Bible Review 10:3, June 1994

Miriam’s Challenge

Why was Miriam severely punished for challenging Moses’ authority while Aaron got off scot-free? There is no way to avoid the fact that the story presupposes a patriarchal society.

By Bernhard W. Anderson

Bible Review

The story in Numbers 12 is one of the most troublesome in Scripture. It is unlikely to be read in a worship service with a concluding announcement, “The word of the Lord”; if it were, many worshipers would murmur or perhaps storm out in protest.

The brief story, involving Moses, Aaron and Miriam, portrays an episode that occurred on Israel’s wilderness itinerary, at a place called Hazeroth. It falls into the following parts:

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