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The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.
At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
To Mary Cooley, my feisty eighty-six-year-old mama, a woman with Miriam’s strength, faith, and passion.
Note to Reader
Research for both The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam sent me into a different world. Historians and archaeologists disagree on many things about Egypt, but on one thing they’re utterly united— ancient Egypt was unique, unlike any other nation on earth. Egyptians recorded their distinctiveness. They flaunted it, lauded it, and guarded it. Until the Ramessid kings came to power.
The Ramessid kings were warriors, explorers, and builders who ex- panded Egypt’s borders, brought the outside world in, and caused Egypt to lose a portion of its distinctiveness. However, under the Ramessid’s New Kingdom, trade flourished and building projects surged, meaning the need for laborers in Egypt’s Nile delta increased a hundredfold.
So they put slave masters over [the Israelites] to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly. (Exodus 1:11–14)
Bible stories mean so much more when we understand the culture and political climate in which the characters lived. I pray that as Miriam’s story unfolds, you’ll be driven back to God’s Word to discover the truth behind the fiction.
When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.
— Numbers 12:6
I am Miriam, old but of use. I am a slave, a midwife, a healer with herbs. This is what I do, but El Shaddai makes me who I am. The Hebrews call me prophetess; the Egyptians, a seer. But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai. When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.
During my eighty-six inundations, His presence has swelled within me like the Nile’s waters, quenching my thirst, meeting every need. No relationship imprisons me. No task consumes me. No despair conquers me. I’m His alone, free to love others as He loves me.
But as I dab my parents’ brows, creeping dread crawls up my arms like a living thing. Last night’s dreams have shaken our divine union. El Shaddai, Your messages have always been so clear. Why not give the meaning with the dreams?
I know they portend death. But whose? Fear coils around my heart like a serpent. Please don’t take my parents, Shaddai. A ridiculous re- quest, I know. Abba Amram has seen 137 inundations and Ima Jochebed, They are the wonder of the tribe of Levi, and even the Egyptians whisper rumors of a slave couple favored by the gods.
Abba’s chest rises and falls with shallow breaths. Ima snores quietly. My heart will break when I must say good-bye. A flash of light, and my mind grows dark . . . until Shaddai shows me a single soldier walking toward me. It’s Eleazar. Last night’s dream crea- tures dance around him, taunting, but he can’t see them. My nephew walks quickly, calling my name. As suddenly as it came, the vision is gone.
Abba and Ima sleep peacefully while I lean into the constant pres- ence of my Shaddai. Eleazar will arrive soon with our morning rations, but now I know last night’s dreams have something to do with him. Thank You, my Shaddai, for Your tender consolation. For though the evil creatures tested and taunted, they could not destroy him. But I know there’s more to the dreams than that. Show me, Shaddai. Show me more.
A warm breeze stirs the stifling air within our mud-brick house, and I know it’s El Shaddai. All right, I’ ll try to be patient. New-found peace grapples with niggling angst. I’ll sing. Singing always soothes me, lifts me, transports me deeper into His presence.
The tune is the same. Haunting, groaning, yearning. But something changes. The breeze dies. A strange chill races up my spine. I hum a fa- miliar melody, waiting for new words of praise that never come—like the dream without a message.
Heart racing, eyes burning, my soul cries out, El Shaddai, are You there?
I look out our window. The sun still shines. The birds still sing. But a chill breeze stirs in the hot sun, and I know. Change is coming. Change is here.
The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go."
[The Egyptians] made [the Israelites’] lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
— E xo d us 1 : 1 4
Dawn’s haze barely glowed over the eastern hills when the first in- jured slave leaned against Miriam’s doorframe and peered around her curtain. “I’ve come from the plateau mud pits and have no way to pay you. Will you tend my wounds?” He averted his eyes, drew a breath, and held it. Was he waiting for rejection?
“Yes, yes, come in.” Miriam rocked to her feet and hurried to wel- come him before his courage failed.
He stepped over the threshold but hesitated after two steps onto her packed-dirt floor. “Others told me Israel’s prophetess offered care for free, but I didn’t believe it.”
Miriam guided him to her sleeping mat, inspecting his wounds on the way. Besides the obvious cuts and bruises on his face, he bore deep whipping wounds on his mud-caked back. “I’m certainly not opposed to payment, but I can’t turn away a child of Abraham in need.”
He laughed without humor. “Well then, you’ll likely meet several of Abraham’s children today. The temperature is rising quickly, and the slave masters’ tempers rise with it.”
Miriam eased him down on her mat, giving him only partial atten- tion while she listened for El Shaddai’s guidance on proper treatment. Shaddai, You know I can’t minister to Your people without Your instruction.
She’d been trained as a midwife by her friend Shiphrah, but treating in- juries and wounds had come through years of experience—and revela- tions from God, who alone knew the intricacies of the human body.
The man must have noted her hesitation and pointed to his left side. “I think my ribs are broken. The guard hit me in the face and belly after he whipped me and then kicked my side when I doubled over. I need to get back to work before anyone notices I’m gone.”
“Let’s clean up your back first, and then I’ll check your ribs and belly.” She could apply honey to his cuts without a vision to direct her, but she needed Shaddai’s wisdom to detect internal injuries. Working quickly, she pleaded with God to speak, but He remained silent. Her heart pounded wildly. Shaddai, where are You? I feel like I’ve lost my right arm without Your breath on my spirit.
“Lean back so I can check your belly.” Hands shaking, she pressed on the man’s abdomen and, though it was obviously sensitive, the tenderness seemed commensurate with a simple gut punch. “I don’t think you’re bleeding inside. I’ll wrap your ribs for support so you can keep working.” Before she could turn to gather the strips of linen, he grabbed her arm. “Thank you, prophetess. I’m sorry I have no grain or milk to give for your services.” He dropped his eyes in shame.
