Poor Miriam. She Had a Very Bad Week.

I didn’t intend to read the book of Numbers. I’ve spent a lot of time in it, already. I had actually planned to read Deuteronomy, but the pages flipped open and I saw a list of names – and you know what happens to me when I see a list of names, right? I translate. 

So I began in chapter 13, but an underlined phrase from a previous Bible study caught my eye:  

Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days…

Oh, right! That was about Miriam! I had forgotten to pursue that particular passage about a month ago, when I was wondering what Miriam could have done to get in such big trouble with God? You guys may already know the answer, but I didn’t. Uttering a quick prayer that the Holy Spirit be my guide, I began to read.

Verse one set the scene:

1 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman, …  (some translations say Ethiopian)

Already, that seemed redundant. Why was it written twice in the same sentence? God is an excellent author, so it’s most likely written twice for emphasis. It’s supposed to get our attention.

A little more digging revealed that this verse (Num 12:1) is comprised of 12 words, and a total of 51 characters. When I counted twenty-five (grace upon grace) characters from either end, the twenty-sixth letter is Aleph. Why does that matter? Check out this website that details how amazing the letter Aleph is:

Basically, Jesus is the center of this redundant sentence. Jesus is the center of the verse that describes Moses’ gentile bride. 

Also, because I’m such a big fan of the number 17 (complete victory), I noticed that 51 divides pretty nicely by 17. So I counted each 17th letter in the phrase and ran it through a translator. The letters שאח translate to the word “brother.” Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Let’s move on to verse two, where we see what the words of Miriam and Aaron reveal about their hearts.

2…and they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only thorough Moses? Has he not spoke through us also?” And the Lord heard it.

Well, now. It appears both Miriam and Aaron are rejecting both God’s chosen leader, and speaking against his bride. To me, that sounds a lot like rejection of the Messiah, and his church (the bride of Christ), which is a prevailing attitude of today. Let’s keep going.

Verse three tells us more about the character of Moses. In my opinion, Moses was the rock-star of the Bible. I mean, facing off with Pharaoh? Bringing down heavy-duty plagues through God’s power? Parting the Red Sea? Speaking to God face to face? Glowing from being in the presence of God’s glory? I’m just getting started. Moses was absolutely amazing. One would think that he’d have a king-sized, expansive attitude. But no…

3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the men that were on the face of the earth.

Who else have you heard of that had tremendous power and God’s favor, yet remained meek, suffering even to die for our sins? You know who I mean. Let’s keep going; verse four.

4 And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out.

Oh boy. Those words are the Biblical equivalent of your boss asking, “You got a minute?” Or getting called to the principal’s office. It usually doesn’t end in a reward, does it? Let’s see just how much trouble Aaron and Miriam are in for talking smack about the chosen one, and rejecting his choice of bride.

5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward.

Five is the number representing grace in scripture, and I suppose this verse could be considered grace, because God still asked them into his presence at the tent of meeting. He’s God. He has every power at His fingertips, and could easily have struck them down in an instant. He had already demonstrated this ability when a couple of Aaron’s sons had offered “strange fire” as a sacrifice to God in the Tabernacle.

6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. 8 With him I speak clearly and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

The number six represents man, the number seven represents God’s perfection, and the number eight represents a new beginning, FYI. But that’s just the symbolism of the verse numbers. 

Even more significant is God explaining what Moses has been given that is so unique: plain talk with God, face to face. In fact, many interpret Exodus 33:11 as Moses was talking directly to Jesus (prior to his birth) in the tent of meeting. It’s interesting in that verse that Joshua (Yeshua) didn’t depart from the tent when Moses was done meeting with God. Moving along.

9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.

The number nine signifies judgement, and this verse is the perfect example of that. As I looked up the meaning of the word “departed” I noticed that the Septuagint LXX word in Greek was ἀπῆλθεν, which I couldn’t seem to find in Strong’s Hebrew Concordance. So, I used the Google Translate app. After a few trials with the handwriting method of input, I discovered the modern day translation was “it was not.” That sounds a lot more emphatic than “to walk” or "to go" which is what the word used, H1980, translates to.

