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Miriam the Prophet

 By Graham Kings

Miriam is the fifth in a series of paintings of Women in the Bible, which Silvia Dimitrova and I have been working on for nearly 20 years. I choose the texts and discuss them with Silvia. She prays over them and draws a sketch that Alison, my wife, and I consider, and between the three of us we agree on the changes. Alison and I do not see it until it arrives, framed by Silvia’s husband, Simon. After some time, I write a poem expounding on the painting.

Covenant published our first four paintings and poems in June 2016: Magdalene (2003); Lydia (2009); Priscilla (2013); and Sarah (2016). I have also written about Priscilla, Sarah, and mission at Mission Theology in the Anglican Communion (see here and here).

I wrote a Covenant article about the fifth painting, Miriam, in March and promised the accompanying expository poem. Here it is.


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.



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