Numbers 12 – Reading Note

  • God insinuated that he usually spoke to prophets in riddles rather than clearly (why?). The fact that he did speak to Moses clearly then, was reason to regard him as separate and respect him (12:8).
  • Both Aaron and Miriam had spoken against Moses, God reprimanded both of them but only Miriam was punished with leprosy, and it was Aaron who begged Moses to forgive them and help her.

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I’m Tracy

3 thoughts on “Numbers 12 – Reading Note”

  1. Jesus usually spoke in riddles, too (we call them parables).
    I’ve been wondering myself why Aaron seems to get a pass. You would expect he would have been killed for the Golden Calf alone. We don’t have many clues to his character, but we know he was a softy for the people, he was brave enough to be Moses’ mouthpiece before Pharaoh, he was careful to please God when his two oldest sons died, but he went along with Miriam here.
    Maybe he was treated gently because his faults were in being too compliant, so God knew he would be compliant with Him too?

    1. That’s an interesting idea. I know someone who has a different take on it. He says that,

      “Miriam is the PRINCIPAL instigator of the attack on Moses. The Hebrew is quite clear, although English renderings do not reflect this, typically. For example, in verse 1, the actual verb form is “SHE spoke against…”–a 3fsg form. And, her name is placed BEFORE Aaron’s in the attack about the Cushite wife; but Aaron’s is put first in the attack on Moses’ uniqueness (4-5). [They BOTH were not included in the “sharing of the spirit” event in Num 11.16f, and commentators suggest that this was what triggered their status-greedy attack.]
      The passage is filled with irony, and this forms the nature of the punishments on Miriam and Aaron. Miriam is the initial attacker about Moses’ ‘black wife’ (i.e. the Cushite)–so God turns her ‘white’ with a skin disease! Aaron is the initial attacker about Moses having a unique relationship with YHWH–so God makes Aaron have to ask Moses to intercede to YHWH for them! (see Ashley in NICOT, s.v.).
      Aaron, as the high priest, was not allowed to become ritually unclean for ANY reason, so it is entirely reasonable that his “humbling” come from a different direction–the need to ask Moses to talk to YHWH for him!”

      I thought that was an interesting point too.

      And I definitely agree. If I were God, Aaron would have been killed for the golden calf episode but God probably handled the situation better than I would.

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