Numbers Chapter 12

Numbers Chapter 12 deals with a rift that develops between Aaron and his wife, Miriam, and Moses.

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The Family Takes Issue with Moses

Aaron and Miriam confronted Moses over the fact that he had married a Cushite woman. The two implied that they knew as much as Moses on matters of religion and culture because God also spoke to them, not just Moses.

The Lord Defends Moses

The Lord overhead the bickering and summoned the three. He appeared in the form of a cloud and let His thoughts and words be heard.

The Lord pointed out He may speak to prophets in visions and dreams, but He speaks to Moses face to face. The Lord then scolded Aaron and Miriam about being defiant against Moses and, in turn, the Lord their God.

God’s Punishment for Insolence

When the Lord left the meeting, He issued a punishment for their insolence. Miriam found that her skin was now suffering from leprosy. Aaron was in shock and begged the Lord to forgive their transgressions and not to allow his wife to die. Moses took pity on them and asked the Lord to cure her.

The Lord did not seem to be willing to cure her, but He did relent under certain conditions.

The Lord’s Conditions

The Lord then said she was to be vanquished from the camp for a period of seven days. This would be in accordance with the punishment a father may levy against a daughter for transgressions. Miriam was then led out of the camp where she was to remain isolated.

The people of the camp could not travel for seven days. After the seven days ended, Miriam was returned to the camp and cured of her condition.

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Numbers 12 (King James Version)

1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.

3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.

5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.

10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.

11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.

12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.

14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.

15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.

16 And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.

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