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Numbers 12:11-16

Context
The Intercession of Moses

12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, 1  please do not hold this sin against us, in which we have acted foolishly and have sinned! 12:12 Do not let her be like a baby born dead, whose flesh is half-consumed when it comes out of its 2  mother’s womb!”

12:13 Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” 3  12:14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had only spit 4  in her face, would she not have been disgraced for seven days? Shut her out from the camp seven days, and afterward she can be brought back in again.”

12:15 So Miriam was shut outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not journey on until Miriam was brought back in. 5  12:16 After that the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

1 tn The expression בִּי אֲדֹנִי (biadoni, “O my lord”) shows a good deal of respect for Moses by Aaron. The expression is often used in addressing God.

2 tc The words “its mother” and “its flesh” are among the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the text originally had here “our mother” and “our flesh,” but the ancient scribes changed these pronouns from the first person to the third person. Apparently they were concerned that the image of Moses’ mother giving birth to a baby with physical defects of the sort described here was somehow inappropriate, given the stature and importance of Moses.

3 tc Some scholars emend אֵל (’el, “God”) to עַל(’al, “no”). The effect of this change may be seen in the NAB: “‘Please, not this! Pray, heal her!’”

4 tn The form is intensified by the infinitive absolute, but here the infinitive strengthens not simply the verbal idea but the conditional cause construction as well.

5 tn The clause has the Niphal infinitive construct after a temporal preposition.



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