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They challenged both God and Moses.

Israelites: What were you thinking to bring us up out of Egypt and let us die out here in this desert land? There’s nothing to eat and no water either. We are sick and tired of living on what food we have.

As a divine response, the Eternal One sent venomous snakes[a] among them and the people were bitten. A number of Israelites were indeed killed by them. They then appealed to Moses.

Israelites: We are so sorry! We know that it was wrong to speak against the Eternal and against you. Please talk to the Him, and get Him to take these awful snakes away.

So Moses appealed to God on behalf of the terrified and chastened congregation,

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  1. 21:6 Hebrew, seraphim, which literally is “fiery snakes”

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