Further thoughts regarding Moses, Aaron and Miriam in Micah 6

It can be said that Moses is rightly mentioned as their historic leader and giver of the law. Aaron is a distinct reminder of the established priesthood. What is unusual though is the mention of Miriam as a co-leader and her inclusion in this passage is singularly striking and raises questions as to why.  Allen notes she was the sister of Aaron, a prophetess and singer linking her to her prophetic praise song after crossing the Red Sea.[1] On the surface her inclusion with Moses and Aaron seems to be a rebuke to the Israelites on two levels.

The first is a reminder of God granting the Hebrew people a threefold leadership and continual foundation for communitive living. Moses represents the law, Aaron the priesthood and Miriam God’s gift as a prophetic voice.[2] The second could be a reminder of her song of praise upon the deliverance of the Hebrew people on crossing the Red Sea in the Exodus narrative from the Egyptians, meaning the Israelites should be praising and not grumbling.

However I believe there is more going on here on a deeper level. This is the only mention in Scripture outside of the Exodus narrative story and the Chronicle genealogies of Miriam. The fact of previous prophetic omission and her sudden appearance begs the question, “Why”? Is there something deeper going on that perhaps has been traditionally missed?[3] I believe that her inclusion is a further reminder and rebuke to the Hebrew nation in a further three areas.

The first two are contained in the story of her dissension against Moses, her subsequent leprous punishment and remarkable healing and reestablishment as a national leader upon her repentance. According to the Jewish Midrash, not only did God heal Miriam, he caused her to become younger and more beautiful than before.[4] Therefore is her inclusion God’s way of telling the Israelites to come to Him and he would not only forgive and heal them, but cause them to be re-established as a beautiful nation and more powerful than before?

The third area of rebuke I believe is in the area of the temple priestesses and false prophetesses whom Jezebel established. Aaron is a reminder of the true priesthood that God established for the nation and Miriam a true representative of not only a Godly woman, but a true spokeswoman for God. While this is not made apparent within this passage, further reading of Gods indictment against the people for their ungodly cultic practices in verse 16 gives weight to this idea.

[1] Allen, Leslie C. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, the books of Joel, Obadiah. Jonah and Micah. U.S.A: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976 pg.367

[2] Elizabeth. Achtemeier, New International Biblical Commentary, Minor Prophets 1. Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc 1996. Pg. 351

[3] None of the commentaries and journals I have researched has made a note of Miram’s unique appearance within prophetic literature. I believe that this uniqueness deserves a deeper looking into.

[4] Leila L. Bronner, 1991. “Biblical prophetesses through rabbinic lenses.” Judaism 40, no. 2: 171. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed October 1, 2010).

About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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