We celebrate Miriam the sister of Moses, prophet and saviour of her brother in art, poetry and music.

Miriam – Painting by Silvia Dimitrova (2018)

Credit: Miriam – Painting by Silvia Dimitrova (2018)

Exodus 2:1-10

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10 When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

Exodus 15:19-21

19 When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them:

‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’

Miriam by Graham Kings

Who is this woman,
Tapping a tabor,
Rejoicing in song,
Elegant in beauty,
More than Egyptian?

Who is this baby,
Lifting his limbs,
Drifting in basket,
Floating on river,
Secluded in reeds?

Who are these men,
Walking together,
Bearing symbols,
Leading the way
Between fire and water?

Miriam, the prophet,
The shrewd saviour
Of baby brother,
Dancing, proclaims:
‘Sing to the Lord
Who has triumphed gloriously;
Horse and rider,
He has thrown into the sea.’

Moses, on the Nile,
Escapes annihilation,
Responds at bush of fire,
Foils Pharaoh’s ire,
Receives the Law in awe,
Accompanies Aaron, the eloquent,
Whose head and beard and robe
Will run with precious oil.

The Red Sea is redressed:
Waves of horses crest the waves,
Roaring, rushing, downing, drowning,
Trampling hostile oppression.

For God’s people, safely across,
Good things come to those who wait.

© Graham Kings, Nourishing Connections (Canterbury Press, 2020).

Also available on www.grahamkings.org

Permissions for Churches to show the paintings.
We encourage churches to use the paintings in PowerPoint presentations.
There is no charge for this, but the copyright wording should be:
‘Miriam’ by Silvia Dimitrova, commissioned by Alison and Graham Kings. http://www.silviadimitrova.co.uk/ and https://www.grahamkings.org/ 

The poems are published with photos of the paintings in ‘Nourishing Connections’, Canterbury Press, 2020.

The CD of the seven anthems is available here: www.harmonicham.com/product/a-celebration-of-women-in-the-bible-cd-/2?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false

A 17-minute Fugue State Films video of the world premiere of Tristan’s anthems at St Stephen, Walbrook, London, 14 June 2023, can be seen here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rSAF8JDX4Io 

Church Times podcast, featuring the project, with interviews with Silvia, Graham and Tristan, may be heard here: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/2-october/audio-video/podcast/bishop-graham-kings-silvia-dimitrova-and-tristan-latchford-on-nourishing-connections