Miriam cupped his cheek, as she had hundreds of plateau slaves before him. “El Shaddai provides for my needs. He is the One True God, and one day He will deliver us all from bondage.”
The man’s look of shame turned quickly to a bitter smile. “I hope your healing talents are better than your prophetic skills. El Shaddai cast us aside when Joseph died.”
“But He hasn’t cast us aside,” she said. “He speaks every day if we will only listen. We must never forget we’re His chosen people.”
The man winced, struggling to sit up. “If this is what it means to be chosen by your God, I’d rather serve Anubis and take my chances in Egypt’s afterlife.”
“Get out.” A deep male voice intruded, and Miriam knew without looking that her nephew Eleazar had heard the slave’s comment. “You came to my doda Miriam for help, but instead you insult her. Now, get out.” His size and bearing were even more imposing in Miriam’s small room.
“I’m sorry! I’ll—” The slave tried to stand, but Miriam pressed on his shoulders, forcing him back on her mat.
“You’ll sit there until I wrap your chest, and you’ll listen—without interruption—about El Shaddai and His good plan for Israel.” Miriam waved a finger at her nephew on her way to the basket of linen bandages. “And you will stop frightening my patients.”
Eleazar crossed the small room in four strides. “Pharaoh has sum- moned you to the throne hall—immediately. You don’t have time to help an ungrateful slave.”
“Pharaoh can wait. There will be more wounded today because of this heat. I’m sure Pharaoh would rather see bricks made than talk to a simple midwife.” She stepped around her towering nephew and began binding the slave’s chest as tightly as he could bear. “Now, this is why we are called Shaddai’s chosen people. When He chose to bless Abraham, He promised that all nations would be blessed through him and that Abraham’s descendants would one day possess the land of Canaan. But our bondage isn’t a surprise to El Shaddai. He warned Abraham that his de- scendants would become slaves for four hundred years in a country not their own before they inherited the Land of Promise.”
“Doda, now.” Eleazar tapped his sandal on the packed-dirt floor. “Pharaoh said you must come now.”
Miriam eyed her nephew beneath a scornful brow and returned her attention to the wayward slave. “If my abba Amram’s calculations are correct, we will see the end of the four hundred years in our lifetimes.” A shiver of excitement raced through her. “Can you imagine being free from this place?” She tied the last bandage and expected the slave to share her joy.
Instead, she saw only anger.
“Your family lives in Goshen, in the valley, which means long life and plenty of provisions. Not so with families on the plateau. My abba died when I was four, and no doubt I’ll die before my son grows to man- hood.” He turned to Eleazar. “I mean no disrespect to the prophetess, but
I cannot trust a God who not only allows His people to suffer, but allows such disparity among us.”Miriam’s heart plummeted. She knew Eleazar’s response before he spoke it.
“I don’t trust such a God either, friend. Now, get out.”
Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.
— E xo d us 6 : 2 0
Eleazar’s patience was wearing thin, but Doda refused to leave until he visited with Saba Amram and Savta Jochebed. “We appreciate that you share your palace rations with us each day,” Doda said, “but your grandparents are more interested in seeing you than your food.”
She was right, of course. Saba and Savta would be terribly disap- pointed if they woke and found both he and Doda gone, and Eleazar would rather face the Hittites in battle than disappoint his grandparents.
Slipping through the dividing curtain into the adjoining room, Doda knelt beside two sleeping forms. Saba Amram lay on his side, back facing the door, arm over the frail frame of his beloved Jochebed. They’d been married, as near as they could remember, almost ninety inundations.
Doda Miriam had lived in this two-room dwelling all her life— except for the time she’d served as handmaid to the pharaoh’s daughter, the same woman who had saved Doda’s brother Moses and raised him as a prince of Egypt. When Moses’s heritage was discovered, the pharaoh’s daughter was saved from execution by the king’s merciful bodyguard and hidden among Hebrews. She was given a Hebrew name—Bithiah—and married the Chief Linen Keeper, a slave named Mered, who shared ad- joining rooms with Doda, Saba, and Savta in this long house. Mered’s family had grown and moved to another village, but Doda had remained here to care for Saba and Savta—and everyone else too poor to afford Egyptian physicians.
Eleazar ran his fingers over the marks on the doorway, lines drawn to measure his height as he grew up. His younger brother Ithamar’s growth was measured on the opposite doorframe. They’d always been Doda’s favorites—no doubt because Abba Aaron and Ima Elisheba were too busy doting on his older brothers, Nadab and Abihu. A sigh escaped be- fore Eleazar could recapture it.
Doda jostled Saba Amram’s shoulder. “Eleazar brought his rations for us. Your favorites, nabk-berry bread and boiled goose eggs.” She waved the delights in front of his nose as he woke, and Eleazar chuckled at the sparkle in Saba’s rheumy eyes.
The commotion woke Savta Jochebed, and her sweet smile wel- comed Eleazar like a warm hug. “Good morning, our sweet boy.”
Eleazar was forty-seven years old, bodyguard of Pharaoh’s second firstborn, and as a war-seasoned military slave, had been given the posi- tion of slave commander at Rameses. Would he always be Savta’s sweet boy ? An unsanctioned grin assaulted him. He hoped so. “Good morning, Savta. Are you well?”
“Of course we are well.” Saba bounced his eyebrows. “We have nabk- berry bread!”
Chuckles around their small circle released Eleazar from the shroud of Pharaoh’s morning tantrum but reminded him of his duty. “I’m sorry I can’t stay longer, but Ramesses has summoned Doda Miriam to the throne hall to interpret his nightmares.”
