Monday, December 2, 2013

A Woman Named Miriam

During this week, where many Jews celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah I like to review a book a recently read: Miriam by LoisT. Henderson.

Even though the book is a novel, Ms. Henderson follows the story according to the biblical records.

Miriam is the older sister of Moses, who rescues the baby Moses after he was placed by his mother in a basket and floates down the Nile river in order to avoid being killed as the first-born son of the Hebrews. (Exodus 2)
The parents of Moses, Aaron and Miriam are Amram a Levite and Jochebed.

The novel tells the story of Miriam’s role preparing for the Exodus and staying with Moses and their brother Aaron, the priest, all through the wandering in the wilderness. 

Before that Miriam served the princess Hapithet who was the woman who became Moses’ mother, and raised him as a prince of Egypt until he leaves for Midian.  After Moses’ return, the two brothers and sister collaborate with other Hebrews to prepare for the Exodus. 

As a woman she is very assertive, but is also aware of her role to be obedient and submissive.  Her relationship with the princess gives her access to many privileges including comfortable living in the palace.  She is also the one who arranges an audience with the Pharaoh for Moses. 

Throughout the book, Ms. Henderson describes Miriam’s struggle for leadership.  As a widow she has no hope for children.  Her faith is constantly challenged, as she tries to interfere in the life of her nice, daughter of Aaron.  After Moses’ wife Zipporah dies, he marries again a Cushite (the land south of Egypt - Ethiopia) woman, in order to have more children.

That’s how Miriam’s biggest struggle came about.  After Zipporah’s death, she was caring for Moses’ two sons Gershom and Eliezer.  She loves them as her own sons but when Moses gets married again, she feels as if she lost her purpose.

Not only does she miss the children, but she is also jealous of the new wife of Moses and along with Aaron opposes Moses for his decision.  She is always wondering why God cannot work through her, too, since she has prophesied before.  As she is in her pouting stage, she suddenly becomes covered with leprosy. (Numbers 12:10-14) After a few days of internal struggles she finally surrenders herself renewed to God, and finds that she is healed. She hears an internal voice and learns to trust God.  She has to accept that God works through Moses who has greater authority with the Israelites.  She starts to talk to Him in a loud voice, sharing her heart, and God hears her because she had a change of heart.

I could feel with Miriam (the novel may just be a partial true account of what happened to Miriam) because she goes through the similar struggles we all go through.  With the help of her family she is able to overcome and is victorious.

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