Numbers Chapter 12

At this point, the Israelites have journeyed from Egypt to the wilderness of Sinai, and on to the wilderness of Paran, specifically a place called Hazeroth. They have experienced difficult trials and witnessed great miracles as well. There are some who have been ungrateful and rebellious to the Lord’s commandments and were destroyed for it. The Lord continues to lead them through His prophet, Moses. This chapter begins:

1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
2 And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it.
3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
4 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.
5 And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
8 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?
9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed.
10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.
11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.
12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.
13 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.

Miriam and Aaron were the siblings of Moses. They had been apart for most of their lives, and during that time, Moses had married Jethro’s daughter. I guess she was an Ethiopian or a Cushite. Miriam and Aaron began to complain to Moses about his marriage, probably because she was not an Israelite woman, and they had been expected to marry Israelites in the covenant. They felt that they too, could be the prophets of the Lord. Moses was described here as meek above all others on the face of the earth. I am guessing that he did not argue with them, but took their complaints freely. When the Lord heard their complaints, he commanded the three of them to go to the tabernacle of the congregation. The Lord appeared in a cloud, and called Miriam and Aaron forth. The Lord taught them that a prophet among them would be made known by a personal vision where the Lord would speak to him. I am not sure if he just meant that this is what he would do if either of them were a prophet, or that this is what he would do in general. Moses, however, would have the privilege of speaking with the Lord face to face, because of his faithfulness. I think the Lord was telling them, that because of his faith and calling, Moses was the Lord’s prophet and worthy to speak face to face with Him. They were not to complain against him, because he was called of the Lord. Moses would see the similitude of the Lord. The Lord would The Lord then left them, and Miriam was left leprous. Aaron pleaded with Moses, that the Lord would forgive them for their sin, and would remove the leprosy from her. Moses turned to the Lord and pleaded for her healing.

14 And the Lord said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.
15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.
16 And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.

The Lord told Moses that she would be leprous for seven days and then she would be able to return and be received again. She was sent out of the camp for those seven days, and since the cloud had been removed, the people continued their journey until she was brought back in. The journey took them from the place called Hazeroth, further into the wilderness of Paran. In Numbers 33, it says the next camp was in a place called Rithmah.

The Lord will speak to those whom he chooses. They are not perfect individuals, but they are those who have been called to receive His word. Moses was not unholy for having married someone other than an Israelite, because of his personal situation and experiences. Moses was being sanctified as he led the people of Israel. Our prophets today are mortals with imperfections, who may not have lived their entire lives according to the ways of the Lord. They are, however, worthy of the spirit today, and called to lead and guide us. We should not suppose that we could do better than they, just as Miriam and Aaron should not have suggested in their day. We each are called to our own things in life and we would do best to strive to magnify those callings, whatever they may be. I have not always understood this principle, and have struggled at times to accept the calls the Lord has extended to me. The natural man has gotten the better of me a time or two with regard to my callings and the callings of others. The lessons I have learned from this, have been painful, but lasting. I am very grateful for the way in which the Lord extends calls to us. I know that if we are in the right spirit, we will recognize the Lord has a plan and we are blessed when we walk along with Him instead of fighting against Him.

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