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  #1  
Old Aug 29, '12, 1:51 pm
Robert Sock Robert Sock is online now
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Default Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

I’ve been reading the biblical story where Miriam speaks ill about her brother Moses, and her punishment seems completely disproportionate to her “crime.” She is afflicted with leprosy and sent out of the camp for seven full days. All this for expressing concern about her brother’s marriage?

I have always considered Miriam an example of strength and piety. Without her, Moses would never have been born, and surely would not have survived in the Nile. The way I see it, she spoke to Aaron only out of concern for her brother and his wife, Tzipporah. For this she was punished so harshly?

Why are some people made to carry very heavy crosses in their following a 'righteous' life?
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  #2  
Old Aug 29, '12, 2:25 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Do you mean Numbers 12?
and they said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?" And the LORD heard it. (Numbers 12:2)
The woman whom Moses married wasn't really their concern. That was just an excuse. She and Aaron wanted a peice of the action, wanted to share in Moses' power, and in questioning Moses' authority, they question the wisdom of God who appointed Moses.

Aaron gets repaid for his power-play against Moses later on in Numbers 16 when the tables are turned on him. Remember that Aaron and his sons were priests, and that the rest of the Levites served the tabernacle, tent of meeting, and served the needs of the priests. In Numbers 16, two hundred fifty non-priest Levites rise up and question God's choice of Aaron and his sons to be priests.
...and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, "You have gone too far! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?" (Numbers 16:3)
This wasn't just a power play against Aaron, but in wanting to become priests, the people were rejecting God's authority directly. God's authority on earth rested with the priests. And the result of questioning God's authority was....
And fire came forth from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense. (Numbers 16:35)
It goes on as the people accuse Moses and Aaron of killing the 250 men!

If you read the narrative carefully, you find something interesting. When the people rise against Moses, Moses prays for the people and God backs off on the punishment. God has mercy as Moses intercedes. But when they question the priesthood, Moses does not pray. Moses tells everyone to get out of the way and they all run for cover. Those who question the priesthood are consumed entirely, along with their whole family and all of their posessions. There is no mercy when the priesthood is questioned. Moses yells "Get away from the 250 men!!!" and he himself hits the deck.
When Moses heard it, he fell on his face. (Numbers 16:4)
I love reading about when Moses falls in his face. People think he is prostrating himself in prayer, but he is not. He falls on his face whenever the people sin. He is ducking so that he doesn't get hit by a lightening bolt from God!

So the short answer is that Miriam and Aaron were making a political power play. But we have to look at the entire story and understand not only the literal sense of the narrative, but the spiritual sense as well; how it applies to us.

The moral is that we should not mess with God's priesthood. His priests are special to him, and act with the authority of God in their official capacity as our pastors.


-Tim-
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  #3  
Old Aug 29, '12, 3:19 pm
ProdglArchitect ProdglArchitect is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Honestly, our world could do with a few instances of divine retribution to remind all of us (referring to the entirety of the human body) that God is real, and that there are repercussions for our actions.

Excellent explanation though, thank you!
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  #4  
Old Aug 29, '12, 3:32 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProdglArchitect View Post
Honestly, our world could do with a few instances of divine retribution to remind all of us (referring to the entirety of the human body) that God is real, and that there are repercussions for our actions.

Excellent explanation though, thank you!
One thing I leared in my Christian walk is not to tempt God.

I'm not as righteous as I would like to think and before I go asking God for divine retribution, I have to seriously consider whether he is going to grant me the lead role.

I am glad that you enjoyed the explanation.


-Tim-
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  #5  
Old Aug 29, '12, 4:56 pm
mdgspencer mdgspencer is online now
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Saint Paul called sin the leprosy of the soul. I have always thought that the leprosy of her body is a statement about her inner sin. A mortal sin is no small matter. I presume, though, that God in His providence knew that when she was struck down with leprosy, that he would also cure her because of the prayer of her brother, Mose, for her.
I too believe that usually she was an outstanding person before God. I am reading St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography now, in which she, a great saint, laments the sins she had committed in her life. I don't think such sins must be incompatable with the holiness someone can attain.
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  #6  
Old Aug 29, '12, 5:18 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

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Originally Posted by mdgspencer View Post
Saint Paul called sin the leprosy of the soul. I have always thought that the leprosy of her body is a statement about her inner sin. A mortal sin is no small matter. I presume, though, that God in His providence knew that when she was struck down with leprosy, that he would also cure her because of the prayer of her brother, Mose, for her.
I too believe that usually she was an outstanding person before God. I am reading St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography now, in which she, a great saint, laments the sins she had committed in her life. I don't think such sins must be incompatable with the holiness someone can attain.
Thank you for this post.


