New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Discontent of the People. 1 Now the people complained bitterly in the hearing of the Lord;(A) and when he heard it his wrath flared up, so that the Lord’s fire burned among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 But when the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. 3 Hence that place was called Taberah,[a] because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.
4 The riffraff among them were so greedy for meat that even the Israelites lamented again,(B) “If only we had meat for food! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now we are famished; we have nothing to look forward to but this manna.”(C)
7 (D)Manna was like coriander seed[b] and had the appearance of bdellium. 8 When they had gone about and gathered it up, the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar, then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves, with a rich creamy taste. 9 At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.(E)
10 When Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents, so that the Lord became very angry, he was grieved. 11 “Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the Lord. “Why are you so displeased with me that you burden me with all this people? 12 Was it I who conceived all this people? or was it I who gave them birth, that you tell me to carry them at my breast, like a nurse carrying an infant, to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers? 13 Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, ‘Give us meat for our food.’ 14 I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. 15 If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face my distress.”
The Seventy Elders. 16 Then the Lord said to Moses: Assemble for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be elders and authorities among the people, and bring them to the tent of meeting. When they are in place beside you, 17 I will come down and speak with you there. I will also take some of the spirit that is on you and will confer it on them, that they may share the burden of the people with you. You will then not have to bear it by yourself.
18 To the people, however, you shall say: “Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, when you shall have meat to eat. For in the hearing of the Lord you have cried, ‘If only we had meat for food! Oh, how well off we were in Egypt!’ Therefore the Lord will give you meat to eat, 19 and you will eat it, not for one day, or two days, or five, or ten, or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your very nostrils and becomes loathsome to you. For you have rejected the Lord who is in your midst, and in his presence you have cried, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’”
21 But Moses said, “The people around me include six hundred thousand soldiers; yet you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month.’ 22 Can enough sheep and cattle be slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?” 23 The Lord answered Moses: Is this beyond the Lord’s reach? You shall see now whether or not what I have said to you takes place.
The Spirit on the Elders. 24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. Gathering seventy elders of the people, he had them stand around the tent. 25 The Lord then came down in the cloud and spoke to him. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, he bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied[c] but did not continue.
26 Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, had remained in the camp, yet the spirit came to rest on them also. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 So, when a young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp,” 28 Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said, “My lord, Moses, stop them.” 29 But Moses answered him, “Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the people of the Lord were prophets! If only the Lord would bestow his spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses retired to the camp, along with the elders of Israel.
The Quail. 31 There arose a wind(F) from the Lord that drove in quail from the sea and left them all around the camp site, to a distance of a day’s journey and at a depth of two cubits upon the ground.[d] 32 (G)So all that day, all night, and all the next day the people set about to gather in the quail. Even the one who got the least gathered ten homers[e] of them. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be chewed, the Lord’s wrath flared up against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very great plague. 34 So that place was named Kibroth-hattaavah,[f] because it was there that the greedy people were buried.
35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people set out for Hazeroth, where they stayed.
- 11:3 Taberah: means “the burning.”
- 11:7 Coriander seed: see note on Ex 16:31. Bdellium: a transparent, amber-colored gum resin, which is also mentioned in Gn 2:12.
- 11:25 They prophesied: in the sense, not of foretelling the future, but of speaking in enraptured enthusiasm. Such manifestations are mentioned in the early days of Hebrew prophecy (1 Sm 10:10–12; 19:20–21; Jl 3:1) and in the first years of the Church (Acts 2:6–11, 17; 19:6; 1 Cor 12–14).
- 11:31 The heaps of quail lying upon the ground all around the Israelites’ camp suggest the ambiguity of God’s response to the people’s lament for meat in v. 4 and foreshadow the plague which God will now bring upon Israel (v. 33). Their request had been nothing less than a rejection of what God has done for them (v. 20).
- 11:32 Homers: see note on Is 5:10. They spread them out: to cure by drying.
- 11:34 Kibroth-hattaavah: means “graves of greed.”
New International Version
Fire From the Lord
11 Now the people complained(A) about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord,(B) and when he heard them his anger was aroused.(C) Then fire from the Lord burned among them(D) and consumed(E) some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed(F) to the Lord(G) and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah,[a](H) because fire from the Lord had burned among them.(I)
Quail From the Lord
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food,(J) and again the Israelites started wailing(K) and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.(L) 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!(M)”
7 The manna was like coriander seed(N) and looked like resin.(O) 8 The people went around gathering it,(P) and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew(Q) settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing(R) at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble(S) on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?(T) 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant,(U) to the land you promised on oath(V) to their ancestors?(W) 13 Where can I get meat for all these people?(X) They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.(Y) 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me(Z)—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders(AA) who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people.(AB) Have them come to the tent of meeting,(AC) that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you(AD) there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them.(AE) They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.(AF)
18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves(AG) in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed,(AH) “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!”(AI) Now the Lord will give you meat,(AJ) and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it(AK)—because you have rejected the Lord,(AL) who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”(AM)
21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men(AN) on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”(AO)
24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud(AR) and spoke with him,(AS) and he took some of the power of the Spirit(AT) that was on him and put it on the seventy elders.(AU) When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied(AV)—but did not do so again.
26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them,(AW) and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets(BA) and that the Lord would put his Spirit(BB) on them!”(BC) 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail(BD) in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits[b] deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers.[c] Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth(BE) and before it could be consumed, the anger(BF) of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.(BG) 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah,[d](BH) because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
35 From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth(BI) and stayed there.