:וַתְּדַבֵּ֨ר מִרְיָ֤ם וְאַֽהֲרֹן֙ בְּמשֶׁ֔ה עַל־אֹד֛וֹת הָֽאִשָּׁ֥ה הַכֻּשִׁ֖ית אֲשֶׁ֣ר לָקָ֑ח כִּֽי־אִשָּׁ֥ה כֻשִׁ֖ית לָקָֽח
"And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married; for he had married a Cushite woman." (Numbers 12:1)
Moses married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, from Midian. (Exodus 2:21) Is there any reason to believe that the woman in the above verse from Numbers is Zipporah?
Everyone I have seen that cites this story assumes that Zipporah and the "Cushite woman" are the same, however I don't see how you could learn this from the simple reading of the verse.
Some problems with believing that Zipporah and the woman are the same is that Zipporah was not a Cushite (someone from the land of Cush) but rather was from Midian.
It has been suggested that perhaps Cushite does not refer to the nationality in this case but perhaps the color of the woman's skin (maybe she was black), but yet we still do not have good supportive evidence for this, and even if we did we do not know Zipporah's skin tone.
So we cannot conclude from the simple reading of the text that this woman and Zipporah are the same, other from the fact that both are referred to as the woman Moses married.
What are the opinions? Is Zipporah and the Cushite woman the same person?
Could Miriam and Aaron be referring to a previous marriage that Moses had? I recall a Midrash that talks about Moses becoming a prince in Cush, and possibly marrying the Queen of Cush. The verse does not indicate whether the woman is Moses' current wife, only that Moses had married her, possibly indicating that the marriage was no longer.
(Note: I am aware of what Rashi has to say on the matter.)