Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy structure of Moses' family reveals the distinctive pattern of the Horite ruler-priest caste.
Moses had two wives. His Kushite wife was his half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. The pattern of Moses' family is identical to that of the rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5 and 11 and to that of Abraham's father Terah and Samuel's father Elkanah. One of the sons of Korah the Younger (Ishar's son) was named Elkanah. This is the name of the prophet Samuel's father who also had two wives. Samuel's family was also Horite.
It appears that all of these great men of Genesis and Exodus were Horites.
Alice C. Linsley
Moses’ father was Amram. He had two wives, following the pattern of his forefathers who were Horite priest-scribes. By Jochebed he had Moses, Aaron and presumably Miriam. Exodus 6:20 indicates that Jochebed was probably his sister. They had the same father, but different mothers. Her name is also spelled Jacquebeth and refers to the African homeland, probably ancient Kush. The Horites were ethnically Kushite.
Amram's relationship to Jochebed parallels Abraham's relationship to Sarah. Both were first wives, married at a young age. The ruler's second wife was usually a patrilineal cousin or niece. Such was the case with Amram's second wife Ishar and Abraham's second wife, Keturah. This pattern is characteristic of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Horite ruler-priests.
Ishar is a woman's name, derived from the Hebrew isha, meaning "woman." Women are sometimes listed as "sons" in Genesis and Exodus if the ruling line is traced through them, which is the case with Ishar (Ex 6), and Anah and Oholibamah (Gen. 36). The last two women are Horites of Edom, of the house of "Seir the Horite."
Likewise, Ishar was a descendant of Seir the Horite. She was either Amram's half-sister or his patrilineal cousin (as was Keturah to Abraham). Ishar was the mother of Korah the Younger (Num. 26:59), who she named after her father Korah the Elder. Korah the Younger is the one who opposed Moses' authority.
Exodus 6:17 lists Ishar and Amram in the same generation. These were Kohath's children by two different wives. A characteristic of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite ruler-priests is that they had two wives.
According to Numbers 26, Korah's claim to be the ruler-priest was supported by the Hanochites (descendants of Ha'nock, the first born son of Jacob's firstborn son Reuben). As the first born son of the cousin/niece bride Korah was to rule the territory of his maternal grandfather.
Korah's descendants are praised in 1 Chronicles 26. Here the Chronicler classifies them with the gatekeepers of Obed-Edom. Obed was the name of David's grandfather and Edom is the traditional homeland of the Horites. Petra, the capital of Edom, reflects Horite architecture.
The Pattern of Two Wives
Following the custom of his Horite forefathers, Moses had two wives. The first wife would have been a half-sister, the wife of Moses' youth. It is likely that he married her while in Egypt. She is said to be Kushite (Numbers 12) and for some reason Moses' siblings didn't approve of the marriage, although the marriage was probably arranged by Amram. The Horites originated in ancient Kush so Moses' marriage to a Kushite isn't surprising.
Zipporah, Moses' cousin bride, is mentioned in Exodus 2:15-16 and in Exodus 18:1-6. Moses met her while she at a well where she was drawing water for her father’s flocks. Priests were also shepherds who maintained shrines near wells, springs or other bodies of water. Zipporah was the daughter of "the priest of Midian". In other words, her father was a descendant of Abraham by Keturah who bore him a son named Midian.
Moses’ Kushite wife is not named, but she was likely a woman of high rank as the Kushites were part of, if not the majority of, the ruling classes in Egypt. We are told nothing about where Moses met her but she is likely his half-sister, if he married acording to the pattern of his Horite people. That would make her the sister of Korah. The first wife was the half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the second wife was the patrilineal cousin (as was Keturah to Abraham). Moses likely had children in Egypt by his first wife before he fled to Jethro and married Zipporah.
The criticism of Moses' marriage to the first wife is related in this passage: “When they were in Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married: “He married a Kushite woman!” They said, “Has the Lord God spoken only through Moses? Has God not spoken through us as well?” (Numbers 11:35-12:2)
We don’t know why Aaron and Miriam criticized Moses for marrying the Kushite woman, but it is was not racially motivated since all these people were descendants of Noah by Kush (Ham's son) and Aram (Shem's son) since the two lines intermarried. Likely, Moses’ siblings were angry that he asserted authority over Aaron, his older brother, by marrying Korah's sister and then marrying a Midiante wife. His marriage to Korah's sister strengthened the alliance with the Kushites and his marriage to Zipporah strengthened the alliance to the Midianites. This led to the formation of a powerful alliance of peoples related by blood and marriage and strengthened Moses' position as ruler.
