Miriam is the first prophetess on record, and by this we find that God not only poured out his Spirit upon men, but upon women also; and we learn also that Miriam was not only a prophetess, but a poetess also, and must have had considerable skill in music to have been able to conduct her part of these solemnities. toph, rendered "tabret "(Genesis 31:27. The word used in this passage for the timbrel is Egyptian, and judging from its etymology and the figures which are joined with it in the inscriptions, it was probably the round instrument. He proclaims his honour, as the God of sovereign power, grace, and love; the Saviour of his people, and the avenger of his enemies: he mentions with exultation the late display of his mighty arm, and bursts into a question of expressive wonder, Who is like unto thee? 20. In the primitive times, however, solemn and stately dances were deemed appropriate to festival periods and religious rejoicings, and among the more moral tribes and nations had nothing unseemly about them. Compare Judges 11:34; 2 Samuel 6:5, and marginal references. Also note this same dual pattern in Judges 4 and 5. ףּת top, and is there translated tabret: it signifies a musical instrument played on by beating; the word ףּתפ tapap, signifying to smite repeatedly, to beat. (See Quintil. Examples of other âprophetessesâ will be found in Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36. 2. observe, had it from the bitterness of the times, and the afflictions the Israelites endured and groaned under when she was born; which is a much more probable signification and reason of her name than what is given by others, that it is the same with Marjam, which signifies a drop of the sea; from whence, they fancy, came the story of Venus, and her name of Aphrodite, the froth of the sea: Miriam was a prophetess, and so called, not from this action of singing, here recorded of her, for so all the women that sung with her might be called prophetesses, though sometimes in Scripture prophesying intends singing; but rather from her having a gift of teaching and instructing, and even of foretelling things to come; for the Lord spoke by her as well as by Moses and Aaron, and she, with them, were the leaders of the people of Israel, sent to them of the Lord, see Numbers 12:2, she is particularly called the sister of Aaron, though she was likewise the sister of Moses; the reason is, that being older than Moses, she was Aaron's sister before his, and having lived all her days with Aaron almost, and very little with Moses, was best known by being the sister of Aaron; and it is possible she might be his own sister by father and mother's side, when Moses was by another woman; however, it is said of her, she. Old words can sound very different in a new setting. Many learned men suppose that this word means some instruments of wind music, because the word comes from the root חלל chalal, the ideal meaning of which is to perforate, penetrate, pierce, stab, and hence to wound. See Genesis 20:7. Timbrels — Tabrets, tabours, or tambourines. It was beat with the fingers, and corresponds to our tambourine. Note; (1.) “Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing” (Exodus 15:20). See 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 3:23. (20) Miriam the prophetess.âIn Miriam we have the first of that long series of religious women presented to us in Holy Scripture who are not merely pious and God-fearing, but exercise a quasi-ministerial office. ... NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 15:20-21 20 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Show content in: English Both Hebrew. all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances — We shall understand this by attending to the modern customs of the East, where the dance - a slow, grave, and solemn gesture, generally accompanied with singing and the sound of the timbrel, is still led by the principal female of the company, the rest imitating her movements and repeating the words of the song as they drop from her lips. She was best known to the people by her relation to Aaron, with whom she had lived for many years, when Moses was banished. It may appear strange that during so long an oppression in Egypt, the Israelites were able to cultivate the fine arts; but that they did so there is the utmost evidence from the Pentateuch. Miriam is the first woman mentioned in the Bible as a "prophetess," and this was because she was endowed with the gift of prophecy. A timbrel - תף toph, the same word which is translated tabret, Genesis 31:27, on which the reader is desired to consult the note. 17). ver. Their enemies would hear and tremble: dispirited by their fears, they would fall an easy prey, as was the case: and this beginning of mercy ensured the perfection of it, in the promised land. 1BC 1117.8. The sister of Aaron.âShe is called âsister of Aaron,â rather than of Moses, because Aaron was the head of the family (Exodus 6:20; Exodus 7:7). And Miriam.] Pipes or hollow tubes, such as flutes, hautboys, and the like, may be intended. God dealt well with the midwives — he made them houses — He blessed them in kind: for as they kept up Israel’s houses or families, so God, in recompense, built them up into families, blessed their children, and made them prosperous. See Jude 11:34 21:21 1 Samuel 18:6 2 Samuel 6:14,21 Jer 31:4,13. The arrangement of the choir on this occasion into two bandsâone of males, the other of femalesâand the combined employment of music, song, and dancing by the female band, are in close accord with Egyptian customs. 20.Miriam the prophetess — Miriam, or Mariam, the Greek and Latin Maria, and the English Mary. It little matters which opinion you prefer, except that the former is more probable. She is called the sister of Aaron, probably, because Moses, being the writer, chose rather, agreeable to his usual modesty, to distinguish her thus, than to speak of himself. in which she was born. We should ever profess our dependence upon him; and past experience should confirm our present confidence. It is possible, however that Miriam might merit this title in a more eminent sense, as having been peculiarly favoured with Divine inspiration: see Numbers 12:2 and Mich. Exodus 6:4 from which last passage one would conclude, that Miriam was inspired for the instruction of the women, as Moses and Aaron were for that of the men. These books record the dealings of God with Israel. A timbrel— The same original word is used, Genesis 31:27. Miriam is the sister who watches over her baby brother Moses among the bulrushes on the banks of the Nile. The pillar of cloud and fire came behind them, where they needed a guard, and it was a wall between them and their enemies. The ancient heathen nations imitated this custom of singing and dancing in the worship of their gods. The song was “Zippiddy Doo Dah.” Israel’s first great affirmation of faith was expressed in a song as well, but a very different kind of song. Dancing, on the contrary, though