Exodus 15:20

Hebrew Bible

18 The Lord will reign forever and ever! 19 For the horses of Pharaoh came with his chariots and his footmen into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the Israelites walked on dry land in the middle of the sea.” 20 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. 21 Miriam sang in response to them, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea.” 22 Then Moses led Israel to journey away from the Red Sea. They went out to the wilderness of Shur, walked for three days into the wilderness, and found no water.

Jeremiah 31:4

Hebrew Bible

2 The Lord says:“The people of Israel who survived death at the hands of the enemy will find favor in the wilderness as they journey to find rest for themselves. 3 In a faraway land the Lord will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you. 4 I will rebuild you, my dear children Israel, so that you will once again be built up. Once again you will take up the tambourine and join in the happy throng of dancers. 5 Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria. Those who plant them will once again enjoy their fruit. 6 Yes, a time is coming when watchmen will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,“Come! Let us go to Zion to worship the Lord our God!”’”

 Notes and References

"... Exodus 15:20–21 presents Miriam as the author and singer of another song, which presently functions in a secondary role in the text as a conclusion to the more prominent Song of the Sea, even though it may represent the more original hymn. The literary design suggests the loss of the role of women in ancient Israel in the formation of the Hebrew Bible. The feminist commentator Rita Burns summarizes the situation: “It can be said that the primary characteristic of the biblical portrait of Miriam is that she was a leader in the wilderness. In addition, it can be said that, although the texts do not yield a single role designation of her leadership position, they do firmly reflect traditions which regarded Miriam as a cult official and as a mediator of God’s word.” The interpretation of Exodus 15:20–21 provides a window into the gender-segregated roles of women in the institutions of the Hebrew Bible, which contemporary feminists have sought to recover. According to this text, Miriam, along with a group of women, sang a victory song to Israelite warriors returning from battle. The text indicates that as the women sang they played musical instruments. Other examples of women musicians singing celebratory songs can be found in 1 Samuel 18:6; Jeremiah 31:4, as well as the related examples of Judges 11:34 and 5:1. Some feminist biblical scholars infer from these examples that there may have been training and practice sessions geared only to girls and women ..."

Steinberg, Naomi "Feminist Criticism" in Dozeman, Thomas B. (ed.) Methods for Exodus (pp. 163-192) Cambridge University Press, 2010

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