The People Complain
1Now #Num. 14:2; 16:11; 17:5; Deut. 9:22when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; #Ps. 78:21for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the #Lev. 10:2; 2 Kin. 1:12fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. 2Then the people #Num. 12:11, 13; 21:7cried out to Moses, and when Moses #(James 5:16)prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. 3So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them.
4Now the #Ex. 12:38mixed multitude who were among them yielded to #1 Cor. 10:6intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: #(Ps. 78:18)“Who will give us meat to eat? 5#Ex. 16:3We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6but now #Num. 21:5our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
7Now #Ex. 16:14, 31the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 8The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and #Ex. 16:31its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil. 9And #Ex. 16:13, 14when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.
10Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and #Ps. 78:21the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased. 11#Ex. 5:22; Deut. 1:12So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? 12Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, #Is. 40:11‘Carry them in your bosom, as a #Is. 49:23; 1 Thess. 2:7guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You #Gen. 26:3swore to their fathers? 13#Matt. 15:33; Mark 8:4Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14#Ex. 18:18; Deut. 1:12I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and #Rev. 3:17do not let me see my wretchedness!”
The Seventy Elders
16So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me #Ex. 18:25; 24:1, 9seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and #Deut. 16:18officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17Then I will come down and talk with you there. #1 Sam. 10:6; 2 Kin. 2:15; (Joel 2:28)I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. 18Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept #Ex. 16:7in 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. 19You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20#Ps. 78:29; 106:15but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have #1 Sam. 10:19despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, #Num. 21:5“Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?” ’ ”
21And Moses said, #Gen. 12:2; Ex. 12:37; Num. 1:46; 2:32“The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.’ 22#2 Kin. 7:2Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?”
23And the Lord said to Moses, #Is. 50:2; 59:1“Has the Lord’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether #Num. 23:19what I say will happen to you or not.”
24So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he #Num. 11:16gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, #2 Kin. 2:15when the Spirit rested upon them, that #1 Sam. 10:5, 6, 10; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17, 18; 1 Cor. 14:1they prophesied, although they never did so again.
26But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who #Jer. 36:5had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. 27And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, #(Mark 9:38–40; Luke 9:49)forbid them!”
29Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? #1 Cor. 14:5Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” 30And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel.
The Lord Sends Quail
31Now a #Ex. 16:13; Ps. 78:26–28; 105:40wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. 32And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten #Ex. 16:36; Ezek. 45:11homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33But while the #Ps. 78:29–31; 106:15meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. 34So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.
35#Num. 33:17From Kibroth Hattaavah the people moved to Hazeroth, and camped at Hazeroth.