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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.