Miriam, Sister of Moses and Aaron

In the priest-written Hebrew Bible, in Exodus (2:4 and 7-8, and in Numbers 26:59) a female character is presented as Moses’ sister who watched over the baby Moses from the bulrushes after he had been cast adrift upon the waters. The infant was launched upon the waters of life, which was depicted as a means of circumventing the pharaoh’s decree that all first born Hebrew/Israelite males were to be slain. We should note here that Miriam is always associated with the waters of life and is honored as a prophet. The timeframe setting of this priest-written Moses/Aaron/Miriam saga is commonly placed c. 1400-1300 BCE. The character Miriam does not play any significant connective role with Moses until chapter fifteen of Exodus following the Israelite’s passage through the Sea of Reeds (not the Red Sea) in which the Pharaoh’s army had been drowned. The text that actually spotlights Miriam to Moses occurs in the scene where she is briefly depicted as singing the first verse of the victory song, known as the Song of the Sea, which is attributed to Moses (Exodus 15:1-18). In celebration of the godly-instigated carnage she sings, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” This praise of imagined divinely induced destruction is thought to be one of the oldest parts of the story.

Miriam remained pretty much in the background in priest-written holy history until the book of Numbers (12) where she and brother Aaron are portrayed as speaking critically of Moses’ leadership. Their legitimate complaints is portrayed as angering Yahweh, and being divinely peevish the Lord then punished Miriam–but not Aaron–by afflicting her with a skin disease (called tzaraat). (Again the priestly belittlement of women.) Tzaraat has been traditionally and erroneously translated as “leprosy”, however the illness most likely referred to skin cancer or leucoderma, i.e. cutaneous eruptions. The appalling priest-composed book of Leviticus says that a person stricken with tzaraat was tamei and such a condition made them unsuitable to perform the duties as high priest, so Aaron could not have been allowed to be equally cursed.

Strangely, neither of Miriam’s miracle-working brothers, try as they may, could conjure up a cure for their sister. As noted, it would not be permissible for the high priest, Aaron, to be equally punished (Miriam allegedly instigated the critical complaining) thus Aaron is cast as ethically pleading with Moses to intercede with Yahweh in Miriam’s behalf. Miriam is then grudgingly allowed by the Lord to return to unblemished form by following the schema he had set in place for Creation processes: her healing thus began by being placed outside the wilderness camp (within the primordial energy conditions) for seven days (as in the “days” of Creation). This rehabilitation follows the prehistory lessons which taught how creative energies involve to take up intended matter form–that being where passive involvement of energy-substance moves through primal energy dimensions of development toward manifestation as matter.

The name Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, can be traced back to ancient cultures to gain some revealing insight to this story. The name evolved outof the Sumerian/Babylonian name Meriam (spelled with an e), and she was imagined as the chief of the “Turbulentos,” which were the personifications of the turbulent, raw, volatile energies (waters) which flood out of Creation’s source. The association with the turbulent “water” of Creation, as interpreted by the eighth century BCE Yahweh priest authors, clarifies the link of Miriam with the Song of the Sea. When Judaism was being shaped into a monotheistic faith system by priest-authors c 9-8th century BCE, the Sumerian/Babylonian Meriam was reworked as Miriam and presented as the older sister of Moses. Thus the entire priest-written Israelite “history” was structured on prehistory lessons which once taught how energy manifest as matter. And that fabricated Israelite history was composed for the purpose of establishing a sense of tribal elitism. And the imagined “history” also happened to provide a fraudulent aura of legitimacy for the priests to claim privilege and power.

In Exodus 26 Miriam is alluded to as the savior of the Israelites because it was due to her righteousness that the Lord sanctioned a miraculous well, which, as the story goes, accompanied the Israelites during their long years of desert wandering (through the primal planes of energy). Miriam is said to have died when the Israelites were in Kadesh, and Numbers 20:1 states that she was buried there. (The exact site of Kadesh has long been a subject of controversy, which seems peculiar if the Creator wanted all the world to honor his chosen ones.) As a personification of Creation’s primal waters, Miriam could not continue into the advanced stage in which energy attains matter-form (nor could Moses or Aaron). It is claimed that the miraculous well which had accompanied the Israelites through the desert wanderings, then disappeared after she died and water then became scarce. Then, like an afterthought, God is said to have opened a spring (energy as matter) for the Israelites in honor of Miriam, and that spring carried the name Meribah. Miriam is also presented in Islam’s Quran (28:11).

Miriam is remembered in the last book of the Old Testament, Micha 6:24, as having been one of the three leaders of the Exodus saga. In Jewish culture during the Passover Seder, a glass filled with water (waters of life), called a “Cup of Miriam,” is sometimes placed in memory beside the customary “Cup of Elijah,” which is filled with wine (the wine of life).

As noted earlier, the name Miram evolved out of the Sumerian/Babylonian accounts of Creation, wherein the turbulent, raw energies out of the Source were referred to and personified as the Turbulentos. In those prehistory accounts the Chief of the Turbulentos was named Meriam. Consquently, Meriam served as the root source of such names as Miriam, Myrian, Martha, Merti, Meri, Mary, and numerous other names. From this also the Hebrew word march evolved, meaning image, vision, appearance, etc., and so it is through Moses’ sister’s name Miriam that we received our word mirror. This is reflected, may we say, in the aim part of the name Mir-iam, for these letters designated the still waters at the margins of Creation’s waters–the waters in which one may see their own reflection—the indisputable means by which every personal consciousness may perceive I AM a reality of Creation.

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