(mih' ih uhm) Personal name of uncertain meaning, perhaps “bitter,” “God's gift,” “beloved,” or “defiant.” 1. Sister of Moses and Aaron and the daughter of Jochebed and Amram. Miriam played a key role in the rescue of Moses (Exodus 2:4-8) and in the subsequent experience of the Exodus and the wilderness community. After crossing the Red Sea, she assumed the role of prophetess and led the women in the song of victory that was steeped in faith and gratitude (Exodus 15:20-21). See Poetry.
At Hazeroth, Miriam sided with Aaron in an act of rebellion against Moses when he married an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12:1-15). Beneath her disapproval of Moses' choice of a wife lay a deeper problem of ambition and insubordination. Consequently, God reminded her of Moses' divinely appointed leadership and chastened her with leprosy. She was healed following Moses' intercessory prayer and a seven-day quarantine (Numbers 12:15). See Intercession; Leprosy.
Miriam died at Kadesh (Numbers 20:1). Later biblical writers remembered her as an example to Israel in cases of leprosy (Deuteronomy 24:9) and as a leader sent by God (Micah 6:4).
2. Member of the clan of Caleb (1 Chronicles 4:17).
R. Dean Register