“Nightmares.” Doda whispered reverently. “Those must be the dreams El Shaddai showed me last night.” With a wistful sigh, she set aside the food and reached for Saba and Savta. “Pharaoh can wait until we help your grandparents sit up against the wall to eat their fine meal.” Eleazar sprang into action, lifting them gently and stuffing straw behind their backs to make them more comfortable.
When he glanced around the room, Doda was returning with a bowl of water and cloths. “I’ll just give them a quick bath before we go.”
“Absolutely not!” His heated reply startled his elders, and the gentle rebuke in Saba Amram’s knitted brow silenced him.
Saba searched Eleazar’s face as if mining for copper. “You’re fright- ened for Miriam to appear in front of Pharaoh. Why?” Saba Amram had always been able to read him like a scroll.
“I mentioned to Prince Ram months ago that Doda interpreted dreams. It was stupid of me to ever mention my family. Now he has a weapon to use against me.” Eleazar held Doda Miriam’s gaze. “Simply interpret the dreams and leave. Say nothing to antagonize Ramesses.”
“If El Shaddai tells me the meaning, I’ll give the interpretation.”
The floor seemed to shift beneath him. “If ? You always know the meanings of dreams. What do you mean if ?”
Doda waved away his question like a fly from her stew. “Shaddai showed me the dreams, so we must believe He’ll give the interpretation when I stand before Ramesses.”
Eleazar opened his mouth, but no words came. Groping in the si- lence, he looked to Saba Amram for help. “I can’t take her to Ramesses if she can’t interpret the dreams. He’ll kill her.”
“Come here, daughter.” Saba extended his blue-veined hand and pulled Doda close. “El Shaddai has been faithful to us our whole lives. But you must be careful. Egypt’s kings once dealt shrewdly with the He- brews, but Ramesses abandons all pretense. He needs no reason to kill a Hebrew.”
Doda bowed on one knee and pressed her forehead against Sa- ba’s hand. “Pray for me, Abba. I don’t feel El Shaddai’s presence this morning.”
Fear sucked the wind from Eleazar’s chest as he watched his three elders bow their heads in prayer. He felt like an outsider—as he always did when they spoke of their God—but worse, he felt responsible for leading his doda into danger.
With a wink and a kiss, Doda received encouragement from Saba and Savta, rocked to her feet, and grabbed her walking stick on her way out of the long house. Barely a few steps outside, Eleazar could stand it no longer. “What do you mean you don’t feel Shaddai’s presence? He’s invisible. How can an invisible God be any more present one day than another?”
She answered without slowing her pace or looking his direction. “El Shaddai’s presence is more real to me than the Nile. He is the air I breathe. He is the beating of my heart. I converse with Him all day long, and He replies—in His own way. But this morning was different. He is silent.”
Eleazar swallowed a growing lump in his throat and halted his doda. “I can’t take you to Ramesses unless I know your God will give you the interpretation. I can’t keep you safe when we’re surrounded by Egyptian guards in the throne hall.”
“You can’t keep anyone safe, dear.” She patted his cheek. “That’s up to El Shaddai.”
The look in her eyes was sincere, but sincerity wouldn’t save her from Ramesses. “If I had left you and Saba and Savta in El Shaddai’s care all these years, you would have starved by now.” How many hundreds of times had they had this conversation?
With a snort, she began marching toward the city again, but Doda needed to face the glaring truth. “Half of my rations barely keep you, Saba, and Savta alive. Why don’t you tend to the injuries of people who can pay you?”
“Sometimes the slaves bring me grain or a loaf of bread, and I have a small garden. El Shaddai always provides for us.”
“Why can’t Abba Aaron share a loaf of bread once in a while? Or my selfish ima give you some of her grain rations?”
Doda stopped and planted both fists on her hips. “You will not speak disrespectfully of your parents. Regardless of their shortcomings, you will honor them because they gave you life.” She cocked her head, waiting for Eleazar’s acknowledgement.
With his single nod, they resumed their walk. Eleazar reached inside his leather breast piece for his portion of rations and handed his bread to Doda. “You didn’t have time to eat before we left. Eat.”
She accepted, took her first bite, and lolled it to the side that still had a few teeth. “Why don’t you talk while I eat?” Her smile was full of mischief.
He tried to maintain his stern bearing, but a chuckle betrayed him. They walked on a narrow path between canals that had been swollen by the Nile’s inundation. Slaves lined both sides, making mud bricks for the city’s extensive building projects, while Egyptian slave drivers cracked their whips and shouted orders. Eleazar kept his voice low and his eyes averted. “These dreams have made Pharaoh even more unpredictable. You must be careful. Ramesses may tolerate some of your antics because he respects our family’s longevity. Age means blessing even to Egyptians, but please, none of your impudence.”
“I think that’s more than I’ve heard you say since last year’s inundation.” She raised both eyebrows and took another bite of bread. “I’ll in- terpret the dreams, and then we’ll leave so you and I can talk about your marriage.”
That grin of hers broke him every time. He laughed and squeezed her arm tight against his side. “I’m not getting married—ever. You’re relentless.”
“I learned it from your saba Amram. Why do you think he’s 137 years old?”
The reminder both warmed and terrified Eleazar. Doda, Saba, and Savta were his life. The thought of losing them haunted him day and night. Why had he mentioned to Prince Ramesses that Doda Miriam interpreted one of his dreams years ago? He’d been so careful never to reveal family members’ names. Too many Hebrew women were pun- ished for a husband’s or father’s sins.
He pulled Doda closer as they walked. “Doda, just interpret his dream. Nothing else. No more words. Then I’ll take you home.”
Popping the last bite of bread into her mouth, she clapped bread- crumbs from her hands. “I promise I’ll say only what my Shaddai tells me to say.”
No matter how much he begged, she’d never promise anything else. Her Shaddai, as she called Him, had been the single light in her dark world. Since his first battlefield, Eleazar had seen the folly of trusting any god, but he would never begrudge Doda or his grandparents their archaic traditions. In fact, their beliefs were undoubtedly what had kept them alive through the changes they’d seen in their lifetimes.
