Miriam and Aaron criticize Moses
And Miriam and Aaron
spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married:
for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not
spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
(12:1-2) Miriam and Aaron (Moses's sister and brother) criticize Moses for
marrying an Egyptian woman.
Will God destroy those that intermarry?
They also say that God has spoken to them, too. "And God heard it."
(Now the man Moses was
very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam,
Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three
(12:3) Moses was very meek, above
all the men which were upon the face of the earth.
Was Moses meek?
That's a strange way to describe one of the cruelest men to have ever lived. (If he ever did
live, which he probably didn't.) Moses, as he is described in the Bible, is
anything but meek (See Numbers 31:14-18
for an example of his "meekness").
The NRSV translates this as: "Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone
else on the face of the earth." But if Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch, then he must have written
this verse, too. Which seems like a strange thing for the humblest man on earth to say!
Who wrote the Pentateuch?
And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door
of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
(12:5) God comes down in a cloud-like pillar and speaks to Aaron and Miriam.
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the
LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in
My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark
speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then
were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
(12:6) If there be a prophet among
you, I the LORD will ... speak unto him in a dream.
Now there's a reliable way to communicate with someone!
(12:7-8) "My servant Moses ...
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches."
Has anyone seen God?
God strikes Miriam with leprosy
And the anger of the
LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.
And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became
leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she
And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin
upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.
Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he
cometh out of his mother's womb.
And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech
(12:9-10) God strikes Miriam with leprosy.
(In the Bible,
leprosy is caused by the wrath of God or the malice of Satan.)
(12:10) And, Behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow.
Notice that only Miriam is punished, though both she and Aaron complained.
(12:11-13) Although both Aaron and Moses beg God to remove the leprosy with which he cursed Miriam,
there is nothing in the text that says that he did.
And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father
had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days?
let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.
And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed
not till Miriam was brought in again.
And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the
wilderness of Paran.
(12:14) And the Lord said unto Moses, If her
father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days?"
God says the darndest things! (Cf. Dt 25:9)
(12:15) And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days.