Aharon said to Moshe, “Oh, my lord, please don’t punish us for this sin we committed so foolishly. Please don’t let her be like a stillborn baby, with its body half eaten away when it comes out of its mother’s womb!” Moshe cried to Adonai, “Oh God, I beg you, please, heal her!” Adonai answered Moshe, “If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she hide herself in shame for seven days? So let her be shut out of the camp for seven days; after that, she can be brought back in.”-Numbers 12:11-14
Let’s get our bearings.
Miriam has been struck with TZARA-AT (a skin affliction, NOT leprosy) from head to toe.
We’re told her skin had been rendered as white as snow.
In response, Aaron turns to Moses who is God’s Chosen Mediator, and begs forgiveness.
Let’s examine God’s response in light of the Torah knowledge we have acquired over the past couple of years.
The first thing we can know with full confidence is that Miriam’s TZARA-AT cleared up right there on the spot.
How do we know this?
All we have to do is recall the Levitical laws that deal with impurity and purification.
Let me give you a quick review.
When one contracts TZARA-AT, that person is forced to leave the camp.
However, if the TZARA-AT clears up, after being inspected by the priest, the formerly infected person is allowed to return to the camp but only AFTER a 7-day waiting period.
This is why we know for a fact that Miriam was healed right there on the spot.
Because the Lord said “let her be shut out of the camp for 7 days“.
This statement indicates that she had just been healed on the spot and the 7-day waiting period as established in Torah had just begun.
This was a law that applied pretty much to all of the purification rituals.
What did God mean when He said, “If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she hide herself in shame for seven days”?
This is another one of those Hebrew-isms rooted in ancient middle eastern culture.
It means that if a woman humiliated her father for whatever reason, the father would kick her out of the house for a period of time.
Let’s take a look at verse 12.
“Please don’t let her be like a stillborn baby, with its body half eaten away when it comes out of its mother’s womb!”
Here Aaron is comparing Miriam’s TZARA-AT to that of a baby who had died in the womb.
This is interesting and there is a spiritual lesson to be gleaned here.
Biblically speaking, when one was rendered UNCLEAN due to contracting TZARA-AT, the Levitical laws decreed that that person was separated from God.
The TZARA-AT-afflicted person was literally in a state of spiritual death.
His or her soul was dead and was now rotting away like the skin of a dead baby in the womb.
Remember, TZARA-AT was considered to be an outward physical manifestation of one’s inner spiritual state.
Miriam literally had to be born again and of course she was subject to the Levitical purification laws just like everybody else.
Having said that, it should also be noted however that TZARA-AT is here NOT being compared to the actual death of a baby.
The reason why is because TZARA-AT was NOT considered a life-threatening disease (there was the danger of disfigurement however).
Again, TZARA-AT was a manifestation of spiritual death, of being completely separated from God.
The only recourse was to be born again.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees
named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
This man came to Yeshua by night and
said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are
a teacher come from God, for no one can
do these signs that you do unless
God is with him.”
Yeshua answered him,
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless one is born again
he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man be born when he is old?
Can he enter a second time into his
mother’s womb and be born?”
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh,
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”