He watched Doda’s expression change to deep sadness as they left the canals and entered the thriving industrial section of the city of Rameses. She’d often told him of the single linen shop her friend Mered oversaw before the quiet Avaris estate grew to become the capital city of Rameses. Now this industrial section boasted multiple buildings, eight of which housed the finest byssus-linen production in the world.
The city of Rameses was the last stop on the Way of Horus—the world’s most lucrative trade route. In addition to weaving the byssus linen, Hebrew slaves kept the king’s brewery, winery, and metal shop producing other quality products that were traded in markets from Elam to Hatti.
Pharaoh Ramesses had built this namesake city on the backs of his Hebrew slaves. After using their blood for mortar and crushing their bones with its bricks, he made the city his home.
“Keep your head bowed as we go through the gates,” Eleazar said as they approached the palace complex. “The guards know I’m Prince Ram’s guard, but they’ll use any excuse to beat us both.”
She bowed her head and remained silent.
“How long since you’ve visited the palace complex?” He wasn’t cer- tain when she’d last served the king’s harem as midwife.
Head still bowed, Doda spoke in barely a whisper. “I haven’t left the slave village since Pharaoh Sety died, almost thirty years ago. When Ramesses became king, he wanted only Egyptian midwives attending his harem.”
They passed through the gates unmolested, and Eleazar breathed easier. Doda tugged at the sleeve of her robe, and Eleazar tucked her under his arm. “No one will see your harem brand. They use a different symbol for Ramesses’s concubines anyway.”
Her eyes glistened. “Do you really believe people would think I’m Ramesses’s concubine?” She shook her head with a derisive grin. “Women with a harem brand today could be concubines or simply slave girls, but when I bore this brand, it meant the master possessed a woman com- pletely.” Doda looked up to impress her meaning. “The master who owned me was my brother Moses—posing as an Egyptian prince.”
Of course, everyone knew the story of Eleazar’s uncle, Prince Mehy. Best friend and vizier to Ramesses’s father, Pharaoh Sety, Mehy had been a Hebrew infant rescued from the Nile by King Tut’s sister and raised as the Egyptian master of the Avaris estate. Tut’s sister, Amira Anippe, had hidden his Hebrew parentage but secretly allowed Miriam to call him Moses. When Eleazar was a boy of seven, Prince Mehy had come knock- ing on Saba’s long-house door in the night, begging help to flee. Pharaoh Sety had discovered his Hebrew heritage and ordered his execution. Prince Mehy stood at Saba’s door, trembling in a filthy rough-spun robe flung over his pristine linen shenti and Gold of Praise collar. Eleazar rec- ognized Hebrew fear on his Egyptian-looking uncle before the man ran into the night. Good riddance, Prince Mehy.
“Are you listening?” Doda Miriam shook his arm. “My brother
Moses owned this estate before anyone knew he was a Hebrew.”
“I know, Doda.” Eleazar pointed toward the palace bathing room at the base of the entry ramp and steered her toward it, hoping to distract her from the rest of the oft-told story. It didn’t work.
“Moses branded me so the estate guards would think I was his con- cubine. The mark made me untouchable. It protected me until I was past the age of the guards’ interest.”
Eleazar nodded but kept silent. Why did his elders insist on telling the same stories again and again? He drew her close and kissed the top of her head as he led her into the public bath chamber.
Ceremonial washing had become mandatory since the days when Doda visited the palace. Every slave, merchant, criminal, or king must now be cleansed before bowing to Egypt’s god on his throne. Eleazar grabbed a clean robe and guided his doda toward a stone sink. “Splash your hands, arms, face, and neck.” He kept his head bowed, but Doda gawked at the crowd of male and female bathers. Some disrobed com- pletely in the open, while others stepped behind the curtained partitions lining the inner wall. Eleazar shook Doda gently from her trance. “Keep your eyes downcast and bathe quickly.”
He waited as she took a stone wash basin behind one of the curtained partitions. Though he’d visited the bathing room a dozen times, even he found it hard not to stare. Nubians, wearing nothing but strings and feathers, splashed cool Nile water over their deep black skin. Merchants from the Far East carefully avoided getting water on their oiled and curled beards, and chained prisoners from Hatti winced as the water grazed open wounds.
Doda reappeared wearing the simple but luxurious white linen robe, her rough-spun robe draped over the brand on her forearm. After empty- ing her small basin into the gutter that funneled the dirty water back to the river, she nestled under his arm. “I’m ready.”
Eleazar’s chest constricted. He’d never realized how much the brand bothered her. “Doda, you must leave your old robe in the dressing room. You can’t take it into the throne hall.”
“The sleeves are too short.” Her eyes pleaded, but her jaw was set like stone.
“Doda . . .” Eleazar glanced at the crowded bathing chamber and guided her to a secluded corner. “You’re eighty-six. Everyone knows Prince Mehy’s story—”
“But not everyone knows I was his sister,” she said too loud, gaining the attention of several bathers. Doda took a deep breath and lowered her voice. “Those who do know I was Prince Mehy’s sister may think the worst. The only Hebrews who knew the truth, other than your grandpar- ents, are dead.” Her eyes pooled with tears as she searched Eleazar’s face. “Gossip and this brand made marriage impossible. But my devotion to Shaddai made marriage unnecessary.”
Stunned, Eleazar had never realized the brand caused Hebrews to believe Doda was defiled by her own brother. He burned with new hatred for his dohd Moses—a man he vaguely remembered. “I didn’t know you wanted to marry.”
