Arabs In The Bible #2: Moses Married an Arab

English: Tomb of Moshe and Zipporah Sharett in...
 English: Tomb of Moshe and Zipporah Sharett in Tel Aviv עברית: קבר משה וצפורה שרת בתל אביב, Original Image Name:קבר משה וצפורה שרת בתל אביב, Location:בית הקברות טרומפלדור (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember the story of when Moses murdered an Egyptian because he was defending a fellow Jew, and buried the Egyptian corpse in the sand? Pharaoh found out and sent his bounty hunters after Moses (Exodus 2:15). Moses was wanted dead or alive by Pharaoh, King of Egypt.  Moses was forced to flee from the golden halls of Pharaoh's palace in Egypt, to the vast wasteland of the Saudi Arabian desert. (Exodus 2:11-12) Moses ends up parched, homeless, and lonely at a well near the Arabian city of Median. (Exodus 2:13).

Apparently, Moses has a strong sense of justice and a terrible temper. While sitting at the well, some beautiful Arab shepherd girls (seven in all), come to water their father's flock of sheep. These girls are chased off by Arab men at the well. Moses decides he doesn't like what he sees and stands up for the shepherd girls. He even waters their flocks as an act of kindness. The only thing I can think of that would drive a man to do this is love at first sight. As fate would have it, he was helping the seven beautiful daughters of the "priest of Midian" named Reuel (רעואל) (See reference 1) (Exodus 2:18). He is a powerful and influential Arab leader in the region. God would protect and provide for his future leader Moses through his Arab servant Jethro. The scripture tells us, Jethro invites Moses into his home and over time allows Moses to marry his daughter Zipporah. They soon have a son and call him Gershom which means in the Hebrew "a foreigner there." What a beautiful story of Arab generosity, hospitality and protection. Arabs are still famous for there big hearts and acceptance of foreigners. My wife and I were both "Gershoms" in Jordan and found refuge with an Arab family.

Who is this priest of Midian-Shu'aib, Jethro, Reuel, Hobab?

Here is what we know: 
1) Jethro is a religious leader called the "priest of Midian."
2) Jethro is a Keturahite Arab through Moses's wife Keturah. She had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. In a bid to protect Isaac, Moses sends these sons away to the east with gifts (Genesis 25:1-6). These sons become the forefathers of the Arab tribes of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq.
3) Arab Shu'aib helps Moses set up Israel's earliest judicial system. He advises Moses to train and delegate the administration of Israel to lower judges. Moses is saved from burn-out by following the advice of his wise Arab father-in-law.

What do we know about Zipporah (צפרה)?

1.)Zipporah is thought to mean "beauty," "bird," or "little bird" in Hebrew. (See reference) we can deduce, Zipporah is a beautiful Arabian woman.  Moses falls in love with this Arabian girl at the well. Perhaps he is showing off a little when he comes to her rescue. His heart is likely smitten.
2.)Zipporah has very dark skin. In Numbers 12:1, Miriam and Aaron protest against Moses marrying a woman of color. The phrase used is "Cushite." Interestingly, God does not mention any displeasure with the inter-racial marriage, but rather he is deeply upset at the rebellion against Moses's authority by Aaron and Miriam.  Zipporah is a Cushite, Keturahite, and Midianite Arab (more on this later). With a little investigation into these families in the sacred text, we find a connection between "Cushite" and "dark skin." Keturah's son Jokshan has descendants named Sheba and Dedan (Ezekiel 27:15), who are merchants of ivory and ebony. In his book "God Loves the Arabs, Too," Dr. Louis Bahjat Hamada makes a compelling case:
Cush was the oldest son of Ham, the son of Noah...He was the progenitor of the black race and the founder of Ethiopia. Ethiopia was known to the Greeks as Africa. The Cushites intermixed with other races and may have been semitized after they arrived in the Sudan. This may very well be the reason for the various shades of blackness that exist in the Near East. Jeremiah 13:23 seems to support these veiws: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?"

Known immigration of Abraham's children by Keturah.

1) Arabs and Jews are cousins and often intermarry in the scriptures. (More on this later.) God is not against inter-racial marriage. 
2) Arabs demonstrate a huge heart of generosity and loyalty to those they perceive as friends. This is still true today. Arabs will become significant in Israel's flight from Egypt and conquest of Palestine.  
3) Although a sub-theme, God is working in and through Arabs throughout the scriptures. Many scholars believe that Job, Melchizedek, Jethro "priest of Midian," and the wise men were all Arabs.

