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Exodus 15:20-21

Miriam sang an antiphonal strain in the "Song at the Sea."

When Pharaoh's horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

"Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider

he has hurled into the sea.

The Egyptians had commanded that all of the Hebrew baby boys be drowned. But instead God wrought a magnificent deliverance for the Hebrews and it was the Egyptians who were drowned, as the waters closed over the horses and chariots. When this event occurred, the Hebrews expressed their jubilation by composing songs of victory. A remnant of the song composed by Miriam appears in Exodus 15:20-21. As a leader of the Hebrew women, Miriam led them in ritual singing and dancing.

˜Then the prophetess Miriam, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them:

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

Ritual singing by women was common in ancient Israel. Women sang particularly at victory celebrations, going out to meet returning warriors and greeting them with songs which expressed their relief, joy, and jubilation at the defeat of enemies. The particular song that Miriam and the women sang appears from scripture to have been an antiphonal songt between the men and the women.

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