A Stranger There | Gersham

In this week’s class A Stranger There | Gersham, we discuss how Moshe was a stranger in the land and of Midian. His wife called their son Gersham meaning “Stranger There”. We will discover how many of those who are righteous in the nation’s fills like a stranger in the land. With no community, Jewish or Noahide one feels alone and isolated. We quickly find out that we are closer to HaShem when we have not assimilated in a strange land.

According to the BibleGersham (HebrewגֵּרְשֹׁםModern Gersham, “a sojourner there”; LatinGersam) was the firstborn son of Moses and Zipporah.[1] The name appears to mean a sojourner there (גר שם ger sham), which the text argues was a reference to Moses’ flight from Egypt. Biblical scholars regard the name as being essentially the same as Gershon[2] and it is Gershom rather than Gershon who is sometimes listed by the Book of Chronicles as a founder of one of the principal Levite factions.[3] Textual scholars attribute the description of Gershom to a different source text to the genealogy involving Gershom.[4]

The passage in Exodus concerning Moses and Zipporah reaching an inn appears to suggest that some being, possibly God or an angel, attacks either Gershom or Moses, until a circumcision is carried out by Zipporah on Gershom.[5]

The later Books of Chronicles identify Shebuel as a “son” of Gershom,[6] though this is anachronistic for a literal interpretation of the bible because Shebuel is described as living in the time of King David. The Hebrew word for son can also mean a descendant; for example, even remote descendants of King David are in many instances called “Sons of David” in the original Hebrew.

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