Exodus 15:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.

New Living Translation
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced.

English Standard Version
Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

Berean Study Bible
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing.

New American Standard Bible
Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.

King James Bible
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Christian Standard Bible
Then the prophetess Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women came out following her with tambourines and dancing.

Contemporary English Version
Miriam the sister of Aaron was a prophet. So she took her tambourine and led the other women out to play their tambourines and to dance.

Good News Translation
The prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took her tambourine, and all the women followed her, playing tambourines and dancing.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with their tambourines and danced.

International Standard Version
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand and went out with all the women behind her with tambourines and dancing.

NET Bible
Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances.

New Heart English Bible
Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand. All the women, dancing with tambourines, followed her.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

New American Standard 1977
And Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

King James 2000 Bible
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

American King James Version
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.

American Standard Version
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Douay-Rheims Bible
So Mary the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand: and all the women went forth after her with timbrels and with dances:

Darby Bible Translation
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the tambour in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambours and with dances.

English Revised Version
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her, with timbrels, and with dances.

World English Bible
Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.

Young's Literal Translation
And Miriam the inspired one, sister of Aaron, taketh the timbrel in her hand, and all the women go out after her, with timbrels and with choruses;
Study Bible
The Song of Miriam
20Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing. 21And Miriam sang back to them: “Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and rider He has thrown into the sea.”…
Cross References
Genesis 31:27
Why did you run away secretly and deceive me, without even telling me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and harps.

Exodus 2:4
And his sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Numbers 26:59
and Amram's wife was named Jochebed. She was also a descendant of Levi, born to Levi in Egypt. To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam.

Judges 11:34
And when Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, there was his daughter coming out to meet him with tambourines and dancing! She was his only child; he had no son or daughter besides her.

Judges 21:21
and watch. When you see the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, each of you is to come out of the vineyards, catch for himself a wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

1 Samuel 18:6
As the troops were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs, and with tambourines and other musical instruments.

2 Samuel 1:20
Tell it not in Gath; proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, and the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.

2 Samuel 6:14
And David, wearing a linen ephod, danced with all his might before the LORD,

1 Chronicles 6:3
The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

1 Chronicles 15:16
David also told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their relatives as singers to raise their voices with joy, accompanied by musical instruments--harps, lyres, and cymbals.

Psalm 30:11
You turned my mourning into dancing; You peeled off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

Psalm 68:11
The Lord gives the command; a great company of women proclaim it:

Psalm 68:25
The singers lead the way, the musicians follow after, among the maidens playing tambourines.

Psalm 81:2
Lift up a song, strike the tambourine, play the sweet-sounding harp and lyre.

Psalm 149:3
Let them praise His name with dancing, and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.

Psalm 150:4
Praise Him with tambourine and dancing; praise Him with the strings and flute.

Ecclesiastes 3:4
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Jeremiah 31:4
Again I will build you, and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out in joyful dancing.

Micah 6:4
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage. I sent Moses before you, as well as Aaron and Miriam.

Treasury of Scripture

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.

prophetess

Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

1 Samuel 10:5 After that you shall come to the hill of God, where is the garrison …

2 Kings 22:14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, …

Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of …

Acts 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered …

1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted …

sister

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

Numbers 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian …

Numbers 20:1 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into …

Numbers 26:59 And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, …

Micah 6:4 For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out …

a timbrel. Toph, in Arabic called duff or diff is the tabret used in the East; being a thin, broad, wooden hoop, with parchment extended over one side of it, to which small pieces of brass, thin, etc., are attached, which made a jingling noise; it is held up with one hand and beaten upon with the other, and is precisely the same as the tambourine. all the

Judges 11:34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh to his house, and, behold, his daughter …

Judges 21:21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance …

1 Samuel 18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the …

2 Samuel 6:5,14,16 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all …

Psalm 68:11,25 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it…

Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant harp with …

Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises to him …

Psalm 150:4 Praise him with the tambourine and dance: praise him with stringed …







(20) Miriam the prophetess.--In Miriam we have the first of that long series of religious women presented to us in Holy Scripture who are not merely pious and God-fearing, but exercise a quasi-ministerial office. Examples of other "prophetesses" will be found in Judges 4:4; 2Kings 22:14; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36. In the early Christian Church there was an order of "deaconesses (Romans 16:1; Apost. Const., vi. 17). The office of "prophetess" seems to have been permitted to women in Egypt, though that of "priestess" was, until Ptolemaic times, forbidden them.

The sister of Aaron.--She is called "sister of Aaron," rather than of Moses, because Aaron was the head of the family (Exodus 6:20; Exodus 7:7). There is no reasonable doubt that she was the sister who kept watch on Moses when he was in the ark of bulrushes (Exodus 2:3-8). On her later history, see Numbers 12:1-15. The prophet Micah regarded her as having had a part in the work of Israel's deliverance (Micah 6:4).

