The Rebellion Of Aaron And Miriam
The Rebellion Of Aaron And Miriam
To make sure everyone understands what is going on here, Aaron was Moses brother and Miriam was his sister. Together, the three had been serving as leaders of the Israelites in their progression from Egypt toward the Promised Land. But today’s lesson serves as a sad chapter in the history of Israel. Although they were Moses’ brother and sister, they spoke against him for marrying an Ethiopian woman. At least that was their pretext. But the real reason seems to be given in verse 2: they resented Moses’ leadership and wanted to share it—they were jealous. At this time there was no law against marrying an Ethiopian, though when they came to the land, the Israelites were forbidden to marry a non-Jew.
At this point, Moses did not do what most of us would have done. He did not try to vindicate himself. Rather, he trusted God, as it was God that had placed him in this position of leadership. Here his family, the other leaders, and ultimately all of Israel disputed his authority. But God would not have that and His judgment fell upon those that took up a stance against him. When God’s judgment fell on them, Moses did not gloat, but instead, interceded for them. Moses was quite a humble man, in fact more humble than all men that were on the face of the earth. The fact that he wrote this about himself does not deny his humility; rather it illustrates it even further. Moses simply wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit.
So, in this text we see that God summoned Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, rebuked Miriam and Aaron, and reminded them that Moses held a position of nearness to God that no other prophet ever held. He might speak to others indirectly, by visions and dreams, but He spoke to Moses directly, face to face. The form of the Lord means some manifestation or visible representation. Although Miriam herself was a prophetess, the Lord made clear the difference between His relationship with Moses and other prophets. The only other thing recorded about Miriam after this incident is her death.
The Lord God was angry with them that He departed. As punishment for her rebellion, Miriam was smitten with leprosy. Since Aaron was not punished, some suggest that Miriam was the ringleader. They point out that the verb in verse 1 is feminine singular. Others believe that Aaron’s punishment was to see his sister become a leper. Aaron was the high priest, and he would have been unable to function on behalf of the people if he had been made leprous. His position might have saved him from the humiliation that Miriam had to go through.
Aaron confessed his sin to Moses and asked that Miriam should not be “like a stillborn child, which comes into the world half decomposed.” In response to Moses’ intercession, God healed Miriam of the leprosy but insisted that she should go through the usual seven-day period for the cleansing of a leper. The Lord reminded Moses that she would have been barred from the camp as unclean if her father had but spit in her face.
As I close, let me say that we learn that we should not take a stand against those that God has anointed for leadership. So doing brings bad results. It angers God greatly when we do that. Take heed lest you fall in that direction.