In order for Moses to rule, he had to have two wives. This pattern of rulers having two wives is first found in Genesis 4 which mentions Lamech and his two wives. It continues through the generations with Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and as we have seen with Moses.  This also explains Abraham's urgency to fetch a cousin wife for Isaac so that Isaac could rule after Abraham's death. This suggests that we should look in the biblical text for clues as to who Isaac's first wife would have been. We know that she would have been a half-sister, since Rebecca was the cousin bride. Likely, Isaac's first wife was a daughter of Yishbak, another son of Abraham by Keturah.
Here we find the 3-son pattern with Yishmael, Yishbak and Yitzak. It is like other 3-son tribal units that we have seen: Uz, Buz and Huz; Og, Magog and Gog. The pattern corresponds to the 3-son Kushite rulers Sheba-qo, Shebit-qo and Ta-Har-qo. Here we find the Meroitic honorary suffix qo. The first two names are linguistically equivalent to the biblical name Sheba, an ancestor of Abraham and his cousin-wife Keturah. Ta-Har-qo is a Horus name.
The Youngest Son Rules
Isaac was the younger of the 3 first-born sons and he was chosen to rule over Abraham's territory after Abraham's death. The theme of the youngest son as ruler runs throughout the Bible. However, he never rules without objection from his siblings who express jealousy such as Miriam and Aaron. Cain’s jealousy of his younger brother overturns his natural affection to the point that he commits fratercide. Likewise, the jealousy of Joseph’s older brothers overturned their affection and they sold him into slavery. Neither was David, the youngest of the 12 sons of Jesse, treated well by his brothers. They left him to tend the flock while they returned home to feast with the Prophet Samuel. We have an allusion to this in the opening of the Song of Songs, which says that beloved’s skin is as dark "as the tents of Kedar" because he was made to work in the sun by his older brothers.
Zipporah and the Flint Knife
There is a strange story about Zipporah circumcising Moses’ son using a flint knife. As far as we know women didn’t circumcise males. This would have been a violation of the gender role distinctions practiced among Abraham's people. Women circumcised females and men circumcised males. This has led some to wonder if perhaps Moses was uncircumcised and Zipporah circumcised him in an urgent situation, but the Egyptians practiced male circumcision and Moses would not have been permitted to appear before Pharaoh had he been uncircumcised. Besides, the text specifically says that Zipporah circumcised her son.
“On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the LORD met him and tried to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin, and touched Moses' feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” So he let him alone. It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.” (Exodus 4:24-26)
Here we see Zipporah acting as a priest in applying the blood of the son to save her (uncircumcised = ritually impure) husband. This is the only written record of a woman involved with male circumcision and Zipporah clearly was not happy to be put in that situation. In her cultural context performing an act reserved for men would have diminished her femininity. She sacrificed an aspect of her womanhood in performing this act to save her husband.
Related reading: The Horite Ancestry of Jesus Christ; The Ethnicity of Abraham and David; The Genesis Record of Horite Rule; Who Were the Horites?; Lamech Segment Analysis; Abraham's Nephews and Nieces; The Eyes of Horus Speak of Jesus; Abraham and Job: Horite Rulers; God's African Ancestors; Moses and Abraham: Different Origins of Israel?
1. The name “Korah” means shaved head. This was the custom for priests in Egypt preparing for their terms of service in the temples. See Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2007, p.37.
2. Many of the rulers in Genesis and Exodus met their wives at wells. That is because they married the daughters of priests who tended shrines where there were either natural springs or wells.
3. All of these royal priests married two wives and maintained them in separate households on a north-south axis. These settlements marked the north and southern boundaries of the ruler’s territory along the water system he controlled. The pattern of ruler-priests having 2 wives continues throughout the Bible. Elkanah is a later example, with his two wives Hannah and Penninah.
4. Circumcision was a sign of purity among the Egyptians and none who were uncircumcised were permitted to appear before Pharaoh. Circumcision applied to females also. Read about Pharaonic circumcision here.