Complaints about Hardship

1 Now the people began complaining openly before(a) the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, His anger burned,(A) and fire(B) from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So that place was named Taberah,(b)(C) because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them.

Complaints about Food

4 Contemptible people(c) among them(D) had a strong craving(E) for other food. The Israelites cried again and said, “Who will feed us meat? 5 We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt,(F) along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. 6 But now our appetite is gone;(d) there’s nothing to look at but this manna!”
7 The manna(G) resembled coriander seed, and its appearance was like that of bdellium.(e) 8 The people walked around and gathered it. They ground it on a pair of grinding stones or crushed it in a mortar, then boiled it in a cooking pot and shaped it into cakes. It tasted like a pastry cooked with the finest oil. 9 When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.(H)
10 Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents. The Lord was very angry;(I) Moses was also provoked.(f) 11 So Moses asked the Lord, “Why have You brought such trouble on Your servant? Why are You angry with me, and why do You burden me with all these people?(J) 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’(K) to the land that You(g) swore to give their fathers?(L) 13 Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they are crying to me: ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. 15 If You are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now.(M) If You are pleased with me,(N) don’t let me see my misery(h) anymore.”

Seventy Elders Anointed

16 The Lord answered Moses, “Bring Me 70 men from Israel known to you as elders and officers of the people. Take them to the tent of meeting and have them stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and speak with you there. I will take some of the Spirit who is on you and put the Spirit on them.(O) They will help you bear the burden of the people, so that you do not have to bear it by yourself.(P)
18 “Tell the people: Purify yourselves in readiness for tomorrow, and you will eat meat because you cried before the Lord: ‘Who will feed us meat? We really had it good in Egypt.’ The Lord will give you meat and you will eat. 19 You will eat, not for one day, or two days, or five days, or 10 days, or 20 days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes nauseating to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and cried to Him: ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’”(Q)
21 But Moses replied, “I’m in the middle of a people with 600,000 foot soldiers,(R) yet You say, ‘I will give them meat, and they will eat for a month.’ 22 If flocks and herds were slaughtered for them, would they have enough? Or if all the fish in the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?”(S)
23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited?(i)(T) You will see whether or not what I have promised will happen to you.”
24 Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He brought 70 men from the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him.(U) He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed the Spirit on the 70 elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied,(V) but they never did it again. 26 Two men had remained in the camp, one named Eldad and the other Medad; the Spirit rested on them—they were among those listed, but had not gone out to the tent—and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28 Joshua son of Nun, assistant to Moses since his youth,(j) responded, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29 But Moses asked him, “Are you jealous on my account?(W) If only all the Lord’s people were prophets and the Lord would place His Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.

Quail in the Camp

31 A wind sent by the Lord(X) came up and blew quail in from the sea; it dropped them at the camp all around, three feet(k) off(l) the ground, about a day’s journey in every direction.(Y) 32 The people were up all that day and night and all the next day gathering the quail—the one who took the least gathered 50 bushels(m)—and they spread them out all around the camp.(n)(Z)
33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the Lord’s anger burned(AA) against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very severe plague.(AB) 34 So they named that place Kibroth-hattaavah,(o) because there they buried the people who had craved the meat.
35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people moved on to Hazeroth(p)(AC) and remained there.


a. Numbers 11:1: Lit in the ears of
b. Numbers 11:3: blaze
c. Numbers 11:4: Or The mixed multitude; Hb obscure
d. Numbers 11:6: Or our lives are wasting away, or our throat is dry
e. Numbers 11:7: A yellowish, transparent gum resin
f. Numbers 11:10: Lit and it was evil in the eyes of Moses
g. Numbers 11:12: One Hb ms, Sam, LXX, Syr, Tg read I
h. Numbers 11:15: Ancient Jewish tradition reads Your misery
i. Numbers 11:23: Lit Lord’s arm too short
j. Numbers 11:28: LXX, some Sam mss read Moses, from his chosen ones
k. Numbers 11:31: Lit two cubits
l. Numbers 11:31: Or on, or above
m. Numbers 11:32: Lit 10 homers
n. Numbers 11:32: To dry or cure the meat; 2Sm 17:19; Ezk 26:5,14
o. Numbers 11:34: Graves of Craving
p. Numbers 11:35: settlements; Nm 12:16; 33:16-17

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