1But the people began complaining about their hardships to Adonai. When Adonai heard it, his anger flared up, so that fire from Adonai broke out against them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2Then the people cried to Moshe, Moshe prayed to Adonai, and the fire abated. 3That place was called Tav‘erah [burning] because Adonai’s fire broke out against them.
4Next, the mixed crowd that was with them grew greedy for an easier life; while the people of Isra’el, for their part, also renewed their weeping and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt — it cost us nothing! — and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic! 6But now we’re withering away, we have nothing to look at but this man.”
7The man, by the way, was like coriander seed and white like gum resin. 8The people would go around gathering it and would grind it up in mills or pound it to paste with mortar and pestle. Then they would cook it in pots and make it into loaves that tasted like cakes baked with olive oil. 9When the dew settled on the camp during the night, the man came with it.
10Moshe heard the people crying, family after family, each person at the entrance to his tent; the anger of Adonai flared up violently; and Moshe too was displeased. 11Moshe asked Adonai, “Why are you treating your servant so badly? Why haven’t I found favor in your sight, so that you put the burden of this entire people on me? 12Did I conceive this people? Was I their father, so that you tell me, ‘Carry them in your arms, like a nurse carrying a baby, to the land you swore to their ancestors?’ 13Where am I going to get meat to give to this entire people? — because they keep bothering me with their crying and saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14I can’t carry this entire people by myself alone — it’s too much for me! 15If you are going to treat me this way, then just kill me outright! — please, if you have any mercy toward me! — and don’t let me go on being this miserable!”
16Adonai said to Moshe, “Bring me seventy of the leaders of Isra’el, people you recognize as leaders of the people and officers of theirs. Bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them stand there with you. 17I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the Spirit which rests on you and put it on them. Then they will carry the burden of the people along with you, so that you won’t carry it yourself alone.
18“Tell the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you will eat meat; because you cried in the ears of Adonai, “If only we had meat to eat! We had the good life in Egypt!” All right, Adonai is going to give you meat, and you will eat it. 19You won’t eat it just one day, or two days, or five, or ten, or twenty days, 20but a whole month! — until it comes out of your nose and you hate it! — because you have rejected Adonai, who is here with you, and distressed him with your crying and asking, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
21But Moshe said, “Here I am with six hundred thousand men on foot, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22If whole flocks and herds were slaughtered for them, would it be enough? If all the fish in the sea were collected for them, would even that be enough?” 23Adonai answered Moshe, “Has Adonai’s arm grown short? Now you will see whether what I said will happen or not!”
24Moshe went out and told the people what Adonai had said. Then he collected seventy of the leaders of the people and placed them all around the tent. 25Adonai came down in the cloud, spoke to him, took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy leaders. When the Spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied — then but not afterwards.
26There were two men who stayed in the camp, one named Eldad and the other Medad, and the Spirit came to rest on them. They were among those listed to go out to the tent, but they hadn’t done so, and they prophesied in the camp. 27A young man ran and told Moshe, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 28Y’hoshua, the son of Nun, who from his youth up had been Moshe’s assistant, answered, “My lord, Moshe, stop them!” 29But Moshe replied, “Are you so zealous to protect me? I wish all of Adonai’s people were prophets! I wish Adonai would put his Spirit on all of them!”
(vii) 30Moshe and the leaders of Isra’el went back into the camp; 31and Adonai sent out a wind which brought quails from across the sea and let them fall near the camp, about a day’s trip away on each side of the camp and all around it, covering the ground to a depth of three feet. 32The people stayed up all that day, all night and all the next day gathering the quails — the person gathering the least collected ten heaps; then they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33But while the meat was still in their mouth, before they had chewed it up, the anger of Adonai flared up against the people, and Adonai struck the people with a terrible plague. 34Therefore that place was named Kivrot-HaTa’avah [graves of greed], because there they buried the people who were so greedy.
35From Kivrot-HaTa’avah the people traveled to Hatzerot, and they stayed at Hatzerot.