One woman’s character in history has caused her name to be placed in a high, glorious rank within Christianity. She was one of the biblical characters relevant to the Old Testament. But overcome with jealousy, she wrote against her blood brother and even against the Lord. So, was Miriam married?
According to Biblical accounts, Miriam was never married. Instead, she dedicated her life to God as a celibate. And she believed that everyone should do as she did. Miriam might have avoided God’s judgment if she had paused to examine her inner motives before criticizing Moses in his choice of wife. After the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, Miriam died of natural causes and was buried at Kadesh in the Desert of Zin.
Through Aaron’s prayers to Moses and then Moses to God, Miriam saved death from the dreaded disease. Still, she had to be locked outside the camp for seven days until she was cured.
Who did Moses’ sister marry?
Even Jesus called people to follow him, regardless of their marital status. In heaven, married people will no longer have a special relationship. Otherwise, Jesus would have had to agree with the Sadducees on the issue raised.
According to the Apocrypha and the Bible, Moses’ sister Miriam did not marry anyone. She lived in celibacy; later, Miriam’s position as a prophetess went to her head. She and Aaron, Moses’ brother, complained about Moses’ wife, Cushite, and rebelled against their brother. However, Miriam’s real problem was jealousy.
Miriam first appears in the Bible in Exodus 2:4, as she watches her baby brother float down the Nile River in a covered basket with his step so he will escape Pharaoh’s order to kill all the Jewish infants. Miriam boldly approached Pharaoh’s daughter, who had found the baby, and offered it to her mother. Moses’ mother is a nurse for Moses.
Biography of Miriam
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Biblical places from the times of Miriam and Moses
Was Miriam married to Caleb?
Miriam was not married. She supported her brothers Moses and Aaron during their arduous journey into the desert. Miriam’s desire for personal glory led her to question God. Miriam rebelled not only against the authority of Moses but also against God. If Moses had not been a special friend of God, Miriam would have died.
Some researchers have conducted various studies on the Apocrypha about Miriam’s life, and it turns out that Miriam was not married to Caleb. Miriam served as a celibate prophet of God, speaking his word as directed.
She was also a unifying force among the cantankerous Jewish people. Miriam was the first of many musical women in the Bible. And the one who prepared the plan in her youth to place Moses in a basket. So Miriam was not a married woman.
Miriam and Moses’ relationship
Miriam was from Goshen, the Jewish settlement in Egypt. About the honest Moses’ relationship with Moses’ sister Miriam is mentioned in:
- Exodus 15: 20-21
- Numbers 12: 1-15, 20: 1, 26: 59
- Deuteronomy 24: 9
- 1 Chronicle 6: 3
- Micah 6: 4
According to the Bible, at first, Miriam’s relationship with Moses was good, but over time Miriam became jealous of Moses, and God punished her with leprosy. Mariam spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman Moses had taken, for he had taken an Ethiopian woman. They said, “Has the Lord been gracious to Moses alone? Has He not also graced us?” The Lord heard. And suddenly, the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Mariam, Go out, you Catholics, to the tent of meeting. And they went out to the tent of the meeting.
Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. Still, the three characters are not considered brothers until the post-Babylonian period, specifically in the genealogy of Numbers, coming from priestly circles and relatedly in Chronicles. A book was written around 400 B.C. Jochebed gave birth to Aaron and Moses, but Miriam does not mention it. This is explained by the fact that Miriam was not put in contact with Moses and Aaron until a second time.
Key Verse related to Miriam
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘If her father had spat in her face, would she not have been ashamed seven days?’ Let her be buried outside the camp for seven days; after that, she shall come in.” And they buried Mariam outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not go out until they had cleansed Mariam. And after these things, the people went out from Ashiroth and encamped in the wilderness of Pharan.”
At what age did Miriam die?
For her pride, Miriam was miscued with leprosy that she became white as snow, consumed like a stillborn child. The fact that Aaron was not punished either does not denote misogyny but reflects that the original tradition was only about Miriam’s rebellion. Miriam was delivered from terrible leprosy, it is true. She is reported to have died in the oasis of Kadesh, where she was buried.
According to reliable sources, Miriam died at the age of 126. Miriam was a prominent figure in early Israel’s history, whose enormous significance stems from the fact that later tradition placed her alongside Moses as a prophetess and Aaron, making her their sister. Yahweh reminds Israel that he sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam as guides to the chosen people in the exodus from Egypt.
During her missionary journey, Miriam is already assigned a leadership role for Israel. However, she appears in this role only once, when, near the Sea of Galilee, she precedes the women in inviting them to sing in praise of Yahweh.
Where in the Bible did Miriam get leprosy?
Leprosy is a contagious disease, the cause of which medicine does not know today nor the cure. It’s a kind of living rot for years—one of the worst death sentences. Leprosy is a kind of biblical punishment. From here, from Holy Scripture, we can get some explanation. They got the leprosy penalty: the sister of Moses, right from God, because envy had festered in her heart, as only Moses speaks to God. For her behavior, Mariam, the woman who was never married, became white as the snow of leprosy.
The episode where Miriam gets leprosy is mentioned in the Book of Numbers, chapter 12.
It is clear from the Holy Scriptures that God punished even leprosy to keep the people from committing sins. So leprosy and every leprosy, followed by its obsessions, shows that the sin of the soul entails the punishment of the body but brings to the soul humility and health of the mind.
Sickness appears first in the psyche. This is a proposition of modern medicine. We also can see that the Scriptures supplement what medicine says with explanations. It is a withdrawal of God from sustaining man’s health and perhaps even expulsing Him.
- Miriam and Moses rebelled against Moses, supposedly because he had married an Ethiopian woman, but the reality was that they were envious of his position. Divine judgment came upon Miriam, and she became a leper.
- Also, she was Amram and Jochebed’s daughter and Aaron and Moses’s sister. There is a consensus that she is the one who watched baby Moses floating in the papyrus boat and recommended her mother to be his nurse. But, she held the quality she had of leading the women’s songs, dances, and hymns of praise when they celebrated the crossing of the Red Sea.
- The Bible doesn’t mention her married life, but some rabbinic traditions say she was Caleb’s wife and Hur’s mother.
So, Miriam, the prophetess, was never married. The Israelites, with songs of thanksgiving to God, came to Mera, where, the bitterness of the waters turning into sweetness, they came to Elim. Then, Moishe and the sons of Israel this song to God, and they said: Let us sing unto the Lord, that they have magnified themselves, and have cast horse and rider into the sea.
If you enjoyed reading our article, play the following Quiz to test your biblical knowledge about Miriam and her relationship with Moses.
Quizlet about Miriam and her brother, Moses
Explanation of biblical words
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- Reiss, M. (2010). Miriam rediscovered. Jewish Bible Quarterly, 38(3).
- Estrada, N. P. (1999). PRAISE FOR PROMISES FULFILLED: A Study on the Significance of the Anna the Prophetess Pericope. Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, 2, 5-18.
- Willmington, H. (2018). A Biographical Study of Miriam.
- Willmington, H. (2017). An Elderly Widow (Anna).
- Schoenberg, A., Reich, G., Devos, L., & Gielen, M. (1975). Moses and Aaron. Columbia.