-Tim-
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  #7  
Old Aug 29, '12, 5:22 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is online now
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

I don't know why, but God really wanted to make the point that He was not impressed by human claims of equal opportunity to assume religious positions.
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  #8  
Old Aug 29, '12, 5:27 pm
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beehumble beehumble is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sock View Post
I’ve been reading the biblical story where Miriam speaks ill about her brother Moses, and her punishment seems completely disproportionate to her “crime.” She is afflicted with leprosy and sent out of the camp for seven full days. All this for expressing concern about her brother’s marriage?

I have always considered Miriam an example of strength and piety. Without her, Moses would never have been born, and surely would not have survived in the Nile. The way I see it, she spoke to Aaron only out of concern for her brother and his wife, Tzipporah. For this she was punished so harshly?

Why are some people made to carry very heavy crosses in their following a 'righteous' life?
As others said, she wanted to share in Moses' power and prestige, our of selfishness and jealousy. God said there can only be one head of His household, and He chose Moses as that head. God always has one prime person whom He speaks through so we clearly know His laws. In our time, it is the Pope. As it is said, Jesus gave the chair of Moses to Peter. God rebuked Miriam to 'loudly' let His people know Moses and only Moses is the head of His household. We are in the household of God, we are His family, and the family has one supreme head who serves as His leader on this earth.

God bless you.
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  #9  
Old Aug 29, '12, 5:34 pm
grandfather grandfather is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post

The moral is that we should not mess with God's priesthood. His priests are special to him, and act with the authority of God in their official capacity as our pastors.

-Tim-
In the local parish the associate was the editor of a radical gay magazine and handed out condoms at a parish function. The priest pastor who built the $6,000,000 church in the
60s was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Guess why? The archdiocese knew and transferred him to allow him to do more damage. They went bankrupt as a result of the lawsuits. Yet another pastor there was suspended. Guess why? Another associate pastor baptized 2 grown homosexual men living together by full immersion naked.

If you want to accept the likes of these men, unquestioning, as the shepherds of your soul and your family's souls for fear of getting struck by lightning, you have a bigger problem than they do.
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  #10  
Old Aug 30, '12, 12:21 am
Robert Sock Robert Sock is online now
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Miriam was an important tool of God that got her judged much more harshly than ordinary people. The task was the salvation of the Israelites, in which Miriam was key. I believe she has a high place in Heaven given her cross that she was made to bear, and her close relationship with God.
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  #11  
Old Aug 30, '12, 3:21 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Sock View Post
I’ve been reading the biblical story where Miriam speaks ill about her brother Moses, and her punishment seems completely disproportionate to her “crime.” She is afflicted with leprosy and sent out of the camp for seven full days. All this for expressing concern about her brother’s marriage?

I have always considered Miriam an example of strength and piety. Without her, Moses would never have been born, and surely would not have survived in the Nile. The way I see it, she spoke to Aaron only out of concern for her brother and his wife, Tzipporah. For this she was punished so harshly?

Why are some people made to carry very heavy crosses in their following a 'righteous' life?
This is how it goes in context.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. And they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. And suddenly the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed.

When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother's womb.” And Moses cried to the LORD, “O God, please heal her—please.” But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again.
This serves as a counterpoint to the previous chapter:
Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
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  #12  
Old Aug 30, '12, 5:57 am
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grandfather View Post
In the local parish the associate was the editor of a radical gay magazine and handed out condoms at a parish function. The priest pastor who built the $6,000,000 church in the
60s was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Guess why? The archdiocese knew and transferred him to allow him to do more damage. They went bankrupt as a result of the lawsuits. Yet another pastor there was suspended. Guess why? Another associate pastor baptized 2 grown homosexual men living together by full immersion naked.

If you want to accept the likes of these men, unquestioning, as the shepherds of your soul and your family's souls for fear of getting struck by lightning, you have a bigger problem than they do.
I'm sorry. I could have been clearer in my last sentance, the one you quoted.

The misuse of authority is not an excuse for you to assert that you have that same authority when it has not been granted to you. That's the point of the scripture. "Mess with the priesthood" was not what I should have said.

Jesus addressed this directly to the Jews of his time. .
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. (Matthew 23:1-3)
Though they abuse it, their authority is legitimate. If the neighborhood cop takes bribes, it is not an excuse for you and I to get badges and guns, and set up our own court and prison system.

That's the point of the scriptures.

You work for their correction, or even removal, but you don't assume that same authority for yourself.


-Tim-
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