"The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing."
At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.
Isaiah's Daughter introduced me this year to the fabulous author Mesu Andrews, and I was excited when I saw one of her other books on NetGalley. This book follows Miriam's story from physical slavery in Egypt, through the ten plagues, and forward to the future Promised Land. But Miram's story isn't just that of slavery to King Ramesses, but also that of doubts and the bondage in her own heart. As prophetess of the Lord, Miriam relies completely on the Lord for her skills in healing and in singing and prophesying. But soon she must come to know the Lord by faith and not just by hearing.
I loved how Eleazar and Taliah grew together in their relationship. Abba's kind and gentle counsel was so refreshing and it was always there when Miriam needed it. The plagues were all well done, and I didn't think that the "extras" in them distracted from Scripture at all, rather they gave life and meaning to the separation between Jew and Gentile, while also demonstrating that believing Gentiles were covered under the same blood of the Lamb. Andrews details the theological struggles of the Jews well. While we don't know for certain if Jews wondered if someone went to heaven if they weren't circumcised, but yet believed in Yahweh, the questions would have arisen because people doubt and wonder and wander. And our hearts today are no different from the hearts that clung to promises not knowing whether they would see their fulfillment. Andrews also deals with unanswered questions providing hope even when the unknown was before them.
The terror of the Passover was real, I believe, especially for all who were first born. And yet the obedience of the faithful provided relief and security amid the questions and chaos. While I don't know if Eleazar actually worked in the palace as a bodyguard, I loved his placement as a character. It gave him unique opportunities to fulfill little details in Scripture when we aren't told exactly how things happened.
Miriam's story, as well as the story of the Jews as they leave the bondage of Egypt is a true one, and one that Andrews did well in retelling. I love the fictional aspect of it, but even more, I believe good historical (Biblical) fiction makes you truly fall in love with the God of the Hebrews, who is also the God of the Gentiles and the nations. Join Miriam as she journeys out of Egypt to freedom, and come along side of her as she travels the road of faith, all the while healing hearts and relieving the pain of those around her.
*I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review.