"And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it." (Numbers 12:1-2
So then, given what takes place between both Miriam and Aaron, why was only Miriam stricken with leprosy when it was both Aaron and Miriam who spoke against Moses? Is God not just?
I know the tradition of its teaching, but I believe there is something we completely miss about this word. Yes, Miriam is listed first in Numbers 12:1 but it was an Aaron who held the greater office, having even the greater level of responsibility/authority (or at least recognized as so). This, though I doubt contested, is even confirmed in the order they were called before the LORD after the time of the offense:
"And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out." (Numbers 12:4)
But was Miriam stricken and not Aaron because the people were still following her over Moses, yet this was not in alignment with what was the will of God in the deliverence of his people? It was an assignment as we know for Moses. Yes she was a bridge between the people she had always known and a Moses who had not, but it was not a permanent assignment for her, it was transitional. Yet she did nevertheless serve as a defacto leader of the people in addition to herself (as a watchful big sister in service to the Lord) having earlier even looked over a baby Moses. The entire camp, as word records, even refused to move until she was able to rejoin it.
"And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days; and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again. (Numbers 12:15)
A weak Aaron of course is out of the question, but did God do this in order that the people might better begin to transition (in her physical absence and outward state of shame) from looking to a Miriam for leadership and not a Moses? And was the stigma of her punishment (leprosy) so severe because perception and preference of her as a leader among the people, both the male and the female, was just that strong and needed to be broken even by movement of God? (And yet despite this they, both men and women, still waited for her).
Again, putting aside how it is traditionally taught, if this is not true, given that she alone and not also Aaron was punished, how can we otherwise call it a just action by God?
Note too that God did not even instruct Moses to leave Miriam behind. That He purposed this to bring a change in the leadership but it was not, despite as it appeared on the surface, retribution taken against Miram by God.