Numbers 11

Complaint answered by fire 1
Complaining began again about "this manna" 4
General protest 10
Seventy elders to be appointed; people to prepare 16
Elders appointed and prophesied 24
Two more prophesy 26
The Lord sends quail; some people were gluttons 31
.1 ¶ And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
.2  And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.
.3  And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
   1 - Consumed ... uttermost parts The mixed multitude ex1238 camped there since the twelve tribes of Israel were arranged around the tabernacle nu02. Also v4 below. This rebellion differs from the one in chapter 16 to 20, ex16, ex20, in that they should already have learned from the experiences at Sinai.
  3 - Taberah The place has not been identified.
.4 ¶ And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
.5  We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
.6  But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
 6 Literally, "There is nothing at all for our eyes to fall upon except this manna."
.7  And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.
.8  And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
.9  And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.
  4 - Mixt multitude From the verb asaph, "to collect." See on ex1238. Also de2911, jos0835.
  4 - Fell a lusting Or "had a great craving" See ps10614; ps07829.
  4 - Israel also They picked up the sentiment. Complaint was frequent.
  4 - Give us flesh They left Egypt with much cattle but apparently not enough to satisfy flesh apptites ex1232, ex1238, ex1703, nu3201.
  6 - Manna Jesus pointed out that it was a symbol of the gift of Himself to humanity jn0630-35; 41-58.
.10  Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.
.11  And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
 12  Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
 13  Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
 14  I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
.15  And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
  10 - Weep throughout The cry was no doubt a planned protest.
  11 - Afflicted thy servant Moses blames God. Compare ge0312.
  12 - Conceived ... carry them For more related to this picture, see de3218, ho1101, de0131, is4011, is4603.
  15 - If thou deal The Hebrew word for "thou" is in the feminine gender. The antecedent is "the Lord" in v11. We normally hear of God as masculine though He is is beyond our understanding and without human gender. Was this a scribal error? In Hebrew the masculine form for "thou" or "you" is atah using letters like ATH. For feminine (as here) the H is dropped and the word is pronounced at. A scribe who used the pronouns for the Lord would hardly err toward this strange form. Hebrew letters are essentially all consonants. In old Hebrew some letters were used to indicate the vowel sound so we could argue that the apparently missing H involved that rule. However, in the 10th century AD, Jewish scribes added pointing (little marks above or below the Hebrew letters to indicate the associated vowel sounds). The pointing confirms the feminine form.
  Moses was thinking of the Lord as his mother remembering that his birth mother was supposed to have killed him as a baby ex0122. We also see God in the feminine form in the Song of Songs so0311.
.16 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
.17  And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
.18  And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
 19  Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
   16 - Gather ... seventy The people were getting more rebellious, lacking faith, and Moses needed to share the administrative burden. He followed Jethro's advice to appoint a hierarchy of leaders ex18. Later God asked for 70 to go with him up the mountain ex24.
   17 - Spirit See on ne0920.
   18 - Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow Those who prayed for righteousness would be among those who resisted the temptation of gluttony and an unholy attitude.
 20  But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
 21  And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.
 22  Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?
 23  And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORDíS hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
   20 - Until it come out at your nostrils God's displeasure with the coming feast was very clear. "Wonderful Egypt" was a common theme ex1603.
   21 - Should I give them Moses showed lack of faith.
  23 - Hand ... short? See is5002, is5901.
.24 ¶ And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
.25  And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
  25 - In a cloud The term is used for a variety of circumstances. See it in ge0912,3, ex1321, ex2418, eze0811, eze3003, jl0202, zp0115.
.26  But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
 27  And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
 28  And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
 29  And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORDíS people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
 30  And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.
  29 - Prophets ... spirit The Father wants to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit lu1113. This does not mean that we may be given special messages from God.
.31 ¶ And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a dayís journey on this side, and as it were a dayís journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
.32  And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
.33  And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.
.34  And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
.35  And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.
   31 - Two cubits high Some have calculated how many birds there would have been piled this high then have shown that the people could not have gathered that many. It's easy to doubt. Sometimes we do not have an answer for such problems. Here, I expect the birds were flying that low. Scholars believe that these were like the American quail which tend to live near the ground. Also the words "as it were" give us the idea that the measure was how it seemed rather than how it was.
   33 - While ... between their teeth Reading only this verse we wonder how their punishment was just. The next verse indicates that those who were lusting (eating to please unholy appetite) were buried. Others ate and suffered less. Probably some had obeyed the command of v18 and were not punished.
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