I would love to eulogize about all the wonderful things Miriam has done in her rich full life, and considering she is one of the more important women of the bible, you wouldn’t think it would be that difficult. But then you’d remember that this is the bible; Miriam’s entire legacy—everything she ever was—can be read in three short scenes. She helped baby Moses to the safety of Pharaoh’s daughter in a completely ridiculous scene of Exodus, she did a little dance after God drowned the remaining Egyptians, and finally, she inspired God’s rancor in Numbers by being a little racist.

Other than keeping Moses alive, her character is entirely inconsequential, as reflected in her epitaph. After circling back to Kadesh again, Numbers 20:1 says only, “There Miriam died and was buried.” It saddens me that there were so many important women in ancient history, but the best they could hope for was a legacy as uninspired and banal as this.




Oh the irony!