Question:

I am taking a Bible Study class on the "Bad Girls of the Bible" and have a question. There is speculation that Moses may have had a second wife. When referring to his Cushite wife, isn't that Zipporah? I have been unable to find any evidence of another wife other than the verse in Exodus that talks of his Cushite wife. What research I have done states that Zipporah was in fact a Cushite although there is nothing I can find in the Bible to verify that. Would she be a Midianite? I hope this isn't a dumb question, but I have never heard of this issue until now. Thank you for any help on this.

God bless.


Answer:

"Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father's flock. Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "How is it that you have come so soon today?" ... Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses" (Exodus 3:16-18, 21).

"Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman" (Numbers 12:1).

Ethiopia, also known as Cush after its founder, is the country south of Egypt. Like Egypt, its boarders fluctuate over the years and sometimes included the Sinai Peninsula (II Chronicles 21:16; Habakkuk 3:7). The supposition is that Reuel actually descended from Cush and that he was in this region because Ethiopia had at times occupied the region and he descended from one of those occupiers. However, Reuel is called a Midianite in Numbers 10:29, so it makes this argument unlikely.

Another possibility is that by the time of Numbers 12, which took place in the wilderness wanderings, that Zipporah had died and Moses remarried, this time to an Ethiopian woman. It is noticeable that Zipporah's name is not mention again after Exodus 18, which is before the Law was given on Mt. Sinai. It would also explain why Miriam and Aaron's contention against Moses on this point was only now brought up years into the wilderness wanderings. This second scenario fits the facts better.