Romans says that God is not partial to any man. But in Numbers 12, we see Him severely punish Miriam, without punishing Aaron, in the matter of their opposition to Moses’ marriage to the Cushite woman.
Moreover, didn’t the Law explicitly prohibit intercultural marriages? Why did God not hold Moses accountable for marrying outside Israel, when we see Him stop the plague in Numbers 25 only after Phineas, the son of Eleazer, kills the Israelite who’d married a Midianite (something else that Moses had done)?
Since this query has three parts to it, let’s begin by addressing God’s dealings with Miriam and Aaron in Numbers 12, where God gave Miriam leprosy — even though Aaron had also committed the same mistake she did (speaking against Moses).
Here are possible reasons for what we see in Numbers 12:
It was God’s design that the priesthood would continue through Aaron and his sons
All in all, we don’t see any partiality from God’s part; He dealt with Aaron’s sins periodically and, by not doing anything that would threaten or destroy Aaron’s calling of priesthood, God exercised immense grace toward him.
Speaking of partiality, the same God who gave vocal, audible support of Moses, in fact, dealt with an act of disobedience from him (Numbers 20:2-13), where He refused to allow Moses and Aaron enter the promised land, despite multiple requests Moses made (Deuteronomy 3:23-28).
The second part of today’s question deals with the ethnicity of Moses’s wife. Here are two things to know:
With that being said, God used imperfect people and situations that were contrary to the Law He had given for His overall purpose of creating a people group for Himself. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all violated some rules that God gave pertaining to marriages. Joseph, like Moses, also married interracially. God didn’t condone interracial marriages or any deviations that his law forbids, just because those people were chosen by God.
God used imperfect people and situations that were contrary to the Law He had given for His overall purpose of creating a people group for himself
The third part of today’s question mentions Numbers 25, but what happened there had nothing in common with what Moses had done. In that passage, the people of Israel involved willfully in cultic prostitution with the daughters of Moab and idol worship of Baal of Peor. God was angry and ordered the execution of those who broke faith with Him and commanded them to be hanged in front of everyone, so that they would know God’s anger upon those who violated His law.
As the whole congregation wept near the tabernacle at the sight of that punishment, a man named Zimri (son of a chief of a father’s house) from the tribe of Simeon brought a Midianite woman named Cozbi (daughter of a tribal head in Midian) into his family to have sexual relations. This act would have led to him following Canaanite religions and their perverted rituals, even when Israel was grieving over the very same sins.
This is why Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, reacted by killing both of them. As a result, the plague was stopped.
In short, the question of interracial marriages, and laws prohibiting them, were always in the context of the danger of pagan worship and beliefs infiltrating Israel, and this is what God prohibited. This was violated by King Solomon as well.
God wasn’t partial in his dealings with Moses or anyone. He did everything in the context of the covenant that He made with His people, and in line with His characteristics.
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