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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Numbers 12

Verses 1-16

Miriam and Aaron’s jealousy (12:1-16)

Apparently Moses’ first wife had died and he had remarried. His new wife was not an Israelite, and Miriam and Aaron used this as an excuse to criticize him. The real reason for their attack, however, was their jealousy of Moses’ status as supreme leader of Israel. Moses, being a humble man, did not defend himself, because he knew that God was the only true judge; and God’s judgment was that although Aaron, Miriam and the seventy had a part in the leadership of Israel, Moses’ position was unique. God spoke with him directly and entrusted him with supreme authority over his people (12:1-8).

Miriam apparently had taken the lead against Moses and so was the more severely punished, though Aaron shared her shame and sorrow. Moses’ humble spirit was again shown when he asked God to forgive Miriam. God did, but just as a daughter who had been publicly rebuked by her father had to spend seven days in shame, so did Miriam. She had been rebuked by God with leprosy and, though now cleansed, she still had to spend seven days in isolation the same as other cleansed lepers (9-16; cf. Leviticus 14:8).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Numbers 12". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.