10 and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.

Another redundant verse. It may as well have a flashing ATTENTION sign over it. First, there are 13 words in this passage, and thirteen represents lawlessness and rebellion. 

The word “removed” in this passage (departed in the KJV) is H5493, which is a very different word than the one in the previous verse. In this case, it means “taken away.” 

There are a total of 54 characters, which means there are two sets of twenty-seven. The first 27th letter from the beginning is mem, with a gematria value of 40 and whose original symbol was water. The second 27th letter from the end is tav, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, whose original character in ancient Hebrew was a cross, and whose gematria value is 400.

Incidentally, both the Old Testament phrases 'mercy seat' and 'the candlestick' occur 27 times. The New Testament contains 27 separate books.

Are you thinking this is just a coincidence? Well, if one counts out every tenth letter and mashes them up to one word, guess what? You’d get these letters:  לרלאמ which means “To Israel.” I almost fell out of my seat on that one.

It keeps getting better, because the number of the verse, 10, represents God’s perfect order, and the law. This was definitely an application of the law. Just a few more verses to go.

11 And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb.”

That this verse is number 11 seems fitting, because eleven is the number of breaking the law, and chaos. Both Aaron and Miriam have surely broken the law and brought chaos upon themselves. It’s interesting that only Miriam is punished, though. There’s more to that, but you have to keep reading. Sorry. 

And in verse 12, Aaron pleads on Miriam’s behalf, although he compares his sister to a baby boy, not a baby girl. If she weren’t forbidden to touch him, being a leper, she probably would have whopped him one. That’s what I would have done to my brother. In verse 13, Moses asks God to heal Miriam. God doesn’t go for it.

14 But the Lord said, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.”

If that’s a picture of the seven year Tribulation, it sounds like Miriam has to remain outside of the camp, and outside of safety. Not good.

15 So Miriam was shut up outside the camp seven days; and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again. 16 After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and encamped in the wilderness of Paran.

Hazeroth means “villages” or “courts” and Paran means “Glorious.” So, one could say that the march to the Glorious, from the Villages/Courts, is paused until Miriam is back into the fold at the end of the seven years. Did I say years? Excuse me. I meant days.

I have to admit, I was puzzled by who Miriam was supposed to represent in this particular set of verses. I put aside my studies for the rest of the day, and then came back to it the next day. It occurred to me that there was still a list of names that I wanted to translate. I know they all have a particular meaning. It’s so enjoyable to enrich the reading of scripture by looking at what each name means.

Miriam is no exception. It’s believed that her name is a variant of the name Merari, derived from the word “mara,” which means rebellious. Variations of the name are translated into “strength” or “bitterness.” In fact, the Sons of Merari are one of the Levite clans that I discussed in a post about the Levitical priests. The application here indicates something very similar to what I came up with, namely, that the Sons of Merari are the ones who have to maintain fidelity through the Tribulation on their own strength. I’m no scholar, but it sure seems that way to me.

But Miriam also means something in Egyptian: Beloved. Pharaoh would have called his own “beloved” and Pharaoh is symbolically Satan. Hmm. I’m not saying that Moses’ sister was actually a beloved of Satan. I just think the instance of the name is significant, given the application to the Tribulation type here.

And Aaron means “bright” or “very high.” Who does Aaron represent? My best guess is that Aaron represents Israel, after they’ve repented and accepted Jesus. Is it limited to only Israel, the people? I don’t know. If you have some thoughts about this, I'd love to hear from you.

Readers, this post is long enough for one reading. I know I tempted you with another name translation of the twelve spies. I’ll post it tomorrow. Here’s a hint: it forms another amazing revelation and it’s not ONE, but TWO lists.

God’s Word is absolutely amazing. Each time I randomly (at least I think it’s randomly) open scripture to read, something remarkable comes up. I hope it blesses you as much as it blesses me.

As always, take everything to God in prayer. I would sure hate to misinterpret what I think I’ve been shown, and lead anyone astray.

Eyes up! The race is almost run.