She wiped her eyes and waved off his answer. “Well, of course I didn’t want to marry. What man could ever fill my heart like El Shaddai?” She poked his chest with her bony finger. “But it would have been nice to be asked, I tell you. Come now, Pharaoh is waiting.”
Eleazar shook his head. Some things weren’t worth the battle. As they began their march up the palace ramp, Eleazar contemplated the imminent confrontation. His seemingly undaunted doda would address Egypt’s most capricious Pharaoh with a rough-spun robe draped over her arm. For the first time in years, Eleazar wished he believed in a god that heard his prayers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Miriam, the "Watcher of Israel" tells the story of Exodus, as you have never heard it before. “Miriam” is a rich and exciting tale about the Israelites in Egypt, a stand-alone novel although it follows chronologically after Mesu’s previous book, “The Pharaoh’s Daughter”. Mesu’s historical retelling of the the Exodus as told by Moses’ sister is wonderful on many levels. First, the story is exciting as we see Miriam (and her family) struggle to survive under the harsh regime of the Pharaoh, hope for deliverance from an unexpected source, and exult after a harrowing escape from the Egyptians. Miriam comes to life complete with deep desires, doubts, and foibles you may recognize in yourself. “Miriam” is meticulously researched, so you will learn as you enjoy the fast-moving story. Each chapter begins with a Bible verse, grounding you in the Biblical record as Mesu draws you into the life and times of the characters. I learn more than history, reading a novel by Mesu Andrews—not just what happened, but what it might mean. For example, in the story, Miriam fought an internal struggle against jealousy as she wondered why Yahweh gave his message to Moses, when she had been his prophetess to Israel while Moses had gone to live in a foreign land. Why Moses? Why not her? Miriam received her answer when Moses related how Yahweh manifested himself in a burning bush. Moses asked, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Just what Miriam wanted to know! Moses shared what Yahweh taught him. “This isn’t about you or me, Miriam. This isn’t even about Israel or its deliverance. What we’re going to experience is about Yahweh showing the world He is the One True God.” I highly recommend this book to lovers of Biblical fiction or ancient historical fiction. Those who enjoy reading the Biblical fiction of Francine Rivers, Jill Eileen Smith, Diana Wallis, Tessa Afshar, and Tosca Lee or the ancient historical fiction of Wilbur Smith will enjoy “Miriam”. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I was immediately drawn into the story of Miriam with just the right blend of character development and action. Mesu’s characters are believable and the “what happens next” action kept me turning pages even though the novel is based on a familiar Bible story. Her detailed research brings ancient Egypt alive, which added to my enjoyment as I read. Faith is woven naturally into the lives of the family members, even though not all believe at first. Although I have some personal experience with the concept “if you want to know about God, look at what He has done,” and Miriam’s story was a good reminder! This is definitely a book to revisit, for all the nuggets and faith encouragements. I received this book from Waterbook Press, a division of Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review.
On the opening pages of Miriam, the latest book by Mesu Andrews, the author describes a scene that will give you a glimpse of what the life of a Hebrew might have been like in the days when they lived as slaves in Egypt! Eighty-six-year-old Miriam, sister of Moses, is suddenly standing before the great Pharoah Ramesses. The Pharoah had been insisting that Miriam come and interpret the dreams that have been plaguing him night after night. The meaning of these dreams had been revealed to Miriam in her own dreams from El-Shaddai. Now standing before this great Pharoah, Miriam shares these truths with him! So begins this age-old story as Mesu Andrews tells this tale again in a fresh new way, all the way to its conclusion with God leading His chosen people to freedom between the walls of the water of the Red Sea! I received this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my unbiased review. http://penlessreview.blogspot.com/
I need to start off by saying how much I really love this cover. It fits the book so perfectly and is so well done. Second, Mesu Andrews has become such a strong voice in biblical fiction, not only for her talent of writing, but her incredible research of scripture and other historical documents which paint such a vivid picture of the era these stories take place. Ancient Egypt fascinates me already, so getting the chance to immerse myself more through the biblical stories? If you enjoy reading biblical fiction, I hope you have had the chance to read Mesu Andrews’ novels. She pens engaging stories and captivating characters, bringing new depth to famous biblical stories many of us already love. Miriam was no different. I loved seeing Moses after his time in the desert (if you have a chance, I recommend reading Pharaoh’s Daughter) and I was really encouraged by how Andrews portrayed Miriam. While we don’t have the exact details, I think this was done very well and a great reminder of the “greats” we know from the Bible were human too. On a historical angle, this book is fascinating. It shows how life was, how the plagues affected not only the Egyptians, but also for the first few, the Hebrews. It can be easy to read through this story in scripture and forget how terrible it all really was and that millions of Egyptians suffered because their leader was full of pride and hate. Bringing to life ancient Egypt, bringing humanity to famous bible people we love and reminding readers of the powerful and holy God we serve, this is another fantastic addition to biblical fiction. This book also stirred in me the desire to study the Old Testament and Moses’ life deeper. This past Fall, my church started a series on Exodus and it’s been awesome, so this book was perfect timing. (If interested you can find the sermons here!) What are some of your favorite Bible stories? (Thank you to Blogging for Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review) Originally posted http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/02/22/7720/
