Luke began his birth story for Mary with a birth story for “Elizabeth daughter of Aaron” meaning a daughter of a High Priestly House if not the High Priest himself.
In the days of Herod king of Judaea, there was a priest named Zacharias of the priestly class of Abijah; his wife was of the daughters of Aaron and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless… Luke 1:5-6.
To get a little background, before we look at Luke’s birth story for Elizabeth, it would be helpful to note this passage from Josephus on John Hyrcanus the Hasmonean High Priest:
Now a very surprising thing is relatedof this high priest (John) Hyrcanus, how God came to discourse with him: for they say that…he was alone in the temple, as high priest, offering incense, and heard a voice (make a prophecy)… And this he openly declared before all the multitude on his coming out of the temple; and it accordingly proved true…He was esteemed by God worthy of the three privileges—the government of his nation, the dignity of the high priesthood, and prophecy… (Antiquities of the Jews XIII.X.3, 7)
Moses’ first marriage to Tharbis showed how a young daughter of a king was used to make a marriage alliance with the enemy. His second marriage illustrates something that might seem a bit off course but is necessary to understanding a crucial split in the budding Hebrew nation.
When Moses killed an Egyptian and fled the country, he made an alliance with a Midianite Priest. The priest gave Moses one of his daughters in a friendly pact and she had two sons before Moses went back to lead the Hebrew exodus out of Egypt because of a breakthrough spiritual encounter with YHWY. Moses became the original Law Giver with his Ten Commandments, but it wasn’t long before his brother Aaron was made the first High Priest by YHWY and the head of the Levite Priests who wrote the rest of the Laws in the five “Books of Moses” in the Old Testament/Torah.  At some point Moses brought his wife Zipporah and/or just her two grown sons into the Hebrew camp.
Unfortunately, by that time the priests had made new laws about marrying foreign woman and his sister Miriam and brother Aaron immediately called Moses on it.
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman …. (Numbers 12)
Miriam  is named first in the challenge. She is also the first Mariamne/Mary in Josephus’ index and the namesake for all the others, but she was the loser when she confronted Moses. Moses remained as Yahweh’s only face to face spokesperson and Aaron remained the High Priest, though henceforth Yahweh would only speak to him in dreams and visions. It was Miriam the Prophetess, the woman of the triumvirate, rather typically, that was cast out, given leprosy, and died. (Exodus 2:21–22) No real pronouncement was made by Yahweh about the foreign wife of Moses, the cause of the conflict. You have to piece it together. Continue reading “Strange Women”→