Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 30th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 12

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-16

Chapter 12

Now in chapter twelve, Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron began to murmur against Moses. He had taken an Ethiopian wife, which means that she was probably black-skinned. And they began to find fault and criticize Moses for this, his own sister and brother.

And they said, Has the LORD only spoken unto Moses? hath he not spoken also unto us? ( Numbers 12:2 )

Don't we have just as much right to speak the word of the Lord to these people as Moses has and all?

And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and Aaron, and unto Miriam: and he said, Come the three of you unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And the three came out. 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. And he said, Hear now my word: 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 ( Numbers 12:4-6 ).

"God, who had sundry times and in diverse manner spake to the father's by the prophets" ( Hebrews 1:1 ). And God spoke to the prophets, as a rule, by visions or by dreams. But God said concerning Moses,

My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and not in the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? ( Numbers 12:7-8 )

Now here they were speaking against the man that God had anointed and the man that God had called: God's servant. Now God said, "Look with prophets, if a man is a prophet I usually speak by visions or dreams, in similitudes, in dark sayings, in forms that oftentimes need interpreting, but with Moses, plainly face to face, apparent, direct speaking with Moses. "And inasmuch I have spoken to Moses this way, how is it that you are not fearful to speak against him?" In other words, they should have respected his position as God's servant and the anointing of God that was upon his life.

One thing about David is that he had a high respect for the anointing of God that had been upon Saul. Even after the anointing, and thus, saw that fact that he had once been anointed, David wouldn't touch him. He had a high regard and respect for the anointing of God. And I think that God appreciates our having a high respect for his anointing.

And so because of the sin of Miriam and Aaron, they were smitten with leprosy.

Miriam became leprous, white as snow: Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 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. Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother's womb. And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee ( Numbers 12:10-13 ).

So his sister became leprous. Aaron, of course, the high priest recognized it immediately, pleaded with Moses and Moses in turn pleaded with God: "Oh God heal her, I beseech thee."

And the LORD said unto Moses, under the law if her father had spit in her face, she'd be unclean for seven days, so should she not, because of what she has done, be unclean for at least seven days? let her go out of the camp and in seven days, [go through the purifying,] and she can come back in ( Numbers 12:14 ).

And so Miriam was ostracized from the camp for seven days. And while the period of this ostracizing was taking place they did not move. They stayed in that same area there at Hazeroth.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Numbers 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/numbers-12.html. 2014.
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