For me, Miriam was not a book to rush through but was one to savor slowly. I went back and forth between Mesu's book and my Bible as I made my way through the novel. Mesu's writing makes me want TO immerse myself in God's Word all the more. Mesu's writing is robust and supported by a keen attention to the biblical narrative as found in Scripture and impeccable research that brings the Bible to life. You feel as if you are there crossing the Red Sea with the Israelites and singing with Miriam and Moses. I also appreciated the human aspect of the characters Mesu highlighted in Miriam. These were not just make-believe people in old fairy tales, but real people with emotions and families and struggles in their faith and understanding of The One True God. I think you will particularly enjoy, as I certainly did, the feisty side of Miriam. I won't give away anymore about that here...you will just have to read and enjoy for yourself! Finally, I want to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the book. I don't typically highlight or mark up my "fiction" novels, but since Mesu's books are practically pre-cursors to in-depth study of the Scriptures and perfect for small group studies, I could not help myself. Her books are ones to return to over and over again and definitely keeper shelf material. "I am Miriam, old but of use. I am a slave, a midwife, a healer with herbs. This is what I do, but El-Shaddai makes me who I am." "Never be grateful for tragedy, but always trust that God can use it in His good plan for you." "Who else could rescue a babe from certain death, educate him in Egypt, refine him in the wilderness, and return him to his family? No one but You, Shaddai." "Moses held her gaze. 'This isn't about you or me, Miriam. This isn't even about Israel or its deliverance. What we're going to experience is about Yahweh showing the world He is the One True God.'" "When God is silent, He expects our patience and will reward our faith. Rest in the silence, and trust He's near." I could share many, many others, but I encourage you to order your copy of the book today. You will have much joy, as I did, in coming across these nuggets of truth that point to Yahweh, the One True God. *I received this book from the author for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In every book I’ve read by Mesu Andrews, the Biblical characters have always seemed to walk right off the pages. Therefore, my expectations were great when I heard her newest book, Miriam, was to be released. This gifted author of Biblical fiction more than fulfilled my highest hopes! Through Mesu’s skillful writing, everyone in the story jumps fully to life in this heart-tugging novel – the second in the author’s “Treasures of the Nile” series. We met Miriam in the first book, The Pharaoh’s Daughter. The older sister of Moses, she was sent to watch over her baby brother when he had been set afloat in a basket in the Nile River. His parents had done this to save his life because Egypt’s pharaoh had ordered the slaughter of all male Hebrew babies. In Miriam, the title character is now 86 years old, but age has not taken away her tender heart for serving and loving others. Miriam wore many hats in her life: midwife; prophetess; and a leader among the Israelite women, to name just a few. She lived through slavery to the Egyptians and witnessed the 10 plagues. Yet even though she had clearly been walking with God throughout her life, she faced very real human challenges as she strived to submit fully to our Almighty Father who, as she aged, sometimes seemed to remain silent as she sought His voice. Although this well-researched book is the second in a series, you will have no trouble jumping right into the story of Miriam even if you have not yet read the first book. However, I highly recommend reading The Pharaoh’s Daughter also. You will not be disappointed in the “Treasures of the Nile” stories or any of Mesu Andrews’ books, which are all beautifully written! I received this book from Waterbook Press, a division of Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have shared here are completely my own.
I am so glad that I got the chance to read this second book in the Treasures of the Nile Series. It was every bit as good as the first one. The author grabs you on the first page and does not let go until the very last page. I found myself ignoring everything else just so I could keep reading. Mesu puts enough details in this book to make you feel that you are really back in Egypt. I can not imagine living in that time period and all they had to endure. I am sure Miriam was looking for ANSWERS when El Shaddai went quite and she could no longer hear him. To her that must have been devasting. To follow her on her journey and learn more about her was very nice. I enjoyed learning moera about Miriam's story, she was a very strong and caring woman. All in all a very interesting as well as entertaing book and I look forward to seeing what Mesu has to offer us next.
Mesu has a way of bringing the time, for which she is writing, to life, and bring into the timeline things you never have thought about while reading the Bible.
Could not put this book down, loved it from the first page! Highly recommended!
Miriam has been a midwife and prophetess to the Hebrew slaves in Egypt for nearly all of her eighty-six years. Then one day, everything changes. Pharaoh had a dream, Miriam cannot feel the Spirit of El Shaddai, and her brother Aaron experiences a calling to fetch his brother Moses out of Midian. Then Moses arrives, bearing news of their upcoming deliverance and a new name for their God, Yahweh. Miriam by Mesu Andrews takes up the story of the Exodus begun in Pharoah’s Daughter, and I must say I enjoyed it very much. It takes a new look at the story of Israel’s deliverance, the ten plagues, and the Red Sea crossing through the view of some of the normal people in Israel. After all, not everyone would have seen Moses talking to Pharaoh and would not understand at first why a few dozen frogs suddenly invaded their house. Miriam was a rather fascinating look at some of the physical and spiritual effects of the events in Exodus. A second main character, other than Miriam, was Eleazar, her brother Aaron’s son. Eleazar, as the bodyguard for one of Pharaoh’s sons, gave insight into what occurred in the palace, since neither Moses nor Aaron were ever POV characters. Also, Miriam told of Eleazar’s growing relationship with a young woman under his care. It amused and frustrated me as I realized how little Eleazar understood women. The spiritual journey of the various characters was a major focus of the novel. As mentioned in the synopsis, Miriam had held a close relationship with God, having a distinct and unusual sense of God. But she lost that particular sense around the same time Moses received his calling to rescue the Israelites, and she struggled from that point on, feeling deserted. It wasn’t that God deserted her but that the relationship between them had changed. Miriam was no longer alone in her calling to minister to the Israelites, and Moses took her place as spiritual leader. It made the character who I had worried about being able to relate to, due to my age being a fraction of her own, and made her relatable and dynamic. The historical facts seemed as accurate as they could be, considering how little is known about ancient Egypt. Watching the plagues ensue and the scientists of the time trying to explain away the extreme forces of nature was fascinating. Also, I had never thought about the fact that Pharaoh would have several first-born sons because of his many wives. How horrible it would have been to have lost all of them at once. In all, Miriam was a fascinating look into the Exodus of the Bible. It touched on the characters and the spiritual and physical effects the plagues would have on them and the way Pharaoh could have reacted as he did. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to anyone who enjoys an interesting, accurate retelling of Biblical history. I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
