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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GERSHOM. 1. The elder of the two sons borne to Moses by Zipporah ( Exodus 2:22 ; Exodus 18:2-6 ; the explanation of the name given in these two passages is folk-etymology). According to Exodus 14:25 ; Exodus 14:25 , the origin of circumcision among the Israelites was connected with that of Gershom; the rite was performed by his mother; this was contrary to later usage, according to which this was always done by a man. The son of Gershom, Jonathan , and his descendants were priests to the tribe of the Danites; but the fact that these latter set up for themselves a graven image, and that therefore the descendants of Gershom were connected with worship of this kind, was regarded as a grave evil by later generations, for which reason the word ‘Moses’ in Judges 18:30 was read ‘Manasseh’ by the insertion of an n above the text; it was thought derogatory to the memory of Moses that descendants of his should have been guilty of the worship of graven images. In Judges 17:7 there is a possible reference to Gershom, for the words ‘and he sojourned there’ can also be read ‘and he (was) Gershom’ (W. H. Bennett). In 1 Chronicles 23:16 ; 1 Chronicles 26:24 the sons of Gershom are mentioned, Shebuel or Shubael being their chief. 2. A son of Levi ( 1 Chronicles 6:16 [v. 1 in Heb.]); see Gershon. 3. A descendant of Phinehas, one of the ‘heads of houses’ who went up with Ezra from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes ( Ezra 8:2 ).

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gershom'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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