Fire from the Lord
1Now the people complained to the Lord about their troubles, and when he heard them, he became angry. Then fire from the Lord burned among the people at the edge of the camp. 2The people cried out to Moses, and when he prayed to the Lord, the fire stopped burning. 3So that place was called Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had burned among them.
Seventy Older Leaders Help Moses
4Some troublemakers among them wanted better food, and soon all the Israelites began complaining. They said, “We want meat! 5We remember the fish we ate for free in Egypt. We also had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. 6But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
7The manna was like small white seeds. 8The people would go to gather it, and then grind it in handmills, or crush it between stones. After they cooked it in a pot or made cakes with it, it tasted like bread baked with olive oil. 9When the dew fell on the camp each night, so did the manna.
10Moses heard every family crying as they stood in the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses got upset. 11He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought me, your servant, this trouble? What have I done wrong that you made me responsible for all these people? 12I am not the father of all these people, and I didn’t give birth to them. So why do you make me carry them to the land you promised to our ancestors? Must I carry them in my arms as a nurse carries a baby? 13Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep crying to me, ‘We want meat!’ 14I can’t take care of all these people alone. It is too much for me. 15If you are going to continue doing this to me, then kill me now. If you care about me, put me to death, and then I won’t have any more troubles.”
16The Lord said to Moses, “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders, men that you know are leaders among the people. Bring them to the Meeting Tent, and have them stand there with you. 17I will come down and speak with you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is in you, and I will give it to them. They will help you care for the people so that you will not have to care for them alone.
18“Tell the people this: ‘Make yourselves holy for tomorrow, and you will eat meat. You cried to the Lord, “We want meat! We were better off in Egypt!” So now the Lord will give you meat to eat. 19You will eat it not for just one, two, five, ten, or even twenty days, 20but you will eat that meat for a whole month. You will eat it until it comes out your nose, and you will grow to hate it. This is because you have rejected the Lord, who is with you. You have cried to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ’ ”
21Moses said, “Lord, here are six hundred thousand people standing around me, and you say, ‘I will give them enough meat to eat for a month!’ 22If we killed all the flocks and herds, that would not be enough. If we caught all the fish in the sea, that would not be enough.”
23But the Lord said to Moses, “Do you think I’m weak? Now you will see if I can do what I say.”
24So Moses went out to the people and told them what the Lord had said. He gathered seventy of the elders together and had them stand around the Tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. The Lord took some of the Spirit Moses had, and he gave it to the seventy leaders. With the Spirit in them, they prophesied, but just that one time.
26Two men named Eldad and Medad were also listed as leaders, but they did not go to the Tent. They stayed in the camp, but the Spirit was also given to them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27A young man ran to Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28Joshua son of Nun said, “Moses, my master, stop them!” (Ever since he was a young boy, Joshua had been Moses’ assistant.)
29But Moses answered, “Are you jealous for me? I wish all the Lord’s people could prophesy. I wish the Lord would give his Spirit to all of them!” 30Then Moses and the leaders of Israel went back to the camp.
The Lord Sends Quail
31The Lord sent a strong wind from the sea, and it blew quail into the area all around the camp. The quail were about three feet deep on the ground, and there were quail a day’s walk in any direction. 32The people went out and gathered quail all that day, that night, and the next day. Everyone gathered at least sixty bushels, and they spread them around the camp. 33But the Lord became very angry, and he gave the people a terrible sickness that came while the meat was still in their mouths. 34So the people named that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried those who wanted other food.
35From Kibroth Hattaavah the people went to stay at Hazeroth.
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