Gershom was a son of Moses and Zipporah, and the brother to Eliezer. He was born in the land of Midian, which in ancient times referred to a place near Israel but on the east side of the Jordan River. He was the grandson of Jethro, who was a priest in Midian.

The name Gershom is similar to the Hebrew word for "foreigner" or "stranger."

One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, "I have become an alien in a foreign land"; and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, "My father's God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh."

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