adopted into religious worship by many nations, sanctioned by the present passage, by the example of David (2 Samuel 6:16), and by expressions in the Psalms (Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4), has never found an entrance into Christian ceremonial, unless among a few fanatic sects. Hence it is very likely that she was the instructress of the women, and regulated the times, places, etc., of their devotional acts; for it appears that from the beginning to the present day the Jewish women all worshipped apart. In Ch. Sanctioned under the new covenant by the general praise of psalmody, and by the representations given in the Apocalypse of the Church triumphant in heaven (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2-3), it has always maintained itself in the Christian Church, and still holds its ground firmly. Dibre Hayamim, fol. Both the Arabic and Persian understand it as meaning instruments of music of the pipe, drum, or sistrum kind; and this seems to comport better with the scope and design of the place than the term dances. Moses opens with the triumphs of Jehovah, whose right hand had saved them. Biblical Commentary Exodus 14:10-31 COMMENTARY: THE CONTEXT: The book of Exodus tells about the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt (1:8-22), and Moses' early life (chapter 2). (Read Exodus 14:15-20) Moses' silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israel's loud outcries of fear. Judges 11:34. Bible commentary on the Book of Exodus, chapter 15, by Dr. Bob Utley, retired professor of hermeneutics. 1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and they spoke, saying, I will sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its rider He cast into the sea. Care is given in both the exodus story and the resurrection narrative to highlight the role of women. On her later history, see Numbers 12:1-15. It must however be allowed that religious dances have been in use from the remotest times; and yet in most of the places where the term occurs in our translation, an instrument of music bids as fair to be its meaning as a dance of any kind. 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 18:6. Ezekiel 28:13), "timbre]. ◄ Exodus 15:20 ► And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. lib. "; Numbers 12:6-8 reveals that her inspiration was of a degree less than that of Moses, which also may account for her being introduced here, not as Moses' sister, which presumably she was, but as the sister of Aaron. Chapter 15. His funeral was one of the saddest occasions because there was no evidence of a truly Christian faith on the part of those most intimately involved. took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances; timbrels were a sort of drums or tabrets, which being beat upon gave a musical sound, somewhat perhaps like our kettledrums; and though dances were sometimes used in religious exercises, yet the word may signify another kind of musical instruments, as "pipes" or "flutes" (y), as it is by some rendered; and by the Syriac and Arabic versions, "sistrums"; which were musical instruments much used by the Egyptians, and from whom the Israelitish women had these; and as they were going to keep a feast in the wilderness, they lent them to them, it is very probable, on that account; otherwise it is not easy to conceive what use the Israelites could have for them, and put them to during their hard bondage and sore affliction in Egypt: now with these they went out of the camp or tents into the open fields, or to the shore of the Red sea, and sung as Moses and the men of Israel did: to this the psalmist seems to refer in Psalm 68:25. 10.) Exodus 15:19 : Exodus 15:21 >> The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. A number of years ago, a child was tragically killed in an accident. Sister of Aaron — The Scriptures nowhere speak of her marriage, and she seems to have held an independent position as sister of the high priest and of the leader of Israel. Some h… There is no reasonable doubt that she was the sister who kept watch on Moses when he was in the ark of bulrushes (Exodus 2:3-8). There is no reasonable doubt that she was the sister who kept watch on Moses when he was in the ark of bulrushes (Exodus 2:3-8). Biblical Commentary Exodus 1:8 - 2:10 EXEGESIS: THE CONTEXT: Genesis 37-50 tells the story of Joseph, Jacob's beloved son. all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances—We shall understand this by attending to the modern customs of the East, where the dance—a slow, grave, and solemn gesture, generally accompanied with singing and the sound of the timbrel, is still led by the principal female of the company, the rest imitating her movements and repeating the words of the song as they drop from her lips. Sanctioned under the new covenant by the general praise of psalmody, and by the representations given in the Apocalypse of the Church triumphant in heaven (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2-3), it has always maintained itself in the Christian Church, and still holds its ground firmly. It is probable that the first or the last is the true one, but it is a matter of little importance, as we have not the circumstance marked, as in the case of Moses and many others, that gave rise to the name. The word, which we render dances, some render flutes, or pipes: but ours seems the more true and proper interpretation. The word is used here in its proper sense of uttering words suggested by the Spirit of God. Ian Mackervoy. The men are represented as singing the hymn in chorus, under the guidance of Moses; at each interval Miriam and the women sang the refrain, marking the time with the timbrel, and with the measured rhythmical movements always associated with solemn festivities. Moses led the psalm, and gave it out for the men, and then Miriam for the women. The solemn singing of it, Exodus 15:20,21. 3. timbrels = drum. Timbrels and with dances.âBy âtimbrelsâ are meant tambours, or tambourines, favourite instruments in Egypt, and usually played by women there (Wilkinson: Ancient Egyptians, vol. Psalms 81:2; Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4). The arrangement of the choir on this occasion into two bandsâone of males, the other of femalesâand the combined employment of music, song, and dancing by the female band, are in close accord with Egyptian customs. Observe the encouragement that Moses draws from it. Joseph's brothers, offended by Joseph's impudence, sold him into slavery (Genesis 37). She might be Moses’s sister only by one parent, Aaron’s by both. She is known by this title, whence it is supposed she never married. Choris may mean companies of women, singing and dancing in honour of God. Miriam the prophetess; so called, either in a general sense, because she was an instructer of other women in the praise and service of God; or in a more special sense, because she had the Spirit of prophecy. 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