the inheritance. The next place of any importance to which they could go was this kingdom of Cush, in the valleys of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates, the same country which at other times was part of the important Babylonian Empire. So Midian and his descendants became “Cushites”, people living in the Kingdom of Cush; but remember that by race, they were descendants of Abraham, closely related to Isaac and his descendants the Israelites, although they remained a separate nation and never became part of Israel.
Since this is the only wife that the Bible tells us that Moses had, it is clear that she was a Midianite, whose family lived in Cush in the Tigris-Euphrates valleys. That is where Moses would logically have found her. Moses fled for his life because the Pharaoh of Egypt wanted to kill him: he could not have gone just to some tiny neighbouring kingdom to stay - they would not have dared to give him shelter, but would have turned him over to Pharaoh as soon as the Egyptians learned he was there and made a demand for him. Moses fled a safe distance, to a land where the people did not live in fear of the powerful Egyptian Empire: in other words, to this Cush, among whose people were the Midianites.
We may be certain that Moses never married a Negress. Remember that he was brought up In the Pharaoh’s palace as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He was educated as an Egyptian of the royal family. The Egyptians considered the Negroes as mere wild animals, to be killed on sight. The son of royalty would not take a wife from the Negro Cush in Africa.
It was while Moses was guarding the flocks of his father-in-law, the Priest of Midian, that God appeared to him in the burning bush, and commissioned him to go to Egypt and set God’s people Israel free. When he returned to his own people, and taught them their proud heritage as God’s people, and that they must keep their race pure, his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam taunted him with his marriage outside the strictly limited group of Israel. It is true that he had married a woman who was not Israelite. But she was not only a white woman, but a descendant of Abraham a close relative of the Israelites. So this matter of Moses’ wife can’t be used as a justification for race mixing. Moses did not marry outside his race - just outside his nation. Mongrelization is equally a sin against both races: the Black race should be protected against it as much as the White. God had His own purposes in mind when He made the different races, and each was made suited to the purpose God had planned for it. To lose that suitability by mixing it with another race is to defy it, and the results of that are always bad.
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