“The LORD replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” Numbers 12:14
The Torah, known as the books of the Law or the first five books of the bible, seem to be filled with do’s and don’ts given by The God of Israel, All Mighty Adonai. Before my twenties and somewhat into my twenties, I would become confused and puzzled by the punishments God commanded and performed on those who rebelled against Him. I was told to re-read any chapter that I did not understand over and over until I found its treasure.
The key verse comes out of a chapter that everyone can relate to. Lift up your hand if you have talked bad behind someone’s back or against them. I am positive everyone, fits that description. Some times when we are offended that others have bashed our name with gossip, we can find that we too have done the same.
In this chapter Adonai becomes furious with Miriam and Aaron for speaking against Moses. They are disturbed by the dark-skinned women he married and in verse two, we find them saying, “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”
God calls all three out of the tent; Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and punishes Miriam for speaking against her brother and leader. God sends leprosy as her punishment and commands them to confine her outside of the camp for seven days, after that she was able to be brought back. Commentaries say that only Miriam was punished because she instigated the gossip, she was the one who started to talk about the matter. Aaron pleads God to heal her and God grants him his request.
However, in verse 14, God say’s something very profound that should shake up and wake us all up. “The LORD replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” In the Old Testimate, it was a custom to spit on a person’s face as a gesture of disgust and shame. God was ashamed and disgusted at Miriam’s behavior. He was her Father and was ultimately saying that if an earthly father would spit on the face of His rebellious daughter, how much more He that He was her heavenly Father. So God gives her leprosy and makes her leave the camp and isolate herself for seven days. Do you think this sounds harsh? After all, I think we have said much worse things that what Miriam said. The truth is, God had chosen Miriam since a young age to work towards God’s purpose, remember her following the basket in the Nile River? Also, Miriam leads the women into an Israeli dance to celebrate God’s deliverance form Pharaoh and his soldiers. God must have been very proud of Miriam up until this point, up until she decided to use her tongue for malice and gossip.
If you find yourself gossiping today, remember that God your God does not take this lightly. Unfortunately it is the enemy’s favorite and most successful mechanism to get God’s children to indulge in. Break the chain today; especially if you are a female since we are known to gossip the most. Imagine God being so upset at us as that He is ashamed and disgusted by our foolish talk. Let’s ask God to forgive us as soon as possible and He will forgive and forget, something we lack to do most of the time.