The accompanying article suggests that a separate Song of Miriam, partially suppressed in the book of Exodus, partially survived among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This suggestion finds additional support in a passage from the first-century Jewish philosopher Philo, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Philo describes a festal celebration of the Therapeutae, possibly at Passover. The Therapeutae were a Jewish Egyptian group who shared many practices and beliefs with the Qumran community, whom most scholars identify as the Essenes. Indeed, the Therapeutae are sometimes called the “Egyptian Essenes.”

In the following passage Philo recounts how men and women form separate choruses and sing apparently somewhat different songs about the events at the Red Sea. Perhaps men and women in Palestine celebrated in the same way, using the Song of Miriam found among the Dead Sea Scrolls:

“After the meal, they [the Therapeutae] celebrate the holy all-night festival, which is kept in the following way. All rise up together and in the middle of the feast form themselves first into two choruses, one of men, the other of women; a leader and conductor is chosen for each who is one most held in honor and most suitable. Then they sing hymns to God composed in many measures and melodies, sometimes singing together, and sometimes in harmony antiphonally, their hands and feet keeping time, and rapt with enthusiasm, they process or stand still, making the turns and counter-turns proper to the dance. Then, when each of the choirs has danced enough by itself separately, as if it were a Bacchic rite in which they had drunk of divine love, they mix and form a single choir out of the two, in imitation of what happened long ago beside the Red Sea in relation to the miracles wrought there. For the sea, at God’s command, became to one side a cause of salvation, but to the other destruction. … When they saw and experienced this work, greater than could be told, or imagined, or hoped for, both men and women were so enthusiastic that they formed a single choir and sang hymns of thanksgiving to God the savior, Moses the prophet leading off the men and Miriam the prophetess the women.

“In closest imitation of this the choir of the Therapeutae, male and female, models itself, and, responsorially and antiphonally as the deep notes of the men mingle with the treble ones of the women, a harmonious symphony results, one that is pure music. Lovely are the thoughts, lovely the words, and noble the choristers, and the aim of thought and words and choristers alike is piety” (Philo, On the Contemplative Life, 83–88.).