“You’re tense, that’s all” said Zipporah. “We have all night, and the rest of our lives.”
“You’re so wise and so understanding,” said Moses.
When Moses said this he immediately thought of Hatshepsut, whose wise and understanding mind – quite apart from her effulgent beauty – had so captivated him, her spirit would dwell in him forever. In the darkness of the tent on his and Zipporah’s wedding night, Moses discerned Zipporah transforming into Hatshepsut. His tenseness evaporated as new energy invaded his loins.
“You’re right, dear Zipporah, I was too tense. Now, strange to say, I’m suddenly feeling different. Very different. Let’s try again”.
“Are you sure? You don’t have to, you know”.
“I know I don’t have to. But I want to. And right now.”
Moses had always felt ambivalent about taking Zipporah to wife because she compared so poorly with Hatshepsut in his Hatshepsut-addled mind. Hence what he feared might happen on this wedding night did happen – at least in the early hours of it.
Moses insatiable desire for Hatshepsut had been impelled not only by her mind and intelligence and beauty, but by the delicious illicitness of their affair, which would have led to fatal consequences had Egyptian officialdom found out. Moses would have had his head chopped off. Hatshepsut if not having her head chopped off too, would have been publicly disgraced and consequently shunned for the rest of her life.
Moses’ awareness of all this had given his affair with Hatshepsut a frisson he now realised he would miss in his marriage to Zipporah. This left him with an inner emptiness he determined to fill with energy devoted to preparing himself for the day when God would order him to lead the Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in Canaan.
As part of his preparation, Moses tried to become a more rounded man. Not more rounded in the sense of becoming fat from eating more than normal, but more rounded psychologically and spiritually. Up to this point he had known a life only of privilege in the Egyptian royal household. Now, as Jethro’s son-in-law and Zipporah’s husband, he was to embrace a humble life in looking after Jethro’s sheep and doing other farming chores. In this way he was to become just another anonymous Midianite labourer until God called for him.
Thus over the next few years Moses lived tranquilly. By day he looked after the sheep. By evenings he took long solitary walks while thinking deep thoughts. And he took seriously his role as a dutiful if not loving husband to Zipporah, who, soon after Moses took her to wife, bore him a son who he formally named Gershom, but later nicknamed Gersh.
But Hatshepsut never left Moses. She stayed with him in spirit always. She went with him on his solitary evening walks. She crept into his bed at night, invading his dreams and thoughts. Whenever he made love to Zipporah it was Hatshepsut he made love to.
Can we wonder that Zipporah on many occasions throughout the years, would ask Moses, “Why do I always think there are three in our marriage?”
Source: Exodus 2, 21 – 22