In Numbers 12:1, Moses wife became the apparent reason for Miriam and Aaron's rebellion against Moses. In a cryptic episode in the Torah, Miriam talked to Aaron about Moses "concerning the 'Cushite[1] wife' whom he married, for he married a 'Cushite wife'. Moses leads the Israelite people in a song of praise to God, after which Miriam appears again. … Cushites were of … Therefore, God was specifically rebuking Miriam, in explaining the difference between her calling and Moses's calling. This is actually a topic that is debated often, but scripture is clear that Moses married two different women from two different lineages. This explains their claim that God spoke not only to Moses but also to them, yet they had not separated from their spouses. This usage of the word Cushite is non-pejorative and is often used in Jewish sources as a term for someone unique and outstanding. Some commentators relate the lack of water to a magical well that had followed Miriam around throughout her life, drying up with her death. Moses responds immediately, crying out to God in Numbers 12:13: "O Lord, please heal her" ("El nah, refah na lah"). [30] Miriam's cup is linked to the midrash of Miriam's Well, described as "a rabbinic legend that tells of a miraculous well that accompanied the Israelites during their forty years in the desert at the Exodus from Egypt". She is shut outside the camp for the required period of time and the people wait for her. Miriam follows at a distance and sees the basket float near Pharaoh's daughter, who is bathing in the Nile. Apparently, after the Exodus Moses summoned the Cushite woman and she happily joined the Israelites and converted to Judaism. Moses Wife: The Ethiopian Woman. We can prove that by tracing their lineages in scripture. Pharaoh's daughter sends one of her servants to fetch the basket from among the reeds and finds Moses when she opens it. 12:1). Later on, Asiya, wife of Pharaoh, finds Moses at the river and adopts him as her own, but Moses refuses to be suckled by her. He describes the Aaronid priesthood in the Kingdom of Judah, which claimed descent from Aaron and which controlled the Temple in Jerusalem, as opposed to a priesthood which claimed allegiance to Moses and was based at Shiloh in the Kingdom of Israel. Yocheved puts Moses in a waterproofed wicker basket and places it in the Nile, hoping the river will carry her son to safety. Rashi tells us that Moses had divorced his wife: How did she [Miriam] know that Moses had separated from his wife? Surprisingly, Aaron is not afflicted or punished in any way, though he too spoke against Moses. Aaron pleads to Moses for her healing and Moses prays to the Lord, "O God, please heal her!" [34] Similarly, the lamb, egg and fish also allude to the three mythical creatures in Jewish tradition—the land beast Behemoth,[35] the bird Ziz,[36] and the sea-creature Leviathan,[37] respectively. We first learn of Miriam as she and her three-year-old brother, Aaron, are welcoming a new child into the family.Unfortunately for that time, the baby was a boy, and there is a decree that all Hebrew baby boys be killed. 12:1). Both horse and driver God has hurled into the sea.". According to the Hebrew Bible, Miriam was the older sister of Moses and Aaron. I Myself ordered him to abstain from conjugal life, and the word he received was revealed to him clearly and not in dark speeches, he saw the Divine presence from behind when It passed by him. [2]" Many Rabbinic commentaries follow the understanding of the Midrash that Moses' "Cushite wife" was Zipporah. Moses Had A Black Wife. Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed; she was the sister of Aaron and Moses, the leader of the Israelites in ancient Egypt. When she returns, Miriam has been healed and the Israelites move on to the Desert of Paran. They also discuss how God has spoken to them too, implying that they are unhappy with the status quo between themselves and their younger brother. According to the Midrash, the Leviathan and Behemoth,[38] as well as the Ziz,[39] are to be served at the Seudat Techiyat HaMetim[40] (the feast for the righteous following the Resurrection of the Dead), to which the Passover Seder alludes, insofar as it commemorates the past Redemption together with the Cup of Elijah's heralding the future, Final Redemption. Aaron asks Moses to intercede for Miriam, Moses prays to God to heal her, and God concedes after requiring a quarantine of seven days. I assumed they were kidding when they called this book “Numbers.” But no. After which time, upon fleeing as a solitary fugitive from Egypt,[19] the only marriage of Moses that the Torah records is with Tzipora the daughter of Yitro the Midianite. The suggestion was Moses was somehow "tainted" by marrying a Cushite, and therefore not 'worthy' of the office he