Miriam: Sister of Moses and Aaron

miriam

Eventually, Moses’ choice of a wife gave Miriam an opportunity to criticize. It was natural for her insecurity to break out over this issue. With Moses married, Miriam, was clearly no longer the most important woman in his life. The real issue, however, was not the kind of woman Moses had married. It was the fact that he was now the most important man in Israel. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?… Hasn’t He also spoken through us?” No mention is made of Moses’ response, but God had a quick answer for Miriam and Aaron. Without denying their role in his plan, God clearly pointed out his special relationship with Moses. Miriam was stricken with leprosy, a deadly disease, as punishment for her insubordination. But Moses, true to his character, intervened for his sister so that God healed Miriam of her leprosy.

Before criticizing someone else, we need to pause long enough to discover our own motives. Failing to do this can bring disastrous results. What is often labeled “constructive criticism” may actually be destructive jealousy, since the easiest way to raise our own status is to bring someone else down? Are you willing to question your motives before you offer criticism? Does the critical finger you point need to be pointed first toward yourself?

Strengths and Accomplishments

  • Quick thinker under pressure
  • Able leader
  • Songwriter

Prophetess

  • Weakness and Mistakes
  • Was jealous of Moses’ authority
  • Openly criticized Moses’ leadership

Lessons From Her Life

The motives behind criticism are often more important to deal with than the criticism itself

Vital Statistics for Miriam

  • Where: Egypt, Sinai peninsula
  • Relatives: Brothers: Aaron and Moses

Key Verses for Miriam

“Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea’ “ (Exodus 15:20, 21)


The ESV Study Bible, Large Print edition features the content of the award-winning ESV Study Bible with a highly readable, large-print type. Extensive study notes, charts, maps, and articles make this study Bible a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word.

Miriam’s story is told in Exodus 2; 15 and Numbers 12; 20. She is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 24:9; 1 Chronicles 6:3; Micah 6:4.

Frequently Asked Questions about Miriam

1. Who was Miriam in the Bible?

Miriam was the older sister of Moses and Aaron, born to Amram and Jochebed from the tribe of Levi. She played a significant role in the Exodus story, especially during the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt.

2. What was Miriam’s role in the Exodus?

Miriam was a prophetess, recognized for her leadership and musical abilities. She is particularly remembered for leading the women of Israel in joyful songs and dances after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea.

3. What challenges did Miriam face?

Miriam experienced challenges, notably a period of leprosy as a consequence of speaking against Moses. However, God healed her after Moses interceded for her.

4. How did Miriam contribute to Israelite history?

Aside from her role in the Exodus, Miriam’s influence was crucial in the upbringing of Moses and the preservation of Israelite identity and culture during their time in Egypt.

5. What can we learn from Miriam’s life?

Miriam’s story teaches us about the importance of leadership, faithfulness, and the power of music and celebration in honoring God’s deliverance.

Recommended Reading for Miriam

Miriam’s Song: (A Clean and Inspirational Retelling about Moses’ Sister) by Jill Eileen Smith. Smith does an excellent job of bringing her characters to life . . . A memorable and noteworthy rendering of the atmosphere and figures of the scriptures.”–Booklist starred review

Women of the Old Testament Hardcover by Camille Fronk Olson (Author), Elspeth Young (Illustrator). From the beginning, women have been at the very heart of God s plan. Women of the Old Testament focuses on twenty remarkable women representing different ages, economic circumstances, family status, and cultures.


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