What an fascinating, intriguing historical fiction book! Not only do we dive into more of the culture and political climate in this period of the Israelites’ history, but we also feel the possible emotions and relationships surrounding Miriam, a familiar and yet lesser know historical woman. Miriam introduced herself as “old but of use. I am a slave, a midwife, a healer with herbs. This is what I do, but El Shaddai makes me who I am.” She is called a prophetess, but she sees herself as a messenger of El Shaddai who speaks to her in dreams and visions. He has been her whole world, He satisfies her heart, she seeks He’s wisdom as she treats the injured slaves and talks with those around her… As we enter into Miriam’s world, the Israelites have been slaves for 400 years. That’s all they know… Now Moses, her brother and former Egyptain prince, comes back with news from Yahweh, El Shaddai’s newly revealed name, that freedom is coming for the Israelites. However, the freedom won’t come immediately or without pain. Miriam feels left out and unneeded. Will she learn to trust this El Shaddai and His gifts of love or give in to anger and bitterness? “Based only on the first three plagues—before the distinction between Egypt and Goshen was made, when there was no clean water, frogs were hopping, gnats were biting—what would you have thought of Yahweh’s nature? Would you have trusted Him, or would you have feared such a God? Only after His fierce majesty was displayed did Yahweh show His great love the the Israelites. That’s what we find in the Bible we hold in our hands today. Only after we see God’ fierce holiness through the Old Testament Law can we fully appreciate Jesus’s great love through grace in the New Testament. It is my prayer that you, dear reader, will come to know Yahweh—intimately, personally, and fully—and become as Miriam was, captivated by a God you can’t understand that will do things you know are impossible.” —from the Author’s Note Miriam is the second book in Mesu Andrews’s A Treasures of the Nile Novels. The first was The Pharaoh’s Daughter. I haven’t read it and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. However, I’m sure you will meet some of the historical characters, including Miriam in that first book. If it’s as well written as this one, I would recommend both! **Disclosure: I received a free copy of Miriam from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. THEN the book was stolen! Yes, there is a real life “book thief” that thought this book looked good enough to take! I think that’s a huge recommendation in itself!! I contacted Blogging for Books, and they kindly sent me another copy to finish reading! Thank you, Blogging for Books :)
Epic and moving recount of the plagues and Exodus story. This book gave me a fuller appreciation for the Biblical account and was a satisfying stand-alone. Although I haven't yet read the first title in this series, I am excited to see what Mesu has in store! I received an advanced reading copy of this title from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
Miriam was a story I both like and disliked. On one hand, it highly encouraged me and revived my love for the study of Biblical history. On the other hand, it peeled back hidden layers that exposed the doubts and fears I’ve been suppressing all these years. Even so, the story was utterly enthralling in light of its overarching storyline and majestic wonders. I highly recommend it to those who love to fully immerse themselves in biblical fiction. ___________________________________ WHAT I LIKED + I have seen a plethora of films based on Moses and the persecution Jews were forced to endure under ancient Egypt’s rule. Most of these films were mainly focused on Moses and the signs and wonders that followed him; in retrospect, however, I found it enlightening and invigorating to read this same plotline and watch these infamous biblical events unfold from an alternative angle, primarily that of Miriam, Moses’ sister. Seeing these biblical accounts emerge while witnessing the turmoil each biblical character wrestled with was tangible and so deeply affecting for me. Namely, because we see them as normal men and women who truly grappled with this great and terrible phenomena ― which in turn, makes it difficult not to sympathize with them. Greater suffering means deeper revelation as you near God’s promise. + In the same vein, through each individual character’s internal struggles, the reader is provoked and challenged with an ebb of emotions that draw out the doubts and fears we harbor ourselves while at the same time seeing the very nature of God revealed throughout the storyline ― this book seriously, stirred a myriad of emotions and quarrels within me; it was all for the good, though, because it cemented what I value even more and tugged at my resolve; this was an extraordinary reading experience for sure! God is God, and He decides how He will speak and to whom. We must all be ready to acknowledge Him in whatever ways He reveals Himself. + The overwhelming nature of the world depicted in Miriam was full of life and wholly perceptible. Some of the most interesting scenes involve the ones in Goshen where we see Israel’s response and dubious approach towards Moses and God. It goes without saying that, Mesu Andrews’ well-rounded biblical research breathes life into this enthralling tale and makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story. God is God, and He decides how He will speak and to whom. We must all be ready to acknowledge Him in whatever ways He reveals Himself. THINGS THAT MADE GO HMMM. . . - One of the major quibbles I had with Miriam was not with the general story itself nor with the characters, but with the pacing and merely redundant parts. Over the course of the narrative, the story included repetitive segments that focused on Eleazar’s and Taliah’s trivial mistakes which didn’t really shed new light. Full review @ http://www.mysoulcalledlife.com/2016/05/18/book-review-miriam-treasures-of-the-nile-2-by-mesu-andrews/
Nothing is Impossible Mesu Andrews is a new author for me. I found her latest book, "Miriam," to be a facinating account of the Isrealites and Egyptians during the time of the plagues. Miriam is Moses older sister who believes she has been chosen by God to be his messenger and being a healer/midwife. But then Moses returns and appears to be God's spokeperson making Miriam feel left out. Moses even has a new name for God- Yahweh. Miriam feels that God has changed. Moses reminds her God is constant. Andrews adds in other characters to make the story even more interesting during this time of the plagues drawing the reader into that time period. "Miriam" brings new life to an Old Testament Bible Story. I'm glad I gave this book and author a chance. I received this book for free to review from WaterBrook Press.
