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Miriam, an Exemplary Maiden

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Over three decades ago I become interested in the Bible, having drank from the heavenly cup once, I have not been tired to drink more

Introduction

The Holy Bible is a wonderful book that is full of divers of examples on whatsoever anyone wants to do in life. In this book, Holy Bible, we shall find many examples of maidens and youths, those who made positive impacts and those who made negative impacts when they sojourned on earth.

However, in this article, I shall briefly be talking about a maiden (or maid) who through her lifestyles and deeds made positive impacts in her environments, under those whom she lived and by extension her world.

In the King James Version of the bible, maidens and maids are interchangeably used.

Christian Girls

Christian Girls

Words Used For Maid in Bible

In Hebrew maid could be written in three forms: “נערה”, Romanized form is na‛ărâh (pronounced as nah-ar-aw') which means a girl, damsel young woman; “אמה”, Romanized form is 'âmâh (pronounced as aw-maw') which means maidservant, female slave or “בּתוּלה”, Romanized form is bethûlâh, (pronounced as beth-oo-law') which means virgin, separate.

In the Greek word the two words are found associated with maid and they are “κοράσιον”, when Romanized it becomes korasion (phonetic spelling is kor-as'-ee-on) which means damsel, girl and “παιδίσκη” which when Romanized becomes paidiskē (pronounced as pahee-dis'-kay) girl female slave, damsel.

Beautiful Christian Girls

Beautiful Christian Girls

Words Used For Maiden in Bible

In the case of maiden however, the word associated with it in Hebrew are: “נערה”, when Romanized it becomes na‛ărâh, (pronounced as nah-ar-aw') which means damsel, young woman or girl. This is the common word used in the book of Esther.

Another Hebrew word for maiden is “שׁפחה”, Romanized form is shiphchâh (pronounced as shif-khaw') which means female slave, woman servant, wench, bond-woman. This is the word used in the book of Genesis 30:18 and Psalms 123:2.

This other word is also used for maiden in Hebrew “בּתוּלה”, when Romanized it becomes bethûlâh and usually pronounced as beth-oo-law'. This word means separate, virgin, bride. This is the word used for maiden in Judges 19:24 and 2 Chronicles 36:17.

The Greek word for maiden is “παῖς”, which when Romanized becomes pais (phonetical spelling is paheece) which means girl, servant, sometimes could be used for young male servant too.

Bringing the words together

Bringing the words together

Harmonizing The Words For Clarification

When we closely look at the words translated as maids and maidens from the above, we shall discover that there are common words associated with both. The common words are girl, young woman. In the definition of girl, it is said that girl is commonly used for young woman in the times past in as much as the lady is yet single has not been married.

However, this usage changed with time because people consider the word “girl” derogatory when used for a lady who is close to forty years because she has not been married. This thence makes them change the usage of the word to young woman, as such it is said that when a girl has reached menarche, she is a young woman as from that age forward because at that age she could become pregnant.

In addition to this, the word young woman is being used for a girl who has reached menarche because it is at that period that the youthful age for girls started, she is an adolescence at that stage.

Studies show that puberty starts at different ages for different girls and the culture also plays a crucial role in deciding the age for which puberty starts in each region.

Having seen some things about the word maid and maiden, I will want us to see a maiden out of the maidens the bible talks about and learn one or two things from her.

Miriam

Miriam

Miriam

This is talking about the time when Miriam was still a girl or young woman according to the definition of maid as seen above.

Miriam and Aaron were Moses elder siblings. Aaron perhaps has been given birth to when the clampdown on Hebrew pregnant women in the land of Egypt was not severe. Since Miriam was older than Aaron and because she was a girl the rule, or clampdown would not affect her as such.

“And he said, when ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.” (Exo 1:16)

But at the time when Moses was given birth to the rule has been stiffer with the punishment higher if flouted because “the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.” (Exo 1:17). The new King who does not know Joseph (Exo 1:8) discovered foul play from the hands of the midwives, he discovered that he had been lied to with his intelligence being played upon, thus after interrogating them, he reviewed the law, the policy and makes the punishment stiffer for anyone who flouted what he says about killing the baby boys being given birth to by the Hebrews.

