In Exodus 15:20, Miriam the sister of Aaron and Moses, emerges from the crowd of Israel, moving forward with the women, and sings a song of victory:
“Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted! The horse and it’s rider He has thrown into the sea” (Ex. 15:21).
As Israel departed Egypt, with the clothes on their backs, unleavened bread, and plunder from Egypt (Ex. 12:35-36), one person had something more.
Moses led Israel in beautiful song, lifting his voice among those delivered. Miriam lead a song of praise, and a joyous dance with tambourine. Her song had rhythm, and noise.
Why did she bring it, the tambourine? We do not find a command to bring this type of personal item. Did she ask a neighbor for it? Did she conceal it? Or did people hear a rhythmic beat as they walked?
Israel is depicted as a conquering army leaving a battle: the fall of Egypt. As we know from Psalm 105:37 “not one feeble” among the tribes exited Egypt; for they were covered by the blood, and they had consumed the lamb and unleavened bread.
Miriam the prophetess, it would seem, was prophesying victory, when uncertainty surrounded, with a small tambourine; what would appear to be extra weight to carry on a long journey.
Some years ago I recall hearing a rabbi say, “If you are praying for rain, bring an umbrella; if you are praying for sunshine, bring sunglasses.”
With Miriam: when expecting victory, bring an instrument of praise, which then becomes a weapon of warfare (Eph. 6:10-18).
The beat and rhythm of the tambourine, and the shouts of praises, indicated that Israel was no longer hiding or running: they were free (Col. 3:16; cf. Eph. 5:18-20).
What army is pursuing you? What sea lay before you? The sea will open, and the pursuing army will parish; so bring something of praise with you from the outset, and get ready to shout and make a spectacle for the victory of the Living God.
Then your praise will be prophetic, because you were no longer fleeing from an enemy, but moving to a place of praise to the Lord.
Be well. Shalom.