11 And the people grumbled and deplored their hardships, which was evil in the ears of the Lord, and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burned among them and devoured those in the outlying parts of the camp.
2 The people cried to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire subsided.
3 He called the name of the place Taberah [burning], because the fire of the Lord burned among them.
4 And the mixed multitude among them [the rabble who followed Israel from Egypt] began to lust greatly [for familiar and dainty food], and the Israelites wept again and said, Who will give us meat to eat?
5 We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt and without cost, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.
6 But now our soul (our strength) is dried up; there is nothing at all [in the way of food] to be seen but this manna.
7 The manna was like coriander seed and its appearance was like that of bdellium [perhaps a precious stone].
8 The people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, and boiled it in pots, and made cakes of it; and it tasted like cakes baked with fresh oil.
9 And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.
10 And Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, every man at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord blazed hotly, and in the eyes of Moses it was evil.
11 And Moses said to the Lord, Why have You dealt ill with Your servants? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You lay the burden of all this people on me?
12 Have I conceived all this people? Have I brought them forth, that You should say to me, Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing father carries the sucking child, to the land which You swore to their fathers [to give them]?
13 Where should I get meat to give to all these people? For they weep before me and say, Give us meat, that we may eat.
14 I am not able to carry all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.
15 And if this is the way You deal with me, kill me, I pray You, at once, and be granting me a favor and let me not see my wretchedness [in the failure of all my efforts].
16 And the Lord said to Moses, Gather for Me [a]seventy men of the elders of Israel whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the Tent of Meeting and let them stand there with you.
17 And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take of the Spirit which is upon you and will put It upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not have to bear it yourself alone.
18 And say to the people, Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt. Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.
19 You shall not eat one day, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty days,
20 But a whole month—until [you are satiated and vomit it up violently and] it comes out at your nostrils and is disgusting to you—because you have rejected and despised the Lord Who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, Why did we come out of Egypt?(A)
21 But Moses said, The people among whom I am are 600,000 footmen [besides all the women and children], and You have said, I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!
22 Shall flocks and herds be killed to suffice them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be collected to satisfy them?
23 The Lord said to Moses, Has the Lord’s hand (His ability and power) become short (thwarted and inadequate)? You shall see now whether My word shall come to pass for you or not.(B)
24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and set them round about the Tent.
25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him and put It upon the seventy elders; and when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied [sounding forth the praises of God and declaring His will]. Then they did so no more.(C)
26 But there remained two men in the camp named Eldad and Medad. The Spirit rested upon them, and they were of those who were selected and listed, yet they did not go out to the Tent [as told to do], but they prophesied in the camp.
27 And a young man ran to Moses and said, Eldad and Medad are prophesying [sounding forth the praises of God and declaring His will] in the camp.
28 Joshua son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, My lord Moses, forbid them!
30 And Moses went back into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.
31 And there went forth a wind from the Lord and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall [so they flew low] beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits above the ground.
32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day and caught and gathered the quails. He who gathered least gathered ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves round about the camp [to cure them by drying].
33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote them with a very great plague.
34 That place was called Kibroth-hattaavah [the graves of sensuous desire], because there they buried the people who lusted, whose physical appetite caused them to sin.(E)
35 The Israelites journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah to Hazeroth, where they remained.
- Numbers 11:16 A council of seventy elders had existed the year before this (Exod. 24:9). It appears to be the source of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish assembly for government in the time of our Lord—usually translated “council.”
- Numbers 11:29 “Moses, the minister of God, rebukes our partial love,/ Who envy at the gifts bestow’d on those we disapprove./ We do not our own spirit know, who wish to see suppressed,/ The men that Jesus’ spirit show, the men whom God hath blest” (Charles Wesley).
- Numbers 11:20 : Ps. 106:13-15.
- Numbers 11:23 : Isa. 50:2.
- Numbers 11:25 : Num. 11:29.
- Numbers 11:29 : Luke 9:49, 50.
- Numbers 11:34 : I Cor. 10:1-13.