Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, “Is it a fact that the Lord has spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard this. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any person who was on the face of the earth.) And the Lord suddenly said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “You three go out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent; and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward, He said,

“Now hear My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, will make Myself known to him in a vision.
I will speak with him in a dream.
It is not this way for My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My household;
With him I speak mouth to mouth,
That is, openly, and not using mysterious language,
And he beholds the form of the Lord.

So why were you not afraid
To speak against My servant, against Moses?”

Numbers 12:1-8

Miriam and Aaron had a fraught career as speakers for God. We could even call them prophets, but that certainly didn’t make them flawless individuals. They disdained Moses, their little brother, for marrying a woman from Cush (modern Sudan and southern Egypt). Perhaps this was for cultural reasons, or because of her different heritage. What is obvious from God’s response is that he saw their true motive, namely that they were jealous of Moses.

A punishment comes on them after this and Moses pleads on their behalf, not because they didn’t deserve the pain but because Moses’ character compelled him to do the right thing and seek mercy on their behalf.

Moses, friend of God, showed mercy to those who persecuted him for his closeness with God and his marriage to a woman of different nationality. What prevents us from following his example?

Ethan Kirl