Also notice that Zipporah’s brother, Hobab, gets to go with the Israelites into the Promised Land. I’m pretty sure we’ll see that he actually made it through (though I can’t remember if that’s from my book or if I read that in Scripture. More later.)
One of my Bible professors made much of the passage in Nu. 12 about Moses’ Cushite wife. There are a couple of opinions about this—the first is that the passage is actually talking about Zipporah, who has been described as “midianite” until this point. The second opinion, the one I hold to, is that Moses took a second wife, one from Cush (which is not Midian). Cush was Africa, so there’s a very great possibility that Moses’ wife was black . . .
Now, ostensibly, Miryam and Aaron were grumbling because of pride, but my professor hinted that it might have been because of race. In any case, God struck Miryam (interesting that he didn’t strike Aaron, too) with a case of leprosy—effectively turning her “super white” with flaking and decayed skin. She had to spend a week outside the camp (and boy, was this scene fun to write in The Shadow Women. It was Miryam’s personal epiphany.)
One more note: I can SO see God’s sovereignty and man’s free will at work in the incident of the Israelites’ refusal to enter the promised land. On the one hand, they used their free will and were punished with forty years of exile. On the other hand, God used those forty years to turn them from a band of unorganized, undisciplined ex-slaves into a lean, mean, fighting machine. God stated that they were timid early on—that’s why he didn’t lead them directly into Canaan, a route that would have taken less than a month. Instead, he took them through the wilderness, using those forty years to toughen them and teach them to depend upon Him.
A rich passage today!