Tag Archives: exogamy

Miriam The Prophetess

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“Miriam and Moses” by Paul Delaroche from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Woman in Sacred History published in 1873.

Her Name

Miriam enters the Bible without genealogy, an annunciation scene or a naming ceremony. She isn’t even named. She’s just the sister of Moses. Not until she was an old woman do we learn that Moses’ and Aaron’s sister was named Miriam. Most commentaries will tell you that her name means “bitter water” based on the rabbinical understanding that her name is derived from the Hebrew root mrr, to be bitter. Continue reading

Dinah: Don’t Hang Your Head

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In their analysis of Genesis 34 most commentators  assume that Dinah was raped by Shechem, the local Hivite prince. Feminists use the story as the textbook example of what is wrong with patriarchy. In addition, Genesis 34 also records the massacre of the Hivite people by Dinah’s brothers in retaliation for the way in which they perceived Shechem had treated their sister. Even today, some ultra-orthodox Jews claim the brothers as heroes for cleansing the land of the Canaanites and look to the narrative as a model for “solving” the current Palestinian “problem.” Continue reading

Noadiah: The Lost Prophetess

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“Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid” (Neh. 6:14).

Our only source of information about the prophetess Noadiah is the book of Nehemiah. The book is the memoir of a governor appointed by the Persian king after the exile of the Israelite people in the 5th century B.C.E. He was not a prophet, priest or king and therefore had no mandate from the Jewish people or God. Artaxerxes I awarded him the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and continuing the restoration of the Temple. Continue reading

Rahab and the Rope of Hope

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“Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim, saying, ‘Go, reconnoiter the region of Jericho.’ So they set out, and they came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there.” Joshua 2:1

According to Matthew 1:5 the Canaanite prostitute, Rahab, is one of Jesus’ ancestors. The ancient rabbis envisioned her as the foremother of priests and prophets, including Jeremiah and Huldah, even a foremother of kings. To make matters even stranger, they describe Rahab marrying Joshua! Continue reading

White as Snow, Black as Cush

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“…Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he married: ‘He married a Cushite woman!’ They said, ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” Numbers 12:1-2

This scene begs us to ask, “Who was this Cushite woman? And what does Moses’ marriage to her have to do with his siblings’ concern about prophetic authority?” The answer to who this woman was will help us understand what part she played in the struggle between the siblings and therefore will provide us with a better understanding of the point of the story. Continue reading