Timbrels and with dances.--By "timbrels" are meant tambours, or tambourines, favourite instruments in Egypt, and usually played by women there (Wilkinson: Ancient Egyptians, vol. i., p. 93). The combination of music with song in religious worship, here for the first time brought before us, became the fixed rule of the Tabernacle service from the time of David (2Samuel 6:15; 1Chronicles 23:5; 1Chronicles 25:1-6), and was adopted into the Temple service from its first establishment (2Chronicles 5:12). Sanctioned under the new covenant by the general praise of psalmody, and by the representations given in the Apocalypse of the Church triumphant in heaven (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2-3), it has always maintained itself in the Christian Church, and still holds its ground firmly. Dancing, on the contrary, though adopted into religious worship by many nations, sanctioned by the present passage, by the example of David (2Samuel 6:16), and by expressions in the Psalms (Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4), has never found an entrance into Christian ceremonial, unless among a few fanatic sects. The reason of this is to be found in the abuses which, through human infirmity, became by degrees connected with the practice, causing it to become unfit for a religious purpose. In the primitive times, however, solemn and stately dances were deemed appropriate to festival periods and religious rejoicings, and among the more moral tribes and nations had nothing unseemly about them.

The arrangement of the choir on this occasion into two bands--one of males, the other of females--and the combined employment of music, song, and dancing by the female band, are in close accord with Egyptian customs.

Verse 20. - Miriam, the prophetess. Miriam is regarded by the prophet Micah 6:4, as having had a share in the deliverance of Israel, and claims the prophetic gift in Numbers 12:2. Her claim appears to be allowed both in the present passage, and in Numbers 12:6-8. where the degree of her inspiration is placed below that of Moses. She is the first woman whom the Bible honours with the title of "prophetess." Prophetesses were common in Egypt at a much earlier date; and thus, that a woman should have the gift would have seemed no strange thing to the Hebrews. For examples of other prophetesses, see Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36. The sister of Aaron. Compare Numbers 26:59. Miriam is generally regarded as the sister of Moses mentioned in Exodus 2:4-8, whose name is not there given. If so, she was considerably older than either Moses or Aaron. Took a timbrel By "a timbrel" our translators meant what is now called "a tambourine." Such instruments were common in Egypt (Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, vol. 1. p. 93), and in the representations are generally played by women. The separation of the men and women into distinct bands was an Egyptian custom; as likewise was the execution of dances by performers who accompanied their steps with music (ibid. vol. it. pp. 235, 301). And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron,.... The same, it is highly probable, that is called the sister of Moses, Exodus 2:3, her name Miriam is the same as Mary with us, and signifies bitterness; and, as the Hebrews (x) observe, had it from the bitterness of the times, and the afflictions the Israelites endured and groaned under when she was born; which is a much more probable signification and reason of her name than what is given by others, that it is the same with Marjam, which signifies a drop of the sea; from whence, they fancy, came the story of Venus, and her name of Aphrodite, the froth of the sea: Miriam was a prophetess, and so called, not from this action of singing, here recorded of her, for so all the women that sung with her might be called prophetesses, though sometimes in Scripture prophesying intends singing; but rather from her having a gift of teaching and instructing, and even of foretelling things to come; for the Lord spoke by her as well as by Moses and Aaron, and she, with them, were the leaders of the people of Israel, sent to them of the Lord, see Numbers 12:2, she is particularly called the sister of Aaron, though she was likewise the sister of Moses; the reason is, that being older than Moses, she was Aaron's sister before his, and having lived all her days with Aaron almost, and very little with Moses, was best known by being the sister of Aaron; and it is possible she might be his own sister by father and mother's side, when Moses was by another woman; however, it is said of her, she

took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances; timbrels were a sort of drums or tabrets, which being beat upon gave a musical sound, somewhat perhaps like our kettledrums; and though dances were sometimes used in religious exercises, yet the word may signify another kind of musical instruments, as "pipes" or "flutes" (y), as it is by some rendered; and by the Syriac and Arabic versions, "sistrums"; which were musical instruments much used by the Egyptians, and from whom the Israelitish women had these; and as they were going to keep a feast in the wilderness, they lent them to them, it is very probable, on that account; otherwise it is not easy to conceive what use the Israelites could have for them, and put them to during their hard bondage and sore affliction in Egypt: now with these they went out of the camp or tents into the open fields, or to the shore of the Red sea, and sung as Moses and the men of Israel did: to this the psalmist seems to refer in Psalm 68:25.

(x) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 3. p. 9. Dibre Hayamim, fol. 2. 2. (y) "cum fistulis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "cum tibiis", Drusius; so Ainsworth. 20. Miriam the prophetess—so called from her receiving divine revelations (Nu 12:1; Mic 6:4), but in this instance principally from her being eminently skilled in music, and in this sense the word "prophecy" is sometimes used in Scripture (1Ch 25:1; 1Co 11:5).

took a timbrel—or "tabret"—a musical instrument in the form of a hoop, edged round with rings or pieces of brass to make a jingling noise and covered over with tightened parchment like a drum. It was beat with the fingers, and corresponds to our tambourine.

all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances—We shall understand this by attending to the modern customs of the East, where the dance—a slow, grave, and solemn gesture, generally accompanied with singing and the sound of the timbrel, is still led by the principal female of the company, the rest imitating her movements and repeating the words of the song as they drop from her lips.15:1-21 This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man. Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to be humbly adored.
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