To read more, visit the blog.

1) Reuel meaning--For a meaning of the name Reuel, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read, Friend Of God. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer a translation of this name, but does list it under the verb רעה (ra'a II).

2) Jethro meaning--For a meaning of the name Jethro, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads, Excellent; Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads His Excellence.

3) Zipporah meaning--The name Zipporah may mean any of the above, but is most commonly interpreted to mean Bird (and so does NOBSE Study Bible Name List). Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads the more distinctive Little Bird, possibly to indicate that Zipporah doesn't necessarily mean bird in the sense of eagle or ostrich.

Arabs in the Bible #1: Caleb is an Arab

Tomb of Caleb

Surprising Fact #1: Caleb is likely an Arab that God promises the land of Hebron

1) Caleb is Ghalib in Arabic and means conqueror. It is very likely the mighty warrior, a friend of Joshua, and leader of the tribe of Judah, was an Arab. Because of his radical faith in God's promise to give Israel the promised land, he was given a place of leadership over Judah and the land of Hebron.

So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.  (Joshua 14:6-15)
But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land. (Numbers 14:24)
Joshua & Caleb speaking to Moses
 2) Caleb is likely an Arab. He is the son of Jephunneh, a Kennizite from the tribe of Kenaz. (Numbers 13:6) The tribe of Kenaz came from Esau's Canaanite wife named Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite (Gen. 36:2). Interestingly, Esau also married a daughter of his uncle Ishmael named Basemath (Gen. 36:3). Ishmael is considered to be the father of many Arab nations and believed by many Muslims to be in the genealogical line of their esteemed prophet Mohammed.

3) Caleb's brother, Othniel became the first judge of Israel and marries Achsah the daughter of Caleb as a reward for driving out Cush-rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia from the area of Hebron and Debir (12 miles southwest of Hebron). (Joshua 15:13-19)


"God Loves Arabs, Too" by Bahjat Hamada

Arabs in the Bible #2: Moses Married an Arab!

Devotion 13 John 6 and Surah 8

Muslims and Christians can pray, read, and discuss matters of faith in a peaceful and respectful manner. I have learned so much from my discussions with my dear friend Hassan from Egypt. Thank you for listening, praying and discussing these matters of life and faith with me. I pray God's richest blessings upon you and your family!

If you are interested in joining the prayer, reading, and discussion; you can join at the link below:

Join the closed group: Study the Bible and Quran:

Surah 8

John 6

Project Outrageous for Syrian Refugee Kids: (Update Part 1)

Project Outrageous Update (part 1)

Dennis, Nannette, Josh, Jackson
September 30th-- The Jordan 2017 Project outrageous team loaded up a rental van and headed to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The team consisted of Josh, Nannette, my son Jack, and a close friend Dennis. We set out on our journey with great excitement and expectation of what God would do in us and through us. Wow! Unknown to us, we were about to experience the trip of a lifetime. God would bring our faith alive through exploration of ancient holy sites, divine encounters with both strangers and friends, and outrageous acts of kindness to those in need. Enjoy the picture tour of our trip below.

Josh & Dennis interview Abu Omar and Aymen (Part 1)

Abu Omar is also known as Ishmael. He is the whole-sale sports equipment provider that helped us put together the sports kits for four boys schools and four girls schools. Abu Omar blew us away with his generosity. He also threw in free chess sets for each school and offered to provide free backpacks for any of the kids that needed one. He himself was the father of six kids! Aymen is a former Jordan national volleyball team member. He offered to deliver all of the kits to the remaining seven schools using his own vehicle and gas for free. Aymen has made good on that promise (signed invoices from each school to prove it!)

Josh & Dennis interview Abu Omar and Aymen (Part 2)

Abu Omar expresses his gratitude in a grand speech to ESL Connexus. He has always dreamed of doing this type of project. He thinks the project is important. A huge thanks to donors from Dennis. Due to Abu Omar's generosity, we were able to buy more equipment for less. Abu Omar points out that schools often only get a few hundred dollars for their budget from the government. This gift will go a long way to help the schools. 

Josh & Dennis interview Abu Omar and Aymen (Part 3)

Josh Interviews Wisam from QRTA

Wisam was instrumental in opening the door between ESL Connexus and the Queen Rania's Teachers Academy. Wisam, we are so grateful for your help to make the project happen. I apologize for the poor audio quality. In general, Wisam is speaking about the important role QRTA is playing in the field of education and teacher training in Jordan. 

