A new column on Moses by cmkeller

We have a new “Guest Contributor” who wrote a rather good column entitled What became of Moses’s sons? This would be by cmkeller, one of the posters to the board who has some scholarly knowlege of Jewish history(not to mention that he writes well, and seems to be a good researcher). Great job, cm.

I remember reading some of cmkeller’s posts in this forum. Very informative. I add my welcome to samclem’s.


Thanks for the kind words and welcome, everyone. This is actually my second Guest Contribution, the first having been the Sabbath report from May 22. I’m honored to be involved in these Staff Reports, and hope these are just the firsts of many.

So when do you get your SDSAB coffee cup?

I think I need more than 2 Guest Contributions to qualify. But I’ll keep working toward it!

The DeMille Code. snerk :stuck_out_tongue:

Great article.

Interesting article, but I have a question.

What manuscript is this? Is it the same in all the manuscripts? I got out my Hebrew Bible (based on Codex Leningradensis) and the N is printed as raised above the others.

Well, that’s the standard in the traditional parchment scroll - the “Masoretic text” - that can be found in synagogues (not all synagogues possess scrolls of the prophetic books). Many printings of the Hebrew Bible maintain these scriptural quirks (including, but not limited to, letters written small, letters written large, words/letters with dots above them) in their editions, usually with a notation that this is how it appears in the traditional text.

I apologize for missing that one. I must have been sick that week. :slight_smile:

If anything, that one might be better than your current one. Oh, heck. They’re both great!

But even the Masoretic text has differing editions (or at least had; my knowledge of this stuff ends somewhere around 1100 AD). Does all extant manuscripts have this particular quirk?

All the ones I know of do, not that I’ve searched museums or anything. I’m rather certain that this chapter was not found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, so there’s no clue there. The “raised-N” inference is mentioned in the Talmud and not disputed there, so I’d wager that most if not all Talmudic-era scrolls had this feature.

Seconded. Impressive, cm.

Though this just hit my e-box, it seems (from the forum) to be an old post. Still, as soon as I read the title, I suspected the Questioner may have asked the wrong question. “What happened to Moses’s son after he was sent away with his mother” is odd since no son of Moses was ever “sent away with his mother”. This, in fact, is what happened to IshmaelAbraham’s son – who was sent away with his mother and of whom the Bible says no more. Mixing the name of one famous Biblical character with the story of another is a frequent error (as in the riddle: “How many of each kind of animal did Moses take onto the Ark?”) But it makes sense that someone in this decade would want to know what the Bible says about Ishmael – the progenitor of at least some middle eastern tribes extant today.

Abraham had six younger sons with Keturah, one of whom was Midian whose descendants were, of course, the Midianites, of which tribe Jethro/Reuel and Ziporrah were members. (Always irked me, even as a kid, when Jethro in The Ten Commandments tells Moses “we are descendants of Ishmael”- y’might be, but you named yourself for one of his half brothers).

A slightly related question since it relates to Gershom: Moses is sent to pharaoh on his divine mission, but before he even gets there G-d decides to kill him (Moses), and He would have had Zipporah not circumcized Gershom and tossed his foreskin on Moses’s feet. The Bible doesn’t explain this bizarre scene at all, but is there a Jewish or Aggadic tradition that gives a theory? Was the divine anger roused because Gershom wasn’t circumsized (which would have been odd since Moses was both Jewish and Egyptian and both practiced it) or is there a “back story” that was left out of Exodus but included in a non-canonical source? Was there significance to the foreskin on the feet (maybe a ritual that her son would be a foot long?)? It’s one of the strangest moments in the OT and it’s never addressed in sermons or movies.

Cool. I had no idea about this.

Sampiro: the biblical section you mention is quite confusing, and really outside the scope of this topic, I think. Basically, it’s all pronouns with confusing references – I’m away from home and resources, and this being Saturday, you won’t get a response from tradition-practicing Jews. However, my recollection is that the pronoun references in the original Hebrew make it unclear whom God is trying to kill, whose feet, etc. While there is certainly a traditionalist interpretation, it’s not a very pleasant one, as it seems to imply a demonic aspect of God.

Modern interpretations usually feel that there is a larger story that is omitted from the text, either because it was well-known, or because it was lost over time and scribal errors.

And, congrats (mazel tov), cmkeller on your second guest Report!

Also, “feet” is a Hebrew euphemism for genitalia, so one interpretation is that Moses wasn’t circumcised, and Zipporah touched Gershom’s foreskin to Moses’ penis as a symbolic circumcision of Moses, himself.

It would probably be poor taste and definitely out of scope to ask about Jesus washing the “feet” of his apostles, wouldn’t it?

It would be simply incorrect, since the NT is written in Greek, not Hebrew.

Is the name Manasseh the source of the town of Manassas, famous from the Civil War?