In a special Sunday-Monday podcast bonus series, host Tammy Uzelac-Hall and her guests learn about women in the Old Testament and their contributions to the overall Bible narrative. In the following excerpt, Tammy and her friend Mandy Green are deep in discussion about Miriam, who was one of the six women mentioned in the Life of the Prophet Moses. This excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Tammy Uzelac-Hall: If you notice this theme, we have these women saving Moses. Shiphra and Puah saved him, his mother saved him, then Miriam, his older sister, goes to save him. Mandy is going to tell us about Miriam, and I’m so excited.
Mandy Green: Miriam is actually super heroic and super amazing. She is…the prototype of women who are truly critical in the work and glory of our Heavenly Parents. She is actually the first woman to receive the title of prophetess, the first to have the title nevi’a– It’s from the Jewish Women’s Archives. So, let me read this on this website: “Although the meaning of the term prophet is here undetermined, Miriam is the first woman to bear it. She thus becomes the archetype of the feminine prophetic tradition, even as Moses directs the male. And the word nevus in Hebrew means “to spring, to bubble like a source”. And it’s so interesting to me that Miriam is always near water, which is a very feminine symbol. Here it is in the water, springing up, offering an outlet for Moses.
Plus she don’t just say “Oh, mama, you make me put that basket in it [the water and] I’m going to get busted. She follows him to Pharaoh’s daughter. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if [the basket] addressed the daughter of Pharaoh. … Notice that [Miriam] is always there on stage. I heard my wise sister-in-law Whitney say, “Much of what we do [in religion] is to show off. Showing up is half the battle. Miriam is still there. She’s always nearby, and I think that’s very instructive.
She also has enormous spiritual gifts and tremendous influence and power. I mean, she’s there in the Nile when Pharaoh’s daughter pulls the basket out of the water, and… I want us to raise our thoughts to this complex life situation. Here is Pharaoh’s daughter, and could she have a nurse [to nurse this baby]?
Tammy Uzelac-Hall: Easily.
Mandy Green: Yeah, she probably has a palate full of them. Back then, Pharaoh had many different wives bearing children. So it’s interesting that Miriam shows up, this Hebrew girl, and she’s like, “Hey, I know a woman. Pharaoh’s daughter is not stupid, I tell you right now, but she says “OK”. So instantly, there’s this unsaid [connection]- and I totally add my own opinion on this -[but] whether it’s true or not, I want you to think about this exchange: As Miriam says, “I know a nurse,” Pharaoh’s daughter goes to see that it’s a Hebrew baby, and…yet she thinks to herself: “What the hey, we’re going to go ahead with that.” This [influence] is just the start of Miriam’s huge – and I mean huge – ministry. She has enormous spiritual gifts.
To learn more about Miriam and meet some of the 54 Unnamed Women of the Old Testament, go to ldsliving.com/unnamedwomen. Also find what’s new Sunday on Monday canvas tote bags at Deseret Book and deseretbook.com.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the July/August issue of LDS Living magazine. Subscribe today for inspiring content straight to your inbox.