With a Song
M iriam figures prominently in a 1994 collection of essays entitled. A Fem-inist Companion to Exodus-Deuteronomy. Three of the articles aboutMiriam in the collection are concerned with establishing the relation of her song to the song attributed to her brother Moses (Exod. 15.1-18). Is Miriam's song (Exod. 15.19-21) a female echo to the song of Moses?! Or is Miriam's finale, as Trible argues in her essay for the collection, all that remains of her story after the patriarchal redactors have inserted their man Moses into the text? Janzen, in his piece, also wants to find a priority of the Miriamic version, but argues differently from Trible to reach a similar conclusion. Beginning with the assumption that the Song of Moses is "an elaborate answer to the Song of Miriam and the women," van Dijk-Hemmes reviews much of the literature in which Miriam's song is understood to be the initial version. These articles are attuned to the best historical and redactional theories associated with contemporary biblical scholarship and engage the gendered concerns of their authors. All three scholars have the same agenda: "to seek Miriam buried under the work of patriarchal storytellers.,,2 Trible similarly refers to Miriam's fragmented story as "buried within Scripture," and understands her own task to be "unearthing the fragments, assembling them, pondering the gaps and constructing a text." The figure of the narrator/redactor as constructed by these biblical scholars holds all the cards. The implicit assumption that redactors in their eagerness to suppress the story ofMiriam carelessly overlooked a few signs of the powerful female prophet presents difficulties for me.