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12 Miryam and Aharon began criticizing Moshe on account of the Ethiopian woman he had married, for he had in fact married an Ethiopian woman. They said, “Is it true that Adonai has spoken only with Moshe? Hasn’t he spoken with us too?” Adonai heard them. Now this man Moshe was very humble, more so than anyone on earth. Suddenly Adonai told Moshe, Aharon and Miryam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” The three of them went out.

Adonai came down in a column of cloud and stood at the entrance to the tent. He summoned Aharon and Miryam, and they both went forward. He said, “Listen to what I say: when there is a prophet among you, I, Adonai, make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. But it isn’t that way with my servant Moshe. He is the only one who is faithful in my entire household. With him I speak face to face and clearly, not in riddles; he sees the image of Adonai. So why weren’t you afraid to criticize my servant Moshe?” The anger of Adonai flared up against them, and he left.

10 But when the cloud was removed from above the tent, Miryam had tzara‘at, as white as snow. Aharon looked at Miryam, and she was as white as snow. 11 Aharon said to Moshe, “Oh, my lord, please don’t punish us for this sin we committed so foolishly. 12 Please don’t let her be like a stillborn baby, with its body half eaten away when it comes out of its mother’s womb!” 13 Moshe cried to Adonai, “Oh God, I beg you, please, heal her!” (Maftir) 14 Adonai answered Moshe, “If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she hide herself in shame for seven days? So let her be shut out of the camp for seven days; after that, she can be brought back in.” 15 Miryam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not travel until she was brought back in. 16 Afterwards, the people went on from Hatzerot and camped in the Pa’ran Desert.

Haftarah B’ha‘alotkha: Z’kharyah (Zechariah) 2:14 – 4:7

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah B’ha‘alotkha: Yochanan (John) 19:31–37; Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 3:1–6

Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

12 Miriam(A) and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife,(B) for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”(C) And the Lord heard this.(D)

(Now Moses was a very humble man,(E) more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud;(F) he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words:

“When there is a prophet among you,
    I, the Lord, reveal(G) myself to them in visions,(H)
    I speak to them in dreams.(I)
But this is not true of my servant Moses;(J)
    he is faithful in all my house.(K)
With him I speak face to face,
    clearly and not in riddles;(L)
    he sees the form of the Lord.(M)
Why then were you not afraid
    to speak against my servant Moses?”(N)

The anger of the Lord burned against them,(O) and he left them.(P)

10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent,(Q) Miriam’s skin was leprous[a]—it became as white as snow.(R) Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease,(S) 11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.(T) 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.”

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!(U)

14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face,(V) would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp(W) for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp(X) for seven days,(Y) and the people did not move on till she was brought back.

16 After that, the people left Hazeroth(Z) and encamped in the Desert of Paran.(AA)

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 12:10 The Hebrew for leprous was used for various diseases affecting the skin.

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