Old Testament

Numbers 12
Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
121Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman). 2They said, “Has the Lord really spoken only through Moses? Hasn't he also spoken through us?” The Lord heard this.
3(Now the man Moses was very humble, more humble[] than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
4Right then the Lord spoke suddenly to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “You three come out to the Tent of Meeting!”
The three of them came out. 5The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance to the tent. He called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6He said, “Now listen to my words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will make myself known to him in a vision. In a dream I will speak with him. 7Not so, however, with my servant Moses. He is faithful in my whole household. 8With him I speak face-to-face,[] clearly, and not in riddles. He sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?” 9The Lord's anger burned against them, and he left.
10The cloud went up from above the tent, and immediately Miriam was leprous,[] as white as snow. Aaron turned to Miriam and saw that she was leprous.
11Aaron said to Moses, “My lord, please do not hold this sin against us. We have acted foolishly. We have sinned. 12Please do not let her be like a stillborn infant that comes out of its mother's womb[] with its flesh half-eaten away.”
13Moses cried out to the Lord, “God, please heal her, please!”
14The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had merely spit in her face, would she not be disgraced for seven days? Have her confined outside of the camp for seven days, and after that she can be brought back in.”
15Miriam was confined outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not set out until Miriam was brought back in. 16Afterward the people set out from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran.


  • 12:3 Or more afflicted. The issue is whether Moses, since he was a humble leader, did not deserve Miriam's jealousy, or whether his own sister's rebellion against him was piled on top of all his other afflictions. Both, of course, were true.
  • 12:8 Literally mouth to mouth
  • 12:10 The Hebrew term translated leprous was used for various skin diseases.
  • 12:12 The alternate Hebrew reading our mother was likely the original reading, which was altered by a scribe to avoid offense to Moses' mother.