Miriam and Aaron Criticize Moses
1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses. They criticized him because he married an Ethiopian* Ethiopian Or “Cushite,” a person from Ethiopia, in Africa. woman. 2 They said to themselves, “Moses is not the only one the LORD has used to speak to the people. He has also spoken through us!”
The LORD heard this. 3 (Moses was a very humble man. He was more humble than any other man on earth.) 4 So suddenly, the LORD came and spoke to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. He said, “You three, come to the Meeting Tent, now!”
So Moses, Aaron, and Miriam went to the Tent. 5 The LORD came down in the tall cloud and stood at the entrance to the Tent. He called out, “Aaron and Miriam!” They went to him. 6 God said, “Listen to me! You will have prophets. I, the LORD, will let them learn about me through visions. I will speak to them in dreams. 7 But Moses is not like that. He is my faithful servant—I trust him with everyone in my house. 8 When I speak to him, I talk face to face with him. I don’t use stories with hidden meanings—I show him clearly what I want him to know. And Moses can look at the very image of the LORD. So why were you brave enough to speak against my servant Moses?”
9 The LORD was very angry with them, and he left them. 10 The cloud rose from the Tent. Aaron turned and looked at Miriam. Her skin was white like snow—she had a terrible skin disease!
11 Then Aaron said to Moses, “Please, sir, forgive us for the foolish sin that we did. 12 Don’t let her lose her skin like a baby who is born dead.” (Sometimes a baby will be born like that, with half of its skin eaten away.)
13 So Moses prayed to the LORD, “God, please heal her from this sickness!”
14 The LORD answered Moses, “If her father spit in her face, she would be shamed for seven days. So put her outside the camp for seven days. After that she can come back into the camp.”
15 So they took Miriam outside the camp for seven days. And the people did not move from that place until she was brought in again. 16 After that the people left Hazeroth and traveled to the desert of Paran where they set up camp.
*12:1 Ethiopian Or “Cushite,” a person from Ethiopia, in Africa.