We hear talk of female prophets. Deborah, Huldah and others, but we do not get much discussion of Miriam.

Miriam's Song — the classic illustration of her singing in triumph while leading the Israelite nation.

While she has a number of places she is mentioned,  Miriam’s signature moment is criticizing Moses for his polygamous wife and being struck with leprosy as a result, (see the story at Numbers 12:2) but still … there is more to her than that.

The story is rich in nuance. Miriam comes on the stage identified as a prophet (Exodus 15:20). Then in Numbers, Miriam and Aaron both criticize Moses over an extra wife and related issues. Miriam justifies herself in what she does and says because she is a prophet. When God reacts, only Miriam is stricken (Aaron is not punished). But God heals her as well. She is recounted as one of the prophets God sent Israel (in Chronicles and at Micah 6:4) in places outside the historical narrative.

So why don’t we talk more about Miriam when we talk about female prophets?


For more about her and Jewish History, visit Jewish Bible .Org’s archived material on her.  [From the Jewish Bible Quarterly e.g. “There is a record of her death in Numbers, but no record of a husband or children – a rare example in the Bible of a woman notable without identification as someone’s wife or mother.” and “She is introduced as Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister. . . (Ex. 15:20) – the first mention in the Tanakh that a woman was endowed with the prophetic spirit” — the article is several pages long with a good deal to say about her.]

I’d love to hear your guesses and thoughts about why we don’t talk about Miriam.