Two Spoke Against Moses, and even Against the Ethiopian Woman, but only One was Punished by a Just God, Why?

"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.

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Praise the Lord, this is a great topic, making me pull out my study books,lol, love it,

I do agree with you on Aaron's personality, evidently he was an excellent speaker, (he spoke for Moses in front of Pharoah), but could be manipulated easily, but he was replaced by Joshua as Moses mouthpiece

Deut. 34:9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.

10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

could this have been a punishment? to him, I'm just asking, have to study some more
I'm glad we agree about Aaron and I am here in my books too! When you get to the end of this post you will read what I now believe was his punishment (that is Aaron's), I found it quite unexpectantly. I am going to look further into the role of Joshua as a mouthpiece for Moses in place of Aaron. That I think would certainly also equate to punishment. I knew something had to be there, good grief!

I am going to put this out, it may be completely off base but, perhaps God was actually understanding of how Miriam felt, speaking to issues of nationalism and not joining themselves to foreign alliances, it is after all in alignment with his will for the Hebrew people. That is to say, she wasn’t wrong for being upset with Moses about this, but the intent in her heart regarding what she might be moved to do next was.

She had an intent in saying that “Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken by us?” The word records next that “the LORD heard it.” Well what did the LORD just hear but what was due to come next from a now angry Miriam? We know that he has knowledge of all things so when the word says that “he heard it” is it not specifically speaking to what this is about to become if left unaddressed by him and not just that he heard their spoken voices?

And did God strike Miriam only in this because between the two, she and Aaron, only she had the ability (even demonstrated desire) to step up and lead when need be? Aaron failed to lead when left on his own. He provided no leadership in the absence of Moses in the making of the golden calf and perhaps most telling, not even leadership in rightly teaching his sons how to show proper fear before the Lord (and this although they too are now called upon to function in office of the priesthood). So Aaron may have disliked the new circumstance of Moses (but we can’t even say that for sure as he may have just been agreeing with Miriam for sake of talking to her) but a complacent Aaron would not see fit to do something about it as a passionate Miriam, having the favor of the people as defacto leader, both would and could.

Did a God who understood and even approved of what was driving her, save Miriam from herself in this instance? When God spoke to all three of them, he addressed issues regarding the hierarchy of office, making it clear that he spoke to Moses in a way unlike how he spoke to them, and God here does not also speak about the attachment of Moses to a foreign alliance.

“If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make it known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 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 the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:6-8)

My take on this is, was Moses correctly modeling such a foreign alliance for us, in that although having taken a foreign wife, he remained loyal to his God never submitting to what she may have had in her own life - that this is why God did not address it as an issue? Isn’t she the same wife who herself circumcised the child (though not understanding but in obedience to God) when God was in strong pursuit of Moses saying “you are a bloody husband to me? (Exodus 4:25) And wasn’t Jethro her father, as recorded in Chapter 18 of Exodus, a man who actually aided Moses in how do best hear cases presented to him from among the people?

I say this to say, that while God did not prove to disapprove of Moses’ choice in a wife, though she be an Ethiopian, he did also have compassion for the passion of a Miriam, although herself not knowing that Moses was still operating within the will of God, and that God chose to punish Miriam only because it was only a Miriam (and not an Aaron) who also now had the inclination, ability, and favor of the people to bring division.

I think this explains the meaning of her name as one based upon rebellion, that God singled her out for punishment but that God at the same time did so in a way not to reject her (as a woman particularly) in leadership but to correct her. To instill in her to recognize (making it known that there was a clear difference in how he spoke to her versus how he chose to speak mouth to mouth with Moses), and for even the people to come to recognize (striking her with leprosy before them and allowing passage of time without Miriam to begin changing their mindset about her) that now is the time for Moses to lead. We even have Miriam dying as soon as Numbers 20:1. I don’t know if there is a connection, but it is interesting that immediately following the death of Miriam, the event of Moses and Aaron disobeying command of God in properly striking the rock before the people occurs. For this they could not now cross in to the promised land.

