4 Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.5 “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted.6 But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”
7 The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin.8 The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil.9 The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night.
10 Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the Lord became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated.11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?12 Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors?13 Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’14 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”
Moses Chooses Seventy Leaders
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle[a] to stand there with you.17 I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.
18 “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it.19 And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty.20 You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
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