Beginner Grammar: Pronouns and the BE verb

Support ELS Connexus!

Syllabus: Study the Bible and Quran

ESL Connexus: Study the Bible and Quran

Intended Audience:  Shared-Story Phase (Phase 3) of the  Growing Participator Approach

*Intermediate/Advanced language learners

*Someone with a computer and internet connection

*A person of peace (person of peace= humble and teachable)

Objectives: (GPA's will be able to...)

1) read and understand short passages in both the Bible and Quran.

2) learn new vocabulary from both the Bible and Quran

3) capture and review vocabulary through recordings of the passages/new words/conversations

4) learn cultural and spiritual insights from another person of peace

Resources needed:

1) Bible (

         *Free English/Arabic translations of the Bible.

2) Quran (

         *Free English/Arabic version of the Quran/Salah (prayers)/ Sunnah (traditions of the community)

3) Good internet

4) (Free conferencing application; screen share/recording/whiteboard/shareable link)

Getting Started:

1) Join the study groups on Facebook at: ESL Connexus: Study the Bible & Quran

2) Request a study partner in the Facebook group

3) Test Bigbluebutton on your computer

4) Be equitable and fair with exposure to both the Quran and Bible. Remember you are a person of peace and ambassador. You have much to learn from each other!

     * We encourage you to share your recordings, insights, and lessons with the FB group.


Best Language Exchange Website

My favorite on-line language exchange website is called THE MIXXER. If you go to the LESSON tab you can find lessons to learn:

ENGLISH (British Council "LearnEnglish" and Voice of America podcasts)

SPANISH  (Practica Español and Spanish Language & Culture from Colby College)

FRENCH (Français Interactif from COERLL)

GERMAN (Deutsch im Blick from COERLL)

CHINESE  (LearnNC from the University of North Carolina and Adult Chinese from the Confucius Institute)

The Mixxer is a free educational site for language learners hosted by Dickinson College. The Mixxer is designed to connect language learners around the world so that everyone is both student and teacher.

Phase 1B: Session 2

Session 2 at-a-Glance 

Plan this one based on how Session 1 has gone (repeat, expand)

Language Activity Description

Materials to Gather Activity 1: Phonetic practice (listening)

Activity 2: Lexicarry


Activity 3: GPs name someone's body parts GP take turns naming their own (my), others’   (your, our, their) body parts.

Activity 4: major talking activity - Grand activation of speaking vocabulary. Continue with activity from the previous session, using remaining objects. All of the objects and pictures used in earlier sessions are placed on the table, and the string/yarn/twine is used for the “  ladder.”

Activity 5: Talk about actions from Session 4 activity 1 of Phase 1a. Use the countryside scene, and GPs describe the situation while the Nurturer or other GPs arrange the pictures.

Countryside scene

* A note about out of session time – note as you add in “talking activities” and have less “listening activities,” you also have less new recordings.  However, look ahead each day and see what activities you are going to be doing where you are trying to move words up your iceberg into “talking.” Then go back to your recordings from Phase 1A and “refresh” those words in your iceberg by listening and doing those activities again. For example, today we are going to do the countryside scene with feelings and nationalities so I will want to go back and listen and do with recordings from Phase 1A sessions 11, 13, and 14.

Conversation Games

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...
English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d'Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find someone who…

Used to look different _________________ and _______________________

Always listened to his or her teachers _______________ and _______________

Wanted to be a movie star when he/she was younger ______________________

Used to have a favourite toy ________________ and _____________________

Changed schools when he/she was young ______________________________

Used to fight a lot with his/her siblings ________________________________

Got in a lot of trouble as a child _______________ and ____________________

Had a pet as a child ___________________and __________________________

Cultural check

These statements are generally true about cultural behavior in the United States. Check those that are true in your country.


___ 1. Women often kiss their friends on the cheek when they meet.

___ 2. It´s not acceptable to ask people how much money they earn.

___ 3. People avoid asking each other about their religious beliefs.

___4. When invited to someone´s house, people usually arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes late.

___ 5. It’s good to ask before bringing a friend or a family member to a party at someone’s house.

___ 6. When someone moves into a new home, it’s the custom to give a “housewarming” gift.

___ 7. People usually call first before dropping by a friend’s house.

___ 8. When eating in a restaurant, friends either split the cost of the meal, or take turns paying.


___ 9. It´s o.k. to blow your nose quietly in public.

___10. It´s uncommon to bargain when you buy things in stores.


___ 11. In an office, people usually prefer to be called by their first name.

___ 12. Students remain seated when the teacher enters the classroom.


___ 13. Teenagers go out on dates.

___ 14. people decide for themselves who they will marry.

___ 15. When a couple gets married, the bride´s family usually pays for the wedding and the reception.


A. Decide on an interesting Business to open with your Group, for example, a video arcade, a health club, a music store or a café.

