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Where Are Moses' Children?

Hidden between the lines of the genealogy in Exodus 6 is a troubling silence. We know that when Moses was about forty years old, he married Zipporah and together they had a son named Gershom and later another named Eliezer, but both children are left out when God names the families of Moses and Aaron. Aaron’s children are listed: Nadab, Abihi, Eleazar, and Ithamar. In fact, even one of Aaron’s grandchildren, Phinehas, is named. But Gershom and Eliezer are strangely left out of the narrative.

What could explain their absence? It seems that Gershom and Eliezer simply didn’t amount to much in the grand scope of biblical history. Their father was one of the greatest heroes in the Bible, but the sons barely are a footnote.

Maybe a strange passage back In Exodus 4 can give some Insight. God has called Moses to tell Pharaoh: “Israel Is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.”

That part is straightforward, foreshadowing the plagues and the Passover, but as God commands Moses to go talk about the Importance of the firstborn to Pharaoh, it suddenly becomes obvious that Moses hasn’t been taking care of his own firstborn.

Exodus 4:24 says, "And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision."

Even after Moses had accepted the call to lead his people to God, it seems that he was failing to lead his own son. Perhaps after the circumcision, Moses changed, but going forward in the Old Testament Gershom and Eliezer never become great heroes of Israel like their father. The silence is haunting.

It’s a cautionary tale for all Christian parents today: Our commission to go into all the world with the gospel should not come at the expense of bringing the gospel into our own homes. God’s work for you to serve Him and others in this world is demanding, and you should pursue it with urgency and fervor. It will require you make sacrifices of time, money, and energy that otherwise might go to your family. But always remember there are many Christians in the world that God can equip to share the gospel with every nation, but there are only two who are parents to your children.

Just as the man left the 99 for the one, sometimes we have to set aside our work for the whole world, as important as it is, to focus on the one. God wants not only you, but your children also, to play a role in His kingdom and He has uniquely equipped you as their parent to lead them. Learn from Moses. Don’t let the focus on God’s firstborn drown out the focus on your own.


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