“As she watched the fire of God move and breathe like a spirit ablaze, somehow she knew. He cared for her. She might never see His face, but she had felt His touch. And that was enough.”
This may be the first book by Jill Eileen Smith that I’ve read, but it most certainly won’t be the last! Biblical fiction is difficult enough as a genre when using fictional characters who serve as onlookers to major historical events, but taking on the formidable task of writing about some of the main Biblical figures is something else altogether. As Smith herself mentions in her note to readers at the end of this book, there is not much information about Miriam in the Bible, and extracting her character means working through that of her brothers Aaron and especially Moses. In doing so, Miriam emerges as a woman who has been called by God to serve, alongside her brothers, in leading His chosen people out of Egyptian slavery.
So many aspects of this familiar Old Testament story struck me anew as I read Miriam’s Song, not the least of which is a fresh appreciation for the men and women who paved the way for the eventual coming of Jesus. To think that at the time of Moses and the Exodus, the people had not heard from God in four hundred and thirty years! Jochebed refers to her son, the infant Moses, as their “tikvah,” or hope, and years later Miriam’s husband Jephunneh tells Miriam to “Pray God will do something, because if He does not, there is no hope.” Those whom God raised up throughout the Old Testament prove that every person has a propensity for sin, thereby making Christ’s coming and sacrifice necessary to enable God to live among us.
As I read, Smith’s perspective of this time in Biblical history revealed connections that I hadn’t necessarily made before. I can see parallels between the Exodus and the coming Tribulation, as well as between some of the Egyptians joining the Hebrews in fleeing Egypt and, later, the Gentiles joining God’s chosen people for salvation through Jesus. Similarly, I don’t think that I had ever really honed in on the fact that the ten plagues which God released on Egypt also afflicted those Hebrews who had followed sinful Egyptian practices, or that each plague was clearly aimed at defeating a specific Egyptian god. As Miriam attests, “She had never considered that God would judge His own people as well as their oppressors. But sin was sin, and she knew deep within her that no sin went unnoticed by their God.” Miriam learns that they are the ones holding themselves back from the Promised Land, and instead of becoming frustrated and angry with God and with Moses, she recognizes that “If only the people would realize that to obey was freedom. To rebel only brought heartache and loss.” Some things never change!
Related in five parts with third-person narration, Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith delves into the largely-unknown life of Moses’ older sister, Miriam. While fictional, it remains true to the Biblical account in regard to historical events, taking artistic liberty to explore the possible perspective and life of Miriam, prophetess of God and leader of women during the Exodus and afterward. Time lapses in the narrative can be a bit abrupt but are understandable and handled well, with a succinct explanation of the intervening years. I highly recommend this Biblical fiction novel to fans of the genre and to anyone interested in the Exodus and the life of the Hebrews during that time.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥
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