Summary of passage: God heard Miriam and Aaron grumble against Moses so He called them together for a meeting. The God descended in a cloud and asked Miriam and Aaron to step forward. God told them that Moses is more than a prophet, one whom He speaks face-to-face with. He asks them why they were not afraid to speak against Moses? Then God leaves in anger. God struck Miriam with leprosy. Both Aaron and Moses cry out to God to heal her. God banishes her from camp for seven days. They Israelites finally move on and camp in the Desert of Paran.
10a) He called Moses, Aaron, and Miriam together to the Tent of Meeting. There he came down in a pillar of cloud and summoned Aaron and Miriam forward. He chastised them, saying Moses is more than a prophet; he is someone I speak clearly with face-to-face. Then his anger burned against them and He struck Miriam with leprosy. Both Aaron and Moses pleaded on her behalf and she was banished for seven days outside the camp instead.
b) Personal Question. My answer: His words. How God called Moses a servant of His and is faithful and one whom He speaks with face-to-face clearly.
11a) That Moses is a God’s servant whom He speaks face-to-face with clearly. He sees the form of God and He reveals Himself to Moses in dreams and speaks to him.
b) Faithful in everything. I picture God’s house as the world and those saved who dwell in it. Moses is faithful to God’s people and in whatever God asks of him. Moses is faithful to God in the little things and in the big things. Faithful everywhere–in all aspects of life.
12a) God’s anger burned against her and He struck her with leprosy, later commuted to a seven-day ostracism.
b) Leviticus 13: Ostracize her and isolate her from the camp and label her unclean. Miriam would have to wear torn clothes, let her hair be unkempt, over the lower part of her face and cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” for as long as the disease remains (probably the rest of her life). She would have to live outside of camp. Cleanse himself as well with sacrifices for touching an unclean person. Her life would have been ruined if not for God’s grace!
c) Moses forgave Miriam for her sins and asked God to do so as well.
d) Personal Question. My answer: That God is a merciful God. God can administer penalty for sin harshly or not-so-harshly. God could have ruined Miriam’s life by giving her a skin disease that would have taken her from her people. But God relented but still made sure everyone knew she had sinned against Him. God is good.
Conclusions: I liked Numbers 12. Great lesson for us to curb our jealous nature. Great lessons on God’s powerful, merciful nature. Great example of God’s love for us. Great example of how we are to answer our accusers: with nothing, preferring God to handle them for us.
As we study more and more about Aaron, I get a weaker and weaker view of him. If he hadn’t have been Moses’ brother, I don’t think he would have been chosen to be the High Priest of Israel. Again, God’s infinite mercy and wisdom to choose Aaron. Through him we see our own weaknesses and hopefully learn the lessons God was trying to teach Aaron ourselves.
Map of Hazeroth and Desert of Paran: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/ml/r1/lp-e/13
End Notes: God specifically answers Miriam’s question and answers why Moses is so special: God’s relationship with Moses. It is intimate and personal and direct.
Miriam’s affliction reflects her heart and in the degree. She receives a very severe case of leprosy. Aaron notices first.
Aaron seems to be a follower here again. He is swayed by the Israelites to make a golden calf. He is swayed by his sister to speak against Moses. He’s a very weak leader. Note as soon as he notices his sister, he pleads to Moses to not hold against them their foolish sins. He asks for forgiveness first, then to cure his sister. He is self-interested the entire time.
Aaron is probably thinking, “Oh, no! Am I next? I must do something now to save face or I will suffer a similar fate!!”
Moses speaks now for the first time and for others. He allowed God to handle his accusers. Here we see Moses “faithful in all my house” as he speaks for his slanderers.
God did heal Miriam or she would have never been allowed back inside the camp. Still, it was important for all of Israel to know she spoke against their leader. God is gracious and merciful.