The Sin of Miriam

Date: PM
Text: Numbers 12:1-13
Psalters: 30, 202, 387, 366
  1. The occasion for Miriam’s sin was her judgment of Moses’ wife, an Ethiopian woman.
    1. The focus is on Miriam.
    2. What the Scriptures tell us of Miriam (around 90 years old).
      1. Likely the sister who hid in the bulrushes when Moses’ basket was set afloat in the Nile (Ex. 2:4,7).
      2. She seems to be very able and quick to act; characterized by great zeal for God and His people.
    3. Miriam’s sin is the way she reacted to Moses’ marriage to an Ethiopian woman and not an Israelite.
      1. Moses’ marriage is not the problem and is not condemned in Scipture.
      2. Her criticism arose because she wanted the same honor given to Moses, the honor to give orders.
  2. Miriam’s sin is one of rebellion against God.
    1. First, her sin is rooted in her personal pride.
      1. She believed she knew what was best and so spoke to others against Moses – and his office.
      2. Specifically Miriam believed she (and Aaron) had equal rights with Moses to be leaders of Israel.
      3. She lost all respect and honor for the authority of Moses, conferred on him by Jehovah.
    2. She rebelled against God Who set Moses in his position as prophet of God).
      1. God tells Miriam that He had appointed Moses to his position (Moses did not left himself to it).
      2. Further God revealed Himself to Moses “mouth to mouth” (8), not in visions and dreams (6b,7).
      3. More, they were “not afraid to speak against My servant” (1,8), contradicting his God-given authority.
    3. The effect of this rebellion on Moses is implied in the statement that Moses was the meekest of men (3).
  3. “Jehovah heard” (2b) and responded, showing the seriousness of the sin.
    1. God suddenly came and called them to the door of the tabernacle (5).
    2. God’s anger was kindled against them (9) and Miriam became leprous (10) picturing her sin!
    3. Moses’ intercession brings divine healing (11-13).
      1. Aaron confesses and pleads for help.
      2. Moses’ humility is evidenced in his willingness to intercede (like the perfect Mediator).
    4. God heals, but not until she bears her shame for seven days.