Lessons from Miriam in Parshat Beshalach

Lessons from Miriam

In Parsha Beshalach (EXODUS 13:17-17:16), we learned about an important female hero, Miriam.

According to Tanach, Miriam played a key role in saving her baby brother Moshe when his life was in danger.  

“But when she [Yochebed] could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket, daubed it with bitumen and pitch, and putting the child in it, placed it among the reeds on the bank of the Nile. His sister stationed herself at a distance to find out what would happen to him…. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”” Ex. 2:1-25 

Miriam was a child herself, and the fact that she risked her own life and safety to save her brother from the Nile and establish a relationship with Pharoah’s that ensured his continued relationship with his family showed great courage, compassion and faith.  The brilliance and success of her first divine mission leads us to conclude that Elohim was definitely with Miriam to lead and guide her actions and words. 

In fact, Miriam is the first in Tanakh to be referred to as a Prophetess (Ex. 15.20), a servant, shepherd or mouthpiece of YHWH, which says she was a leader of the nation of Israel - both men and women.  Micah 6.3 makes it clear that Miriam was indeed sent by YHWH along with Moshe and Aharon to lead the people during their most critical point in history.

I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. Micah 6:4

In Exodus 15.20-21 we are blessed with the song of Miriam, which shows how she galvanized the women with timbrels and dance to give thanks and praise to YHWH for the great works He performed at the Red Sea.  

Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:  “Sing to YHWH, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”  Ex. 15.20-21

To even bring instruments on the journey shows the praise and worship was a cultural practice and Miriam was probably a regular praise and worship leader during the captivity, which continued at the exodus.   Praise during persecution and in the journey to freedom showed exceptional faith and trust in Elohim’s power and a complete dedication to His service.

Oral tradition or Talmud writes more about this important heroine.  Namely, saying that Miriam encouraged her father Amram to continue to procreate despite the genocidal attacks of Pharoah because a deliverer was to be born through his line. 

All in all, Miriam’s life stands as a testimony to us all to: 

  • Trust in YHWH even in the darkest hour 
  • Women can be national leaders and prophets, visited and used by Yah to do great salvitic works.  Encourage and respect what Yah is doing, whether male or female
  • Praise and worship is a powerful and necessary cultural practice, especially during times of great hardship and persecution.  Strive to be a praise and worship leader like Miriam or a praise singer, musician, dancer.

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Thank you and Yah bless!  Makedah

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