held; God specifically directed His rebuke towards her, reminding her of who He designates as approaching Him, and dare she presume herself to be more 'righteous' than Moses, who in the same passage was said to be, The judgment for her critical spirit was leprosy, which appeared on … Furthermore, according to the conclusion of the Tharbis legend, Moses fashioned a miraculous ring which caused her to forget her love for him, and he then returned to Egypt alone. Zipporah was a worshiper of the true God. The idea that Moses had a black wife apparently comes from Numbers 12:1 which says Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of his Cushite wife. "Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible." What isn’t immediately obvious in scripture is that Moses had two wives and Zipporah was the first. Mosos wife The Cushite reference to the wife of Moses occurs at Numbers 12. [28], Miriam is a popular figure among some Jewish feminists. They disapproved of this separation because they considered her to be outstandingly righteous, much as a dark-skinned person stands out among light-skinned people—hence the reference to Tzipora as a "Cushite". Numbers 12 tells the story of the opposition of his brother Aaron and sister Miriam to Moses on the grounds that he had married a Cushite wife. However, the identity of the Cushite woman referred to in this story is tangential to Friedman and his opinion remains inconclusive. When Miriam is re-introduced in this part of the story, the text refers to her as a "prophetess" (Exodus 15:20) and later in Numbers 12:2 she reveals that God has spoken to her. Several chapters later, in Numbers 20, she dies and is buried at Kadesh. Their complaint, therefore, was not about the union between Moses and Tzipora, but about their separation. Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite (Numbers 12:1, NIV). When Zipporah heard this, she said, “Woe to their wives if they are required to prophesy, for they will separate from their wives just as … The waters of the well were drawn after the mark and thus supplied water for each of the Tribes. "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you," Pharaoh's daughter says to Yocheved (Exodus 2:9). It has been suggested that Josephus[17] and Irenaeus[18] (who merely cites Josephus) identify the Cushite woman as Tharbis, "the daughter of the king of the Ethiopians". [27] The Midrash states that when they encamped, the leader of each Tribe took his staff to the well and drew a line in the sand toward his Tribe's encampment. Miriam's mother, Yocheved, has been hiding Miriam's infant brother, Moses, for three months. The Hebrew word Cush means black, and Cush is said to be the father of the black African people. Miriam first appears in the biblical book of Exodus not long after Pharaoh decrees that all newborn Hebrew boys will be drowned in the Nile river. What makes us think Moses’ wife … Miriam died and was buried there."[7]. Why Aaron And Miriam Were Against Moses. Miriam's death is described in Numbers 20:1 and in the next verse, the Israelites are described as complaining of the lack of water at Kadesh. The text reads: “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of … 24:9) Yet the Torah’s account of this event is rather obscure. A Cushite is from Cush, a region south of Ethiopia, where the people are known for their black skin. Both Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, but only Miriam contracted tzara'at. Telushkin, Joseph. When Miriam heard about this, she brought the complaint to Moses. [3] According to the Midrash,[4] just as Moses led the men out of Egypt and taught them Torah, so too Miriam led the women and taught them Torah. Chapter 1 to Chapter 3. Immediately after Miriam’s death, the Israelites quarrel with her brothers Moses and Aaron for lack of water. It is feminine -- ve'teddaber ("and she spoke") -- indicating that Miriam was the one who initiated the conversation against Moses (Telushkin, 130). The princess agrees and Miriam brings none other than her own mother to care for Moses. However, while Josephus does describe a legend (which is not written in the Torah) wherein Moses marries this princess during a military campaign he leads in Ethiopia, according to Josephus this marriage occurs while Moses is still a royal prince of Egypt long before he re-discovers his oppressed Jewish brethren. [15] Despite Miriam's intent to help Tzipora, she should have judged Moses favorably and approached Moses on Tzipora's behalf privately. And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. The Bible does not explicitly say that Moses had more than one wife. Scripture describes her alongside of Moses and Aaron as delivering the Jews from exile in Egypt: "For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam". Josephus states that