I think my question about Aaron is answered here. God gave specific instruction to Moses and Aaron about how to strike the rock, and to speak directly unto the rock but an angry Moses speaks directly to the people, calling them rebels, and then striking the rock. This invokes the anger of God, who doesn’t’ just punish a Moses who is actually responsible for his own choice of words but an Aaron also saying:

“Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12

But what part did Aaron have in not sanctifying God in the eyes of the people in this instance? He did nothing, but was God now punishing a still unchanged Aaron for not even as priest, sanctifying God before the people in the instance of the golden calf, in the instance of his own sons, and in the instance of not correcting a now angry Miriam in Numbers 12:2?

I have taken a few twists and turns here, but am just trying to get to the actual meat of this word, let me know what you think.
Brother Watson,

But the Bible is not silent on the issue, when don't the action, either taken or not taken by God in particular situations, themselves not speak?

That one of two was only punished means that God was making a difference and I don't think it is creative to say, or even explore, that the difference was rooted in what was the demonstrated and proven difference between an Aaron and a Miriam. That in my opinion is a valid area to examine.

We know without question that it was Aaron who allowed the people, even led the people, to make the golden calf, we know it was the lives of Aaron's two sons who the Lord saw fit to consume by fire due to their lack of knowledge about something as basic as God's holiness and this despite the fact that Aaron was high priest. We know that in Numbers 12:1-2, it was Aaron as high priest as well who did not correct his erred sister. We know directly from word that a God of purpose struck only one of the two, and that even having been humiliated by God in front of the people, with dreaded disease of leprosy nonetheless, the entire camp including the men and the women did not move until Miriam joined them again. If we are to believe word there is nothing I think, empirical about it.

And when God called them together he did discuss the issue, he discussed what was at the heart of the issue, that was the purpose for the call. The issue was the difference in how he viewed and purposed to use a Moses in leadership as opposed to a Miriam and even an Aaron. God was informing Miriam that it was time for her to respect and to decrease in standing before the people so that now a Moses could rightly increase.

The interesting thing to me also is, in Numbers 12:6, God says, “If there be a prophet among you.” Aaron was recognized in office as a priest but it was Miriam who was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20) and God was only speaking to the two of them, not Moses at this time. My point is, God seems to be recognizing the office of a Miriam here and even equating it on the same level as that of a prophet by saying, “If there be a prophet among you” while speaking even only to she and Aaron the known high priest and she the prophetess.
Brother Watson,

I am sorry you have chosen to leave the discussion but this is just a conversation in word. I don't present that I have all of the answers, I am just saying what I think, and then you say what you think. Otherwise it is no longer a true conversation.

I hope you will return.
It appears that Joshua was able to do the job of TWO men (Aaron and Moses). I wonder who will replace us in the areas where we tell God we are not fit to do His work that He has assigned us to do? Is there a Joshua around us?
The false teacher Dawn Davidson is back !!!!!

Indeed she wondered:

“Two Spoke Against Moses, and even Against the Ethiopian Woman, but only One was Punished by a Just God, Why?”

To understand very well the false teaching above, one must at first consult the study of sister Dawn Davidson’s “GARDEN STORY DOCTRINE”

Sister Dawn Davidson, remember, one day you’ve said this:

“Yet in Genesis 3:12 what does Adam confess? He confesses nothing worth having. All he really does is lodge accusation in the face of God and says nothing about what was really true in that garden according to his actions. And this why Adam was punished and a fully confessed Eve was not. By the way, God accepted the confession of Eve which means, she was but only deceived in the garden, the lie regarding whether or not the fruit could be both touched and eaten could not have come therefore from her. It originated with a selfish, power-hungry Adam…”

Sister, in your message above you assert that Miriam was a LEADER endowed with an heavier RESPONSIBILITY simply because she has been PUNISHED.

As for Aron , he was WEAK because he has not been punished.

Sister we also notice that ADAM WAS PUNISHED.

So if the PUNISHMENT is the clue of the responsibility bestowed into someone, why do you refuse to admit that ADAM WAS THE LEADER in the Eden Garden?

The Bible declares:

« For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables ».

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Dear sister, with all due respect, I would like to tell you that you have turned away your ears from the truth, and you have been turned unto fables!


Bro. Germain
Brother Germain: You have posted the same reply in two different places within the same conversation, as well as in another much earlier and even unrelated conversation, so I will at least here re-post what I answered in the other place you posted within this conversation.