“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” (Exo 1:22)

It was during the time of this review of law that the father and mother of Miriam had sexual intercourse again and the intercourse resulted in pregnancy because they did not meet during the woman’s safe period.

“And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” (Gen 29:35)

The word “left bearing” here to me does not mean that the woman was not having sexual intercourse with her husband again, but I presume it means that the intercourse she was having with him she was having it during her “safe periods”, during the time when ovulation would not have taken place with the eggs released to be fertilized by the sperm of the man which would have been released during the coitus.

I said this because we shall discover that after this given birth, she afterwards gave birth to other sons after Judah which was stated here.

“And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.

“And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.

“And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.

“And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.” (Gen 30:17-20)

As we know from the bible that one of the reasons for marriage is for the couples to be able to meet, to know each other, to enjoy and to satisfy their sexual pleasures without looking over their shoulders, the two loving couples met, and the meeting resulted in pregnancy.

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

“But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Co 7:2 & 9)

After they discovered that pregnancy has resulted, they decide to keep the pregnancy, they did not want to terminate the pregnancy. Soon enough the woman gave birth to a baby boy and they see that the baby boy was good looking.

“And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.” (Exo 2:2)

They were nurturing the baby boy with the supports of his elder siblings until the baby’s cries could not be curtailed again. When this happens, the family decides to find a solution to the problem.

They did not want to kill the child neither could they keep the child under their roofs again lest the entirety household (family) be wiped off by the king. They thus, decide that it would be better if they could go and drop the son by the river so that the river would carry him away.

At least by this, the “destiny” of the son is still relatively protected, because if the river carries him off, he may be swept to another country where he would be found by a compassionate person who would adopt him to be his own son. After all, they all got to Egypt land courtesy of Joseph whom his siblings hated and sold into the slavery land, it was at the slavery land that he found Yahweh’s favor and he became somebody and one of the leaders in the country.

They were all contented with this reasoning and they made a small boat put the son inside and went and drop it by the river when they couldn’t be found for if they be discovered they would be at risk and the child’s life would not be spared.

However, after they had dropped the child by the river and they all departed, Miriam decides to stay back, to be watching what would happen to his brother. It is however, not stated whether her parents were the ones who counseled her to do that or not. But it is most likely it be her parents who counseled her to stay close to where the small boat was and be looking at what would eventually happen unto her brother.

Let us see some things of note about this wonderful maiden, Miriam.

Maiden helping her mum by serving her coffee while working

Maiden helping her mum by serving her coffee while working

1. Helps Her Mother

From the above we shall see that Miriam was a maiden who was close to her parents and most especially her mother. She was given her a helping hand when she was taken care of her brother. We are in a civilized world as such some girls (young women) hardly help their mothers again and that is why many of them do not know how to take care of their husbands neither their children because they are busy chasing shadows instead of substance.

miriam-an-exemplary-maiden

2. She Was Patience

The duration between when the baby was dropped by the river bank and when the princess came to the river with her team to take her bath was not stated in the bible. But it is logical to say that hours would have passed by before the princess got to the river bank for her bath.

Poll 1: Patience

Poll 2: Weary

What is it that you have been looking unto God for in prayers? Are you tired already? I want to encourage you that you shouldn’t be tired of waiting for God, patience has not limitations, it has no ending. It though could be hard, but it worth it if you can patiently wait for God. Do you remember Abraham and Sarah they are good examples of those who waited for God’s promises and when it manifested, they were not put to shame.

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. (Job 14:14)

miriam-an-exemplary-maiden

3. Enduring Spirit

To my assumption, the son would be dropped in the midnight, when there wouldn’t be anyone around, as a protection for the parents and the child. Thus, assuming he was dropped by the river bank at that time it thence means that shortly after, or immediately afterwards, Miriam stayed back to be watching over her brother to be watching what would happen to him.

These she however, endured so that she would be able to pay close attention to what would befall her brother.