Mesu Andrews in her new book, “Miriam” Book Two in the Treasures of the Nile series published by WaterBrook Press brings us into the life of the sister of Moses. From the Back Cover: The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer. But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai. When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing. At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites. Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh? Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know. It’s time to go back to Egypt. Feel the hot, burning sun, have the rough sand under your feet. What the Israelite’s wear is way different from what the Egyptians wear. And just when you start to feel oppressed by the Egyptians as well Moses returns. But the story of the ten plagues is told through Miriam, the sister of Moses. Not only do we get the story as it unfolds we also get the sense of frustration that Miriam had for her older brother. I have never read a book where Moses is family. I have to admit this was quite interesting. Ms. Andrews has done a superb account of researching many different sources to give us Miriam and a cast of characters that most of us are probably not aware of. This is a well done adventure that will keep you flipping pages looking for what happens next. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer. But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai. When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing. At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites. Mesu Andrews’s engaging novel, Miriam, gives us a new and vibrant appreciation for life in Egypt as the Lord visits the land with ten unforgettable plagues. With fascinating insight into biblical history, as well as the human heart, this story will capture your attention until the last page. I really liked Miriam, the second book of the Treasures of the Nile series. Mesu Andrews does a wonderful job of making Biblical characters come alive. Miriam is such a passionate, gifted woman. We first meet her in the pages of Scripture as Moses' older sister, sent to watch her baby brother, when he was sent down the Nile to save his life. She grew up and became a midwife, skilled with herbs, plants, and knowledge of their healing properties. She was also a prophetess of El Shaddai and a leader among the Israelites, especially the women. Miriam was also a worship leader and song leader. What an amazing woman and a godly example for all believers. Mesu Andrews has managed to bring to life a Bible story in a vivid, imaginative way, yet stay true to the Scriptures. The first book in the series “The Pharaoh’s Daughter was great. I love to see authors flesh out biblical stories with such detail, yet not deviating from the Scriptures. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction and for those who want to give it a try. I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books at Multnomah Press for my review
This was a wonderful biblical fiction book. Menu Andrews brings the biblical characters to life. She takes a few mentions in the bible and builds a fantastic story around it. As you read this you just feel that this was what they were really like. Even though I knew the basic story of Moses she made him and all her characters real for me. I received this book from Bloggingforbooks for a fair and honest opinion.
Miriam by Mesu Andrews is the second book in The Treasures of the Nile series. This follows the first book but can be read as a standalone as 40 years have passed between the two. Like The Pharaoh’s Daughter, this book swept me up back in time to ancient Egypt during the time the Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians. This book has two points of view, Miriam, Moses’s sister who is now 86, and Eleazer, Aaron’s third son and the personal guard to the second first born son of Pharoah. We are treated to these two very different viewpoints as God starts unleashing the 10 plagues on Egypt and their various responses. I found it so interesting to experience what it may have been like to live during such unbelievable times and through the devastation the plagues left. Wrought with political intrigue and emotional conflict this was a book that had me hooked from page one, making me examine what my own personal responses would be. I was reading with my Bible open as again I gained new insights into verses I have read before, pulling out even more morsels of truth. I am currently doing a study of the book of Revelation and reading about these ancient plagues in light of that study really pulled me even more into this story. Once again Mesu Andrews has done her Biblical and historical research and provided a story that even though I knew what was going to happen had me on the edge of my seat as it all unfolded. And one must not forget the romance, though not central to the story, it was very satisfying. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions are my own.
Miriam Treasure of the Nile Novel By Mesu Andrews I love the cover of this book what is it telling you? Look close at the cover I had to it is really a nice conversation type cover. Miriam is a prophetess to the Hebrews; she’s a seer to the Egyptians, but Miriam doesn’t feel she is either she feels she is the watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai. Miriam also interprets dreams too. So as you take a journey that Yahew leads Moses on to save God’s chosen people you will be amazed at the life the pages take on. You will meet Miriam; she is Moses sister, Eleazar’s his nephew and many more of his family. You’ll see a whole new world of the bible. Miriam loved El Shaddai and when he becomes silent and she no longer hears him nor does he give her the meanings of the dreams or even lets her know how to help her loved ones. She is worried why he is so silent towards her it is more then she can bear. Miriam is scared because she doesn’t feel El Shaddai near her and she doesn’t hear him anymore. I really loved this book. I didn’t know Miriam was Moses sister or at least I don’t remember that. This was a great read. I recommend this book highly. I received this book free from blogging for books for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own and no one else’s. 5 Stars ISBN 978-1-60142-601-7
This book wasn’t what I was expecting but it was very good none-the-less. We get to dive into the life of Miriam, Moses older sister. At this point in the book is an old women but much wisdom. Moses is not around at the beginning, he is off in hiding. Mesu paints a harsh picture of the Hebrew life under Egyptian rule and I couldn’t wait for Moses to show up and lead the people out. Mesu obviously does a lot or research in her books to write the way she does and bring this time to life. You will meet many different people from the Bible and get to see a new perspective of them. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction. A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
If you love biblical fiction like I do, then this book is for you. Mesu Andrew grabs your attention from the very first page to the last and transports you back to an era of slavery, prophets, prophetess, plagues, miracles and the power of God. You will find yourself in Egypt where the Israelites have been in captivity for 400 years. They have lost most of their faith and hope in God and His promises. Miriam, the older sister of Moses, never thought that she would feel that way, but then there came the day that she felt her God, her El-Shaddai go silent. Her world turns upside down. She can't understand why can't feel Him? Where did He go? She wonders what did she do? Throughout her lifetime she walked with Him, listened to Him. She has heard Him in her songs and dreams, now silence. She feels abandoned, lost and confused. Take this walk with Miriam as she gains insight to the many ways that God talks to us. Mesu Andrews pours herself into her books so you feel that you are not only reading the words but you are truly walking along with Miriam. I hope that as you read this book you also will find yourself listening for the many ways God talks to us. I received this book from Waterbook Press, a division of Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review.