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The women who saved Moses: Miriam’s ministry, spiritual gifts, and role as prophetess

In a special bonus series of the Sunday on Monday podcast, host Tammy Uzelac-Hall and her guests learn about women in the Old Testament and their contributions to the overall narrative of the Bible. In the following excerpt, Tammy and her friend Mandy Green are deep in discussion about Miriam, who was one of the six women mentioned in the prophet Moses’s life. This excerpt has been edited for clarity.

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Tammy Uzelac-Hall: If you notice this theme, we have these women who are saving Moses. Shiphrah and Puah saved him, his mother saved him, and then Miriam, his older sister, is going to save him. Mandy’s going to teach us about Miriam, and I’m so excited.

Mandy Green: Miriam is actually super heroic and super amazing. She is … the prototype of women who are really critical in the work and the glory of our heavenly parents. She’s actually the first woman given the title of prophetess, the first one to have the title nevi’a—that’s from the Jewish Women’s Archive. So, let me read this from that website: “Though the meaning of the term prophet is here indeterminate, Miriam is the first woman ever to bear it. She becomes thereby the archetype of the female prophetic tradition, even as Moses heads the male.” And the word nevi in Hebrew means “to gush up, to bubble up like a spring.” And it’s so interesting to me that Miriam is always found near the water, which is a very feminine symbol. Here she is in the water, gushing up, providing an outlet for Moses.

Additionally, she’s not just like, “Oh, Mom, you’re making me put this basket in [the water and] I’m going to get busted.” She’s following it all the way to Pharaoh’s daughter. In fact, it would not surprise me if [the basket] was directed toward Pharaoh’s daughter. … Notice that [Miriam] is always there on the scene. I heard my wise sister-in-law Whitney say, “So much of what we do [in religion] is about showing up. Showing up is half the battle.” Miriam is always there. She’s always in proximity, and I think that’s so instructive.

She also has tremendous spiritual gifts and tremendous influence and power. I mean, she’s there in the Nile when Pharaoh’s daughter pulls the basket out of the water, and … I want us to elevate our thoughts to this complex life situation. Here is Pharaoh’s daughter, and could she get a wet nurse [to nurse this baby]?

Tammy Uzelac-Hall: Easily.

Mandy Green: Yeah, she probably has a palace full of them. At the time Pharaoh had lots of different women bearing children. So it’s interesting that Miriam shows up, this Hebrew girl, and she’s like, “Hey, I know a woman.” Pharaoh’s daughter is no chump, I’m telling you that right now, yet she’s like, “OK.” So instantly, there’s this unspoken [connection]—and I’m totally adding my own take on this—[but] whether it’s true or not, I want you to think about this exchange: As Miriam says, “I know a wet nurse,” Pharaoh’s daughter is going to see that this is a Hebrew baby, and … yet she is like, “What the hey, we’re going to go forward with this.” That [influence] is just the beginning of Miriam’s tremendous—and I mean tremendous— ministry. She has tremendous spiritual gifts.

To learn more about Miriam and meet some of the 54 unnamed women in the Old Testament, go to Also find new Sunday on Monday canvas tote bags at Deseret Book and

Editor's note: This article appeared first in the July/August issue of LDS Living magazine. Subscribe today for inspiring content right in your mailbox.

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