Hello Bro. Germain,

You said:
Sister, in your message above you assert that Miriam was a LEADER endowed with an heavier RESPONSIBILITY simply because she has been PUNISHED.

You cannot be more incorrect, that is not the basis of this conversation at all, it is not even an assertion posted by anyone. My question is, if two spoke against Moses, why then was only one punished, particularly given that the one not punished was as high priest who even failed to rebuke a Miriam.

As for what you quote from another even earlier discussion of mine regarding the garden (which this again is not) I stand by it. As I said to Bro. Watson, I am still growing and like anyone else there are at times things I have said that I would wish to revise, but this is not one of them and I have never spoken (or it has never been my intent) without regard to the holiness of God first and the fully applied Hebrew of the garden word. Now, I do at times struggle with my tone, that would be a fair outward criticism of me to make, but it is a very difficult thing not to speak as even God is giving it.

And, on the advice of Higher Counsel, I will restrain from addressing you in like manner as you have chosen to speak to me but I am more than happy to discuss the issues at hand.
Brother Watson,

Thank you for the post. I certainly agree that she lead in the offense, but (although no longer I think) at the time questioned, given the greater office of an Aaron, why he was not stricken even more so (based too as it comes to mind) as was an Adam and not an Eve, an Adam who the pulpit tradition says received the greater level of punishment between the two, only due to occuping the greater office as he alone was designed by God. Speaking to issues as God judges leadership, how can both be right? It is just as also, if my pastor leads me as in udderling to sin, the greater fault is on the pastor not me. I will bear responsibility as well certainly, but the greater indignation of God would be against one as teacher, functioning in the greater office. But that is not what we seem to have here with Miriam.

I am not sure how you are connecting Miriam to the wife of Moses and how the wife of Moses (Zipporah was her name) functioned. To my knowledge Zipporah in no way is ever involved in leadership or was a prophetess. I agree with Sister Fugett in stating that it was more for patriotic reasons then anything else. Word does not, as I see, record or even suggest that issues of jealously had anything to do with it.

Just a question, but was Aaron even right in pleading with Moses to not lay the sin upon them? Should he have addressed this to God, he even as High priest? Moses didn’t say one word until Numbers 12:13 (crying out for her to be healed), so it was God who determined (as he always does) where blame for sin actually was. And it was God who Aaron should have known to attribute this to and not Moses.

I don’t know if Aaron fostered her attitude but agree that it was his role as high priest to seek stopping her in it. But he did not, he just went along. I honestly don’t think God would have stricken Aaron now because Aaron had a role in leadership that God, for this time with Moses, wanted him there to fulfill. Note, punishment of death and therefore end in ministry for both occurs at the same time and under circumstances when Aaron actually in this instance was not wrong (Numbers 20:2-12). But I believe Aaron is punished here as well with death because his continued existence, after participating with the golden calf (for which many others died) particularly was only due to the personal need of a Moses who was his brother. God did not take Aaron from Moses, perhaps because also, initially Moses proved great lack in pursuing the will of God without someone to speak for him (remember how afraid he was?), that person as led by God, was Aaron (and Aaron was clearly a mixed bag for him). But it was Moses who nevertheless did not trust in God enough to go forward without someone. Yet, in the end, look at what Moses got. How much better would it have been even for a Moses, (but Aaron too who greatly lacked in many ways (not to mention the two now dead sons of Aaron)), had he only just trusted God for himself instead?
Prophetess Laura,

Review the post and you will see that we are not contesting that Miriam (and even Aaron) committed offense, but why was Miriam alone stricken with leprosy and not also an Aaron who even as high priest should have been held to a greater level of discipline and should have even corrected Miriam on the spot.

But like I suggested, review the posts and then you will catch up on all that has been said.
This is a very interesting topic, very note worthy I must add. I will have to chew on this a bit and perhaps check in on the replies. Good post Sister Davidson.
Thank you Min. Jackson and I look forward to reading your upcoming input! I am learning a great deal in this process and certainly a great deal more about this word.
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?

What is traditionally taught? Is it that if Aaron had contracted leprosy, he would have been barred from serving as high priest from then on? God told Moses: "Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God." [Lev. 21:17] Miriam's humiliation did not exclude her from the office of prophetess, but suffering the same punishment would have meant Aaron could no longer be high priest.


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