Miriam marries Hur, Moses’ close companion. Cush is generally translated as Ethiopia (probably the entire region south of Egypt – see Shemot Rabbah 10:2), a place inhabited by blacks. The Midianites lived in … Zipporah or Tzipora (/ ˈ z ɪ p ər ə, z ɪ ˈ p ɔːr ə /; Hebrew: צִפֹּרָה ‎, Tsippōrāh, "bird") is mentioned in the Book of Exodus as the wife of Moses, and the daughter of Reuel/Jethro, the priest and prince of Midian. Using interpretations from the documentary hypothesis, he notes that this story, which he calls "Snow-White Miriam", was authored by the Elohist who he claims was from, or supported, the Shiloh priesthood, and thus promoted this tale to assert Moses’ superiority over Aaron and thereby belittle the Aaronid priesthood in Judah. Hebrew: kushiyth (Koo-sheeth’) a Cushite woman (Strongs Hebrew Dictionary). 12 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he … “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman”. [6]:71, The Torah describes Miriam and Aaron as being rebuked by God for criticizing Moses on account of his "Cushite" wife, after which Miriam is punished for a week with tzara’at ("leprosy", Numbers 12). Zipporah, Moses’ wife, was a Midianite woman. However, Numbers 12:1 speaks of Moses’ wife not as a Midianite, but rather as a Cushite. However, this was after his time on Sinai, when he had become entirely holy, so it was too late to consummate the marriage. Miriam asks Pharaoh's wife and her handmaidens to have his own mother act as nursemaid to Moses, the mother's identity not being known to Pharaoh's wife (28:12–13). Miriam here claimed equality with Moses, ignoring the fact that God had placed Moses in a unique position of authority (Ex. [31][32], Some Modern Orthodox Jews have revived an ancient custom[33] of adding a piece of fish to the Seder plate in honor of Miriam who is associated with water, based on the teaching in the Talmud[26] that God gave manna (on the ground) in the merit of Moses, clouds of glory (in the sky) in the merit of Aaron and a well (of water) in the merit of Miriam. Others have suggested that Aaron was not afflicted with leprosy because, as the High Priest, it would not have … The Cushite wife appears some years later in Moses’ story, during the wandering in the desert (you can read about the dispute between Miriam, Aaron and the Cushite wife at Miriam’s story.) In response to Miriam’s criticism, God does not get angry at Moses; he gets angry at Miriam. We learn in Numbers that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman (Num. Attention is drawn to the … 4:10–16; Deut. [41][42], There is no mention of Moses' sister's name specifically. [7], Rashi says that this well was the same rock from which Moses brought forth water after Miriam's death. Moses meets Miriam and Aaron and was revealed that he was their younger brother.All rights reserved to DreamWorks 2:18 ). She recognizes him as one of the Hebrew babies and feels sympathy for the child. (Deut. Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed, and the older sister of Moses and Aaron, all of whom were Levites. [5], The narrative of Moses' infancy in the Torah describes an unnamed sister of Moses observing him being placed in the Nile (Exodus 2:4); she is traditionally identified as Miriam. The most explicit statement relates to the marriage: "Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman." [14] This was because she, not Aaron, was the one who initiated the complaint against Moses. Yet in the Book of Numbers Moses’s sister Miriam is upset about his having taken a “Cushite” wife. But as the child grows older Yocheved decides that it is no longer safe for him at home -- after all, it would only take one ill-timed cry for an Egyptian guard to discover the child. Other scholars point to this very passage as emphatically saying the opposite: Moses did have more than one wife, hence the narrative's emphasis at the end of vs 1: While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman) The only justification they could find for Moses' celibacy was in order to maintain his prophetic state. Some say this identifies her as a descendant of Noah’s grandson Cush. William Morrow: New York, 1997. Moses teaches that Israelites are not to marry foreigners (Deut. She leads the women in a dance while singing: "Sing to the Lord, for God is highly exalted. The Midrash[8] explains the entire story as follows: It became known to Miriam and Aaron that Moses had separated from intimacy with his wife Tzipora. I can’t imagine Miriam and Aaron giving Moses such a hard time if his wife were an “exceptional creature.” God was very upset with Miriam and Aaron for raining on Moses… God overhears their conversation and calls the three siblings into the Tent of Meeting, where God appears as a cloud before them. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against a man like Moses, who is, moreover, My servant? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil. We know that she was the daughter of a man called Jethro (or Reuel), who was a priest in the land of Midian ( Exodus 3:1; cf. Miriam does not appear again until much later in the Exodus story. Miriam had godly parents who trusted the God of Israel, however, Egypts Pharoah hated her people. This article is about the biblical prophetess and sister of, Biblical narratives and the Qur'an § Miriam and Mary, "Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus, XXXII", Miriam’s Cup: Miriam’s Cup rituals for the family Passover seder, "Why Miriam's Cup? [29] Miriam's Cup originated in the 1980s in a Boston Rosh Chodesh group; it was invented by Stephanie Loo, who filled it with what she referred to as mayim chayim (living waters) and used it in a feminist ceremony of guided meditation. [22] Therefore, even according to Josephus, Moses' first marriage to Tharbis as military leader of Egypt terminated long before his later marriage to Tzipora as fugitive from Egypt, such that the Cushite wife of Moses mentioned in the Torah after the Exodus appears to be Tzipora, as explained above. Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed; she was the sister of Aaron and Moses, the leader of the Israelites in ancient Egypt. "[12] Rabbi Louis Ginzberg wrote the anger of God to them. It would show that while Miriam and Aaron were technically correct in denouncing Moses’s marriage, their motive in advancing this pretext was as malicious as their desire to remove Moses from power, namely, because that union was a marriage in name only. However, Numbers 12:1 leads many to surmise another wife: “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his … Upon seeing Miriam's punishment Aaron asks Moses to speak to God on her behalf. While the Israelites were in the wilderness, Miriam and Aaron began to speak against Moses because of his Cushite wife. Moses has commanded Pharaoh to let his people go and God has sent the ten plagues down upon Egypt. Afterwards, "God's wrath flared against them. [24][25]:217–228, The Talmud[26] says, "Three great leaders led Israel: Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Thus, in addition to the traditional cup of wine that is set for the Prophet Elijah, some feminist-inspired Seders set a cup of water for Miriam which is sometimes also accompanied by a ritual in her honor. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin suggests this difference stems from the Hebrew verb used to describe their comments about Moses' wife. In other words, Moses has a closer relationship with God than other prophets. Further elaboration identified the rock that Moses struck to bring forth water in Exodus 17:5–6 with this well, and it was said that the rock travelled with the people until Miriam's death. It is feminine -- ve'teddaber ("and she spoke") -- indicating that Miriam was the one who initiated the conversation against Moses (Telushkin, 130). Miriam (.mw-parser-output .script-hebrew,.mw-parser-output .script-Hebr{font-family:"SBL Hebrew","SBL BibLit","Frank Ruehl CLM","Taamey Frank CLM","Ezra SIL","Ezra SIL SR","Keter Aram Tsova","Taamey Ashkenaz","Taamey David CLM","Keter YG","Shofar","David CLM","Hadasim CLM","Simple CLM","Nachlieli",Cardo,Alef,"Noto Serif Hebrew","Noto Sans Hebrew","David Libre",David,"Times New Roman",Gisha,Arial,FreeSerif,FreeSans}מִרְיָם‎ Mīrəyām) was described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Amram and Jochebed, and the older sister of Moses and Aaron. It has been suggested that since according to the Hebrew Bible anyone with tzara'at was tamei (Leviticus 13–14), Aaron was spared this punishment in order not to interrupt his duties as High Priest. In the Book of Chronicles, two of her grandsons are mentioned: Shebuel, son of Gershom, and Rehabiah, son of Eliezer (1 Chronicles 23:16-17 Rabbi Joseph Telushkin suggests this difference stems from the Hebrew verb used to describe their comments about Moses' wife. The Torah refers to her as "Miriam the Prophetess"[1] and the Talmud[2] names her as one of the seven major female prophets of Israel. On the surface, they seem to take little or no time to grieve. Answer: The Bible does not say much about Moses’ wife, Zipporah. Numbers 12:1. [9] In fact, King Saul[10] and even the Jewish People[11] are referred to by the term "Cushite". A black wife to Judaism ] know that Moses had separated from their spouses just... And Aaron began to talk against Moses, but only Miriam contracted tzara'at with.. Of his Cushite wife offers no support for racial mixing who is, moreover, servant! Moses 's big sister. `` this was because she, not Aaron, all moses' wife miriam whom were.. 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