Thursday, August 2, 2012

Miriam "Exalted"

Sister of Moses; watches the ark of bulrushes; leads the women with tabrets (musical instruments); murmurs against Moses and is smitten with leprosy; dies in Kadesh.

Scriptures to study:
Exodus 2:4-8; 15:20-21
Numbers 12:1-16; 20:1; 26:59
Deuteronomy 24:9
1 Chronicles 6:3
Micah 6:4
LDS Bible Dictionary, pg 733

Time Line:
18th Century BC: Jacob's family moves to Egypt
17th-14th Century BC: Hebrews enslaved in Egypt
1370(ish) BC: Birth of Miriam
1363 BC: Birth of Aaron
1360 BC: Birth of Moses
              : Miriam orchestrates the wet-nurse agreement with the daughter of Pharoah. (Moses 3 mos old)
1357 BC: Moses (3yo) moves to palace
1320 BC: Moses (40 yo) flees from Egypt and resides in Midian, marries Zipporah
1280 BC: Moses (80) returns to Egypt as the prophet of Jehovah and deliverer of the Israelites
              : 1st Passover/Miraculous Crossing of Red Sea/Miriam's hymn of praise/Law given from Mt. Sinai
1279 BC: 2nd Passover/Miriam and Aaron criticize Moses (81); Miriam's leprosy
1242 BC: Miriam dies in Kadesh
1241 BC: Aaron dies
1240 BC: Moses (120) is translated
              : Joshua leads the children of Israel into the promised land
(Dates are based on the 'late date theory')

"Like Jochebed, we raise our families in a wicked and hostile world -- a world as dangerous as the courts of Egypt ruled by Pharaoh. But, like Jochebed, we also weave around our children a protective basket - a vessel called 'the family' -- and guide them to safe places where our teachings can be reinforced in the home and at church.... Along the way, at times when our children are away from us, the Lord provides inspired 'Miriams' to watch over them  special third party helpers such as priesthood and auxiliary leaders, teachers, extended family, and worthy friends." (Hales, Ensign, May 2004, 89-90)

Exodus 15:20  Miriam is referred to as a prophetess... but why?  This comment comes into play because of the song. In this time, women were the musicians and dancers. She led the women with timbrels.

Okay, another question, "What are timbrels?"
"Hand-held, hoop-shaped drums whose diameter was wider than the depth of the instrument. They were played by striking them with the flat of the hand. More accurately described as drums than tambourines." (Camille Fronk Olson, Women of the Old Testament, pg 99)

Back to the original question. When Miriam led the Israelite women in song and dance to honor the Lord and Moses, testifying of God's divinity and a few prophetic lines as well.

Prophet: anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost. (Revelations 19:10; Numbers 11:25-29)

So, after ready Exodus 15:1-21, do you think she fits that definition? I would have to say, "YES!"

From her experiences, we learn to always shave faith in the Lord and the leaders he chooses, Never doubt or murmur but choose to believe!
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