Daily Arts Web Nucleus


Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
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2014 February 17

The Queen of Sheba (c. 1405)
Illuminators (Perhaps German) for Konrad Kyeser (fl. 1405)
Bellifortis Manuscript, XV
Gothic Style
Ingolstadt Stadtmuseum, Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany
Image Source: Wikipedia

     Explanation: I chose the illustration above, not to suggest that Moses married the Queen of Sheba or some other royal woman as the Targum of Jonathan, Josephus, and some Jewish writers suggest, but to symbolize the dignity that the Lord bestowed upon Moses' wife by defending her and him against the opposition to the marriage which came from Moses' sister and brother. Also, as an Ethiopian or Cushite woman, she was most likely black.
     In Numbers 12 Miriam and Aaron rose up in opposition to Moses. First, they spoke against him because of the Ethiopian (Cushite) woman he married. Whether this woman was Zipporah, as some suggest, or a woman Moses married later, we are not told. Neither are we told the exact reason for the opposition of Miriam and Aaron to the marriage. Secondly, they also opposed Moses' position of authority. They asserted (correctly) that the LORD had spoken through them as well as through Moses. This may have had something to do with the incident in chapter 11 where the LORD bestowed a portion of the spirit that was upon Moses upon 70 elders in order to help Moses rule. Perhaps Miriam and Aaron thought that they should have a greater share (perhaps equal to Moses' share) in the rule of the nation. Whatever the case, Moses did not reply because he was meek (1-3). However, the LORD did reply. He called Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to the Tabernacle and came to them in the pillar of the cloud. There he chided Miriam and Aaron for daring to speak against Moses who was special in two key ways: first, it was Moses to whom the LORD appeared in a visible form, not in a mere vision or dream; second, it was Moses whom the LORD declared to be faithful in all of his house. So the LORD was angry and departed (4-9). When the cloud departed from the Tabernacle Miriam became leprous. Aaron plead with Moses on her behalf. Moses, in turn, plead with the LORD for healing. The LORD healed her and had her shut out of the camp for seven days in accord with the laws for the cleansing of lepers (Leviticus 13); and afterward Israel left Hazeroth and encamped in Paran (10-16).

Numbers 12

     1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) 4 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. 5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.
     10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. 13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again. 16 And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.

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