Exodus 15:19-21, Miriam’s Song

For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. 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. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

//How do you picture God? Do you imagine him to be a heartless conqueror, reveling in the destruction of his enemies? Did God share in Miriam’s song, and glory in her praise, for the way he drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea?

This is hardly the way we imagine our God of love today, right? Stories like this one hardly warm our hearts, for we cannot help but sympathize with our enemies. It’s what we’ve been taught to do. And so, too, did the Jews evolve in their feelings about God.

The midrash (Babylonian Talmud Megilla 10b) says that when Miriam began to sing God’s praises, the angels in heaven took up the song, but God did not join in the celebration. Searching, the angels found God weeping. When they asked why, God responded, “My creatures are drowning in the sea and you want me to sing praises?”

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