B. What do you have to do in order to succeed in the business you chose? Use these questions to identify at least five different factors.

1. What are the most important things you need in order to run the business?

2. How important is the name of the business?

3. Do you think the location of the business is important?

4. How important is advertising or having a gimmick?

C. Now design a plan for the business. Determine these factors:

Name: ________________________________________________________________
Product/Service: ________________________________________________________
Location: ______________________________________________________________
Décor: ________________________________________________________________
Special Features: ________________________________________________________
Slogan: ________________________________________________________________
Type of advertising: ______________________________________________________
Other consideration: ____________________________________________________


A. Ask your partner these questions. Put a check mark if your partner gives the correct answer. (The answers are in bold).

1. Was Julios Cesar emperor of Athens, Rome, or Constantinople?
2. What did Thomas Edison invent in 1879? Was it the television, the telephone, or the lightbulb?
3. In what year did Mexico gain its independence? Was it in 1721, 1821 or 1921?
4. Where were the 1992 Olympics games held? Were they in Los Angeles, Barcelona, or in Toyko?
5. When did World War I take place? Was it from 1898 to 1903, from 1911 to 1915, or from 1914 to 1918?
6. What sculpture made the famous statue of David? Was it Leonardo Da Vinci, Auguste Bartholdi, or Michelangelo?
7. Who was the first human in space? Was it Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, or John Glenn?
8. When were the first audio C.D´s put on the market? Was it in 1973, 1983, or 1993?
9. What was the actress Marilyn Monroe´s real name? Was is Mary Lou Dreyer, Norma Jean Baker, or Billy Jean Monkton?
10. Was Cleopatra the queen of Egypt, Rome, or Greece? 

B. Ask your partner these questions. Put a check mark if your partner gives the correct answer. (The answers are in bold).

1.  When did the Wright brothers make their first airplane flight? Was it in 1893, 1903, or 1923?
2. What was the first living thing in space? Was it a dog, a monkey, or a mouse?
3. When did Walt Disney make his first cartoon? Was it in 1920, 1938, or in 1947?
4. In which century did the composer Mozart live? Was it in the seventeenth, the eighteenth, or the nineteenth?
5. Who was the novel Frankenstein written by? Was it Jane Austin, John Keats, or Mary Shelly?
6. Who discovered penicillin? Was it Alexander Fleming, Mary Curie or Albert Einstein?
7. When was the first Volkswagon “Beetle” car built? Was it during the 1920´s, the 1930´s, or the 1940´s?
8. Who used the first Magnetic Compass? Was it the Chinese, the Portuguese, or the Dutch?
9. When did the British return Hong-Kong to China? Was it in 1995, 1996, or 1997?
10. Was the theory of relativity created by Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, or Isaac Newton?

If you were a time machine???

1. If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit? 

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

3. If your house was burning down, what three objects would you try and save?

4. If you could talk to any one person now living, who would it be and why?

5. If you HAD to give up one of your senses (hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting) which would it be and why?

6. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

7. Do you have a pet? If not, what sort of pet would you like?

8. Name a gift you will never forget?

9. Name one thing you really like about yourself.

10. What's your favorite thing to do in the summer?

11. Who's your favorite cartoon character, and why?

12. Does your name have a special meaning and or were you named after someone special?

13. What is the hardest thing you have ever done?

14. If you are at a friend's or relative's house for dinner and you find a dead insect in your salad, what would you do?

15. What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?

16. If you had this week over again what would you do differently?

17. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

18. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

19. If you could ask Christ to change one problem in the world today, what would you like him to change?

20. What book, movie or video have you seen/read recently you would recommend? Why?


Find an English Class in Indianapolis

Image result for ENGLISH CLASSES

If you are looking for a way to learn English in the greater Indianapolis area, here is the perfect resource for you. The Immigrant Welcome Center of Indianapolis has compiled a list of organizations that offer English classes. All of the centers have also been placed on Google maps for your convenience.

A huge thanks to the volunteers who compiled this amazing resource!