Moses tried to sweet talk Zipporah into coming back to him because he wanted her father and brother as desert guides, and he wanted his sons as heirs to the empire he intended to build. He didn't much give a damn about his daughters, because being Midianites through their mother, they couldn't even legally bear Israelite offspring. Moses had a coldly calculating outlook on everything, as you shall see.
Nobody wanted to leave Midian, and Zipporah's relatives begged off politely, but she told Moses in no uncertain terms, "You're rigid and unkind. Your practices are barbaric, and you're a bunch of tight-assed, gynophobic, xenophobic, homophobic, control freaks. I won't have my children raised that way." She told him to consider himself divorced, because she certainly did.

Moses returned to the desert, (or dessert, if you consider all that pastry covering the ground) (sorry) perturbed. He sent to Midian asking Miriam to come to the camp to visit him. Well, actually, he sent three messages commanding her to come, which she merely laughed at, and then he got a clue and sent a proper invitation. He
was her brother, and she gave into one of the downfalls of womankind, sentimentality, and went knowing it could actually be dangerous. He was still the baby she had protected in the bulrushes of the Nile, even if he had forgotten it.

Here was Moses' ridiculous pitch to Miriam: Zipporah, he claimed had not properly divorced him, because it had not been formalized by the intricate Israelite legal code. Turns out, he had been sleeping with Yuntu, a lovely Ethiopian woman, who he now wished to consider his wife to legitimize his sexual romps and reproduce with, for empire building purposes. He informed Miriam that if Zipporah refused to come to the camp to attend to the legal necessities of an official divorce, he'd have no choice but to annul his marriage to Zipporah, thus illegitimizing and in effect disinheriting their children.

Yes, it was the beginning of that millennia-long tradition of men using the loss of control over their wives as a handy excuse for abdicating responsibility for their children. Moses intended to start his new dynasty with the younger, more passive, less experienced, better looking, and less sexually bored Yuntu. He started the whole "trophy wife" trend. So, you see, the original trophy wife was not a blonde, but a Black woman.

Miriam didn't exactly speak against Moses as claimed in
Numbers 12, but she did mention to Aaron that she thought it was wrong of Moses to renounce his children, and she also advised Yuntu to think long and hard before hitching her future to such a power-hungry man. So, when she contracted leprosy because of the unsanitary conditions in the camp, he pronounced it Yahweh's punishment of her for speaking against him.

Miriam entreated her little brother to come to his senses and abandon his megalomaniacal plan. She suggested he work instead on creating a settlement for the Israelite people and begin building a community as the Midianites had done. She offered to share all the Midianites had achieved with the Israelites, but Moses refused. Sadly, she returned to Midian and cured her leprosy with effective herbal and sanitation treatments. Moses claimed she had died. Anyone who disagreed with him was dead to him.
Moses was all about war, and war requires propaganda. When the Israelites heard the offer of the Midianites, they murmured amongst themselves, and a grassroots opposition movement arose against Moses' war.

So, he reported to the Israelites that he had sent out spies and found that the land they were to invade was indeed flowing with milk and honey and was a hundred times richer than anything Midian could provide, but that it was inhabited by horrible giants who would eat babies and kill Israelites.

This had the elements necessary for good war propaganda: great gain to be had from the war, and protection required by adherence to a strong central government in order to survive against the "others".
Those of the opposition who were not swayed by the report, Moses simply killed. The Men's Bible reports that the Earth opened up and swallowed them with their households and sent them down alive to Sheol. Sounds like an earthquake, and theological scholars are content with that explanation. But there's a clue to the real truth in Numbers 16;14, when the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron and accused them, "You have killed the children of God".

Then because of all the dead bodies laying around in the desert, there was a tremendous plague which killed 14,700 people. The Israelites were demoralized enough after this to finally quit opposing Moses' destructive war scheme, and they just went along with him out of sheer exhaustion. So, Moses got his invasion. All the while the gentle Midianites were dancing and singing and celebrating and learning, Moses was smiting. He smote the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Moabites, the Kenites, and anybody whose sexual behavior he disapproved of. He committed genocide time after time
(Numbers 21:35) He was a genocidal maniac.
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