There's a midrash about a very famous line in this week's Torah Portion, Shmot, that is so blithely quoted, I was sure it must be written someplace in the the Bible. It's the story that has Miriam chastising her parents for divorcing, because that means they are killing both male and female babies which was worse than Pharaoh's decree to kill the males. They listen to her and marry again.
I think it was a year ago that I got frustrated and aggravated at a class listening to it and asked where it's written in the text. I was told that it was to explain a very complicated passage. This is the passage:
Exodus Chapter 2 שְׁמוֹת
Honestly, I don't find anything peculiar or difficult about this narrative. So, I was answered:
"There was an older sister, Miriam and later we learn of an older brother, Aharon. That's a peculiar situation. The midrash helps us understand how that could be."I don't see that as an incomprehensible situation. It's normal to me. There are two very simple reasons for such a scenario.
- One, the personal is that my mother was from a "his, hers and theirs" family. When her parents, a widow and a widower got married they already had children from their dead spouses. Their children had five older brothers and sisters. I have no doubt that widows and widowers, especially considering medical care at the time, married in Biblical days.
- Two, during those times it was completely permitted for a man to marry a number of wives simultaneously. Miriam and Aharon could have very well been from one, or even two, of that Levi's other wives.
And after following the instructions in a comment by yaak, there's another simple explanation. In Tanach there's no "early/later." That sentence announcing the marriage just skips the births of Aaron and Miriam, because there was nothing special to write about.