“And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.” (Exo 2:3)

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

4. Keep Watch

It is during this time of the day that one usually enjoys sleep. According to psychologists and physiologists, it is during this time that one usually enters Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep that one would be having beautiful dreams. And it has been stated that when someone does not reach this stage before one wakes up in a day, the person would be feeling drowsy would not completely be himself or herself all through that day until she or he perhaps takes a nap again to clear his eyes of heaviness.

And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. (Exo 2:4)

It would be during this time of the day that Miriam started waiting by the river to watch over her brother, she misses the REM sleep time that day. But she counts it all joy for the sake of his naïve brother.

Miriam watching things

Miriam watching things

5. Good Custodian

She was a good custodian of her brother for assuming it is some other people, they would not want to wait during that time. She does not say one thing and do another she does not say she would wait, keep watch over her brother and they leave shortly after her parents had left.

Poll 3: Sincerity

The bible enjoins all that we should let our yea be yea and our nay be nay.

“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” (Jas 5:12)

miriam-an-exemplary-maiden

6. She Was Bold

It is no gain saying that Miriam wasn’t among the princess entourage; neither was she living with her. Thus, she doesn’t know her personality, neither what her disposition would be to the Hebrew sons. Because she has no personal relationship with the princess, she couldn’t predict her disposition to what she would say about the baby they found by the river bank. For assuming she is the kind of person who toes the line of her father, the king, she could have ordered Miriam arrested too, and the baby killed in accordance with the laws of the king. She was able to approach the princes because of her boldness.

You should know that the apostle says that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but we have been given the spirit of boldness.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)

Some of us miss some things in life because of fear, we fear when and where we ought not to fear and as such, we couldn’t lay our hands on that thing that is in our minds.

Poll 4: Fear

Poll 5: Missed It

miriam-an-exemplary-maiden

7. She Doesn’t Think About It

What really helped her was that she doesn’t mind what princess response would be to the suggestion she would give her. Assuming she has dwelt on it that “what of if the woman turns her down? What of if she doesn’t accept her proposition? What of if the members of her entourage counseled her against listening to her?” If she has allowed these questions in her heart even before the princess arrives she would have been defeated, but she does not think about those, she does not think about what would be the outcome of what she would say unto the princess and this really helped her, this gives her an edge and advantage to approach her without fear.

One of the sure ways to avoid defeat and failure is not given it a thought in our hearts, not to dwell on it, because when we allow the seed of evil thoughts in our hearts it would germinate to yield negative fruits of failures and setbacks.

This is what saved Jonathan and his armor bearer, yea the nation of Israel when they were facing the enemies, the Philistines.

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.

And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

And his armourbearer said unto him, do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

Then said Jonathan, behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.

If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.

But if they say thus, come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.(1 Sa 14: 1-2; 6-10)

His father and other generals were still thinking about how to launch the attack, how to approach the enemy’s camps, and because they were allowing such thoughts in their hearts the minds of failure overwhelmed them such that they did not know how to approach the battle. But in the case of his son, Jonathan and his armor bearer who was a man of like mind like him, they left the camps of their father, the camps where their minds would be polluted, they separated themselves and having gotten themselves separated they decide to bell the cart.

It is always good to work with a person of like mind, it is always good to be married to a person of like mind, because doing this would make everything easy for the couple but when the duo have dual minds with one going to the north and the other going to the south those are two ends that would never meet. Thus, in a short while it won’t be surprising when we hear of failures from the duo.

Their step brought salvation and deliverance to Israelites that day.

Miriam too did not give evil thoughts chance in her heart for assuming she has done that she wouldn’t be able to approach the princess. What are those evil thoughts in your heart? Take them off your heart and you will see the salvation of the Lord on that thing.

Better Option

Better Option

8. Gave Princess Better Option

When the princess and her team found the baby where he was in a small container, she had compassion on the baby she saw. As the princess was discussing with her team on what could be done for the baby because she has been overwhelmed by compassion for the child, she walks near them and offered a better advise unto the princess.

And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, this is one of the Hebrews' children.

“Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? (Exo 2:5-7)

Poll 6 Divers Opinion

As good leader (because you are a leader in the position you are, always know that someone is looking up to you, and if someone is looking up to you, may be at home, in office, in church etc. it shows that you are a leader) you must ensure that you weigh all options before taken actions. Some options are good on the prints alone, but they should not be implemented.

The princess was perhaps still thinking about what to do about the baby when her sister walks near to offer her the suggestion to go and get for her a woman from the Hebrews who will take care of the baby for her.

I think the princess agrees because the Egyptians were not given to doing such works then.

And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:(Exo 1:13)

I presume they consider the work like this hard work. Thus, when Miriam offers the suggestion, she doesn’t turn her down but gave her a node to do what she has said.

miriam-an-exemplary-maiden

9. Would Encourage Her Mother

When the princess gave her a nod to go and get a Hebrew woman who would take care of the child for her, on getting to her mother she would encourage her to brace up that God has made a way for her to take care of her son.

Poll 7: Encouragement

The pep talks of words of encouragement before they got to where the princess, his team and the baby were would boost her up, and she wouldn’t entertain doubts and fear which she has been entertaining before.

As believers, we also need to encourage one another in faith. So many things surround us, weighed our hearts down but when we encourage one another the person who is down casted would rise in the spirit and would march on through that would be able to do exploits

It has been noticed by psychologists that when a sick person sees someone whom she or he knows, and such a one is encouraging the sick person she would get heal faster than someone who has no one and or who is seeing strangers all around her, the person would think the world is all over for her.

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Co 1:3-4)

Pharaoh's daughter looking at Moses

Pharaoh's daughter looking at Moses

10. Serves As Conduit

She was a conduit between her mother and her brother’s coming together. Because she could take the risk she serves as the channel through which her mother and her naïve brother would be brought together in love.

Moses Mother and Miriam

Moses Mother and Miriam

11. Special Attention Received

Through her, her mother and brother would receive special attention from the people of the land, because when they know that she is the one nurturing the foster son of the princess, special attention would pay to the woman. Needless to say, that the family perhaps from thence would be on the pay roll of the government of the land.

Prophet Moses

Prophet Moses

12. Crucial in Moses Tracing His Lineage

She was crucial in Moses discovering from which tribe he has hailed from in life. Assuming he has been swept off by the river he wouldn’t in no way discover his identity neither would discovering his identity be easy for him assuming she was not by the river to monitor the development of things. Because when the princess takes her, she may go and give one of the Egyptians to take care of the child for her or in the case she sees no one to carry out the task for her, she could send the child to other country to be taken care of in the palace of other country loyal to Egypt.

If this happens, to trace his identity, his lineage and by extension what he has been assigned to do for the people of Israel would be difficult if not totally impossible.

Conclusively,

We shall see that Miriam plays a crucial role in the life of Moses as well as in her family because of what she offers to do. She essentially was a rare maiden during her days and a blessing to her family. We also need to be a blessing to our families and the system where we live in.

miriam-an-exemplary-maiden

Simple Multiple-choice Questions To Assess The Reader

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. 1. Maid and maiden according to this article have the followings as true except
    • (a) Could be interchangeably used
    • (b) Girl
    • (c) Slave
    • (d) Young woman
  2. 2. The word nah-ar-aw' is commonly found in this book
    • (a) Esther
    • (b) Chronicles
    • (c) Psalms
    • (d) Judges
  3. 3. One of the options is true of safe periods according to this article
    • (a) Leah practiced it
    • (b) Eggs cannot be released then
    • (c) It’s the best form of family planning
    • (d) No intercourse then
  4. 4. Through this man deliverance gets to Israel because he separated himself from double minded people
    • (a) Jonathan
    • (b) Saul
    • (c) David
    • (d) Aaron
  5. 5. One of these is true of Miriam’s attributes according to this article
    • (a) Bold
    • (b) Maiden
    • (c) Moses younger sibling
    • (d) Among Princess entourage

Answer Key

  1. (c) Slave
  2. (a) Esther
  3. (a) Leah practiced it
  4. (a) Jonathan
  5. (a) Bold

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: There is room for Improvement

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: Fair

If you got 4 correct answers: Good

If you got 5 correct answers: Excellent

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