When Prejudice Touched the House of Moses

When Moses appeared in the camp of Israel with Zipporah his wife and their two sons, there was great consternation among both leaders and people, for Zipporah, described in the Bible as an Ethiopian, was a darker complexion than the Israelites. Hence, there was a minor racial incident when the family came upon the scene. The marriage of Moses had been especially displeasing to Miriam, his sister, because she felt he should have chosen a wife from among the Hebrews and not marry a woman of another nation.

The King James Version of the Bible refers to her as ” an Ethiopian woman,” and the Revised Version calls her a ” Cushite woman.” It is important to say, however, that though Zipporah was not an Israelite, she was a worshiper of the true God.

The whispering campaign became so widespread that Miriam and Aaron were summoned to the Tabernacle, and had a face to face meet with Moses. The bible says, ” Jehovah came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam.” The scene was tense as God proceeded to rebuke these two who had spoken evil of His servant, him whom He had declared “faithful in all Mine house.” “Wherefore then,” God said, “were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and He departed.”

The cloud which usually hovered over the tabernacle disappeared and this sign of Gods’ displeasure was followed by a severe punishment inflicted upon Miriam. She “became leprous, white as snow.”

For those who say that discrimination and ill-treatment of people on the basis of race or color is no sin, here is a sobering passage. The act of Miriam was so repulsive to God that He came all the way from heaven to administer rebuke and punishment for her iniquity. Miriam, no doubt, felt she was exercising her freedom when she criticized Zipporah and sought to engender sentiment against her.

Although people still make thousands of speeches about freedom, there is still evidence of a good deal of misunderstanding about the real nature of freedom.