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Miriam (Hebrew: מרים, Miryām; Greek: Μαριαμ, Mariām; Latin: Maria; Arabic: ميريام, Maryām; "Name means::beloved, gift of God, defiant") (ca. Born::2422 AMDied::1 Abib 2552 AM[1]) was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed, the elder sister of Moses and Aaron, a prophetess, and a rebel who required an object lesson from God.

Life and Family

The Bible gives no specific date of her birth. But the Bible says that she died in the first month of the fortieth year of the wandering of Israel in the wilderness.

"Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there." - Numbers 20:1

James Ussher estimates her life span at life span::130 years, similar to those of her father Amram ({{#show: Amram|?Life span#years}}) and Kohath ({{#show: Kohath|?Life span#years}}). The fortieth year after the Exodus of Israel was 2552 AM. If Ussher's estimate for Miriam's life span is accurate, then Miriam was born in 2422 AM.

She was thus eleven years old when Moses was born. Her parents hid Moses for three months, and then cast him adrift in a wicker basket coated with tar and pitch. Miriam followed the basket until the current carried it to the private bathing beach of the daughter of the Pharaoh. The princess took the child out of the basket and asked whether anyone could find a nurse for it. Miriam stepped forward and volunteered to find one. The princess consented, and Miriam arranged for her mother Jochebed to nurse Moses.


On {{#show:Exodus of Israel|?Date}}, Miriam left Egypt, together with all the descendants of Israel, never to return. Six days later, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, on a dry seabed after Moses had raised his rod and parted the waters. After the Israelites had crossed, the Egyptian army moved onto the dry seabed in hot pursuit. Moses raised his rod a second time, and the waters of the Red Sea closed on the Egyptians and drowned them to the last man.

In honor of this magnificent miracle, Miriam led the women in song. (Exodus 15:20-21 )


In the second year after the Exodus, in the fourth month, Moses married a second wife, specifically an Ethiopian. Miriam and Aaron murmured in resentment against Moses, not merely on this account but also because they felt that Moses was claiming too much credit for speaking on behalf of God. In fact, Moses never showed any presumption, as the Bible says. In response, God reminded Miriam and Aaron sharply that an ordinary prophet might receive a dream or vision from God, but God spoke to Moses face to face and in plain language. Then God afflicted Miriam with leprosy for seven days and was placed under quarantine. Seven days later, she was cleansed and could come back to camp, and on that day the Israelites struck camp and moved on. (Numbers 12 )


Miriam died near Kadesh, in the fortieth year after the Exodus, shortly before the conquest of Heshbon.



See Also

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  1. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, pghh. 166, 266