Miriam was a prophet of ancient Israel who, along with her brother Moses, helped lead the Israelites to freedom in the book of Exodus.
Miriam was the eldest child of highly regarded Israelite parents during a period of increased Egyptian oppression as recorded in the book of Exodus. The Talmud claims that she was one of the midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh’s law that Israelite boys be killed at birth. Not only that but tradition claims that she criticised her father when he claimed that male children were more important than girls. Her desire to save infants also lead her to save her brother by watching over him as he was taken out of the river by Pharoah’s daughter.
After the liberation of the Jews and their crossing of the Red Sea Miriam lead the people in song celebrating God’s faithfulness and saving work of delivering His people out of captivity. It is a defiant song of resistance against an overwhelming enemy and highlights not only Miriam’s unwavering faith but her overflowing passion for the freedom of her people. Her song has become a battle cry for the people of God and is often sung in Synagogues and Churches around the world.
Like many women found in scripture her role has been overshadowed by men in the story however without her, and the other midwives’, bravery there would have never been an exodus. Like Mary, God’s saving work began with the unfailing faith of a young woman.
Through her defiance as a midwife and the defensive acts for her family and people Miriam stands as a role model for women who stand up to extreme acts of violence and injustice and all who celebrate with unbridled passion.
A Prayer for Miriam:
Lord God of freedom, we thank you for the life and example of your faithful servant Miriam. We pray that we too might be filled with the same courage to stand up against violence and the unashamed passion of her spontaneous song. We pray also for all midwives as well as mothers and families who have to abandon their young children. In your most glorious name we pray. Amen
Suggested Bible verse: