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Daughters of God

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    Miriam, Sister of Moses

    This chapter is based on Book of Exodus; Numbers 12.

    Miriam watched over Moses as their mother hid him in the bulrushes. Later she was associated with Moses and Aaron in the deliverance of God's people from Egypt. She was talented and gifted in many ways, but jealousy of her position with Moses led her to make serious mistakes.DG 32.2

    At Hazeroth, the next encampment after leaving Taberah, a still more bitter trial awaited Moses. Aaron and Miriam had occupied a position of high honor and leadership in Israel. Both were endowed with the prophetic gift, and both had been divinely associated with Moses in the deliverance of the Hebrews. “I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:4) are the words of the Lord by the prophet Micah.DG 32.3

    Miriam's force of character had been early displayed when as a child she watched beside the Nile the little basket in which was hidden the infant Moses. Her self-control and tact God had made instrumental in preserving the deliverer of His people. Richly endowed with the gifts of poetry and music, Miriam had led the women of Israel in song and dance on the shore of the Red Sea. In the affections of the people and the honor of Heaven she stood second only to Moses and Aaron. But the same evil that first brought discord in heaven sprang up in the heart of this woman of Israel, and she did not fail to find a sympathizer in her dissatisfaction.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 382 (1890).DG 33.1

    God had chosen Moses, and had put His Spirit upon him; and Miriam and Aaron, by their murmurings, were guilty of disloyalty, not only to their appointed leader, but to God Himself. The seditious whisperers were summoned to the tabernacle, and brought face to face with Moses. “And Jehovah came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam.” Their claim to the prophetic gift was not denied; God might have spoken to them in visions and dreams. But to Moses, whom the Lord Himself declared “faithful in all mine house,” a nearer communion had been granted. With him God spake mouth to mouth. “Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed.”DG 33.2

    The cloud disappeared from the tabernacle in token of God's displeasure, and Miriam was smitten. She “became leprous, white as snow.” Aaron was spared, but he was severely rebuked in Miriam's punishment. Now, their pride humbled in the dust, Aaron confessed their sin, and entreated that his sister might not be left to perish by that loathsome and deadly scourge. In answer to the prayers of Moses the leprosy was cleansed. Miriam was, however, shut out of the camp for seven days. Not until she was banished from the encampment did the symbol of God's favor again rest upon the tabernacle. In respect for her high position, and in grief at the blow that had fallen upon her, the whole company abode in Hazeroth, awaiting her return.DG 33.3

    This manifestation of the Lord's displeasure was designed to be a warning to all Israel, to check the growing spirit of discontent and insubordination. If Miriam's envy and dissatisfaction had not been signally rebuked, it would have resulted in great evil. Envy is one of the most satanic traits that can exist in the human heart, and it is one of the most baleful in its effects.... It was envy that first caused discord in heaven, and its indulgence has wrought untold evil among men. “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 384, 385 (1890).DG 33.4

    From Kadesh the children of Israel had turned back into the wilderness; and the period of their desert sojourn being ended, they came, “even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh.” Numbers 20:1.DG 34.1

    Here Miriam died and was buried. From that scene of rejoicing on the shores of the Red Sea, when Israel went forth with song and dance to celebrate Jehovah's triumph, to the wilderness grave which ended a lifelong wandering—such had been the fate of millions who with high hopes had come forth from Egypt. Sin had dashed from their lips the cup of blessing.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 410 (1890).DG 34.2

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