Strange Women

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Miriam and Aaron complain against Moses

Moses’ first marriage (October 22, 2014 Post) 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 out 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.[1]  At some point Moses brought 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) [2]

Miriam[3] 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”

Tharbis wife of Moses

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“The Second Book of Moses, called Exodus” tells the story of how baby Moses was put into a rush basket and set loose into the Nile River by his sister Miriam to save him from Pharoah’s edict ordering all Hebrew baby boy’s slain. Moses was rescued by Pharoah’s own daughter who raised him as a Prince of Egypt.

Before there was an actual nation of Israel, before the Hebrew tribes even reached Canaan to create their state, even before there were actually Hebrew kings or queens in Israel, Moses, the designated spokesperson for the Hebrew’s new God, YHWH, and “commander” of the escape from Egypt, ran into trouble over his wives. I will discuss why in my next post but the story of how Moses got his first wife sets the stage for the role played by queens, princesses and the daughters of kings throughout the entire span of the nation of Israel…

It was the custom in ancient Middle Eastern nations to settle disputes between two warring factions by the commander/king of one side marrying the daughter of the king/commander of the other side. Flavius Josephus included in his histories of the Jews several examples of how the alliances worked. The  Old Testament/Torah Moses got the Hebrews released from slavery in Egypt, but according to Josephus’ story, before that he was a military commander for the Egyptians. Exactly where Josephus got the story, I don’t know. He had access to documents and lore that does not appear in the Old Testament or Torah.  While Josephus does sometimes  name his source, he was writing many centuries before “footnotes.” In this story Moses was leading Egypt’s war against the Ethiopians and was about to lay siege to their royal city, Saba, when a lucky “accident” happened: Continue reading “Tharbis wife of Moses”