“When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, ‘Why have you returned so early today?’ They answered, ‘An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.’ ‘And where is he?’ Reuel asked his daughters. ‘Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.’ Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, ‘I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.‘”-Exodus 2:18-22
In these few little verses, we are introduced to the names of the key members who will comprise Moses’ new family.
As usual, when we dig a little deeper into the origin and meaning of these Semitic names, it gives us much insight into the culture and mindset of those times.
So Moses is now in the Land of Midian.
Recall that the Midian was one of Abraham’s sons from his union with his concubine Keturah after Ishmael and BEFORE Isaac was born.
You can read more about it here.
God had separated Moses from the sons of Ham (the Egyptians) and brought him back into fellowship with the sons of Shem (the Midianites).
We are at the scene where Moses has just rescued seven young maidens from a bunch of bullies at a well.
In their gratitude, they invite him home and introduce him to their father.
We are told the father’s name was Reu-el and that he was the chief or high priest of Midian.
Notice the “el” in his name.
This is the same “el” from “el-ohim” or “Isra-el“.
In other words, Reu-el knew the one true God.
His name actually means “Friend of God“.
Later on he will be called Yitro or Jethro.
Reu-el gives his daughter to Moses to be his wife.
Her name is Tzippora.
Bedouin people in those times had a tendency to give their children animal names.
Accordingly, “Tzippora” means “bird“.
However, as we’ll see later, given her fiery temperament, maybe she should have been called “dragonfly” instead.
Tzippora gave Moses two children.
The first one was named “Gershom“.
Note that encapsulated in this name is the word “GER“.
We should all be familiar with this.
It means “foreigner” or “stranger“.
Another related word is “goy” which means “Gentile“.
“Gershom” literally means “a foreigner there“.
I find this interesting.
Moses was so immersed in the ways of Egypt that even after living with his semitic kinsmen for quite some time and marrying, he still felt so out of place that he named his first child “a foreigner there”.
Such was the extent that Moses still identified with his past in Egypt and such was the extent of the work that God would have to do on Moses before he would be ready for his mission to free the Israelites from slavery.
Remember in Scripture, Egypt is also a type that represents the world and all its heathen practices.
There is a great spiritual lesson here.
Remember after you were first born again and still a baby in Messiah.
Although you had the Spirit of the living God residing within you, the temptations of the world still had much power over you and in many ways you still identified with “Egypt”.
God had to do much work on you in order to prepare you for the plans He had laid out for you.
It was a pretty tough growing process wasn’t it?
And some of us might still be in the very thick of being molded and released from all the sins, bad habits, and ways of thinking from our past life in Egypt (metaphorically speaking).
Well, spiritually, this is where Moses was at at this point in his life.
He may have left Egypt but the Egypt inside of him was still there to some degree.
Slowly but surely, God would have to gradually transform Him into the mighty servant he was destined to be.