Miriam the prophetess and the drum

 

After the Children of Israel succeeded in crossing the Red Sea and the troops of Pharoah were destroyed and the children of Israel sing the famous Song of the Sea in Exodus 15:20 it is written:

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the tambourine (drum) in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing:

The question arises: why does the text state ‘Miriam the Prophetess’? i.e. what did she prophesy. Many rabbinical texts have discussed this point but few have come to a reasonable conclusion. Moreover why does it state she took the drum and not just ‘a drum’ – in the Hebrew text the term ‘the drum’ is ‘et ha tof’התף את – where grammatically the word ‘et’ means an emphatic ‘the’.

If we turn to I Kings 6:1 we read

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord:

The crossing the Red Sea took place on the eighth day after the Passover night.

Thus the Lord saved Israel on that day from the hand of the Egyptians (Exodus 14:30)

The word for drum in Hebrew is tof, spelt taf peh ת פ whose gematrical value are 80+400= 480. Hence Miriam by taking ‘Et ha Tof’ ‘the drum’ was a prophetess because she was using the drum to announce the future construction of the temple in 480 years time under King Solomon. It was the number of years from ‘that day’' - the 8th day after the Passover that the construction of the temple by Solomon began.

 

 

 

 
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