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Numbers 11 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

The Israelites Complain

11 And it happened, the people were like those who complain of hardship[a] in the hearing[b] of Yahweh, and Yahweh became angry,[c] and the fire of Yahweh burned among them, and it consumed the edge of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to Yahweh, and the fire died down. And he called the name of that place Taberah[d] because the fire of Yahweh burned among them.

The riff-raff that were in their midst had a strong desire;[e] and the Israelites[f] turned back and also wept, and they said, “Who will feed us meat? We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumber, melon, leek, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up;[g] there is nothing whatsoever except for the manna before us.”[h]

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its outward appearance was like that of bdellium-gum. The people went about and gathered it, and they ground it with mills or crushed it with mortar. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into bread-cakes; and it tasted like olive oil cakes. When the dew came down on the camp at night, the manna came down with it.

10 Moses heard the people weeping according to their[i] clans, each at the doorway of their tents. Then Yahweh became very angry,[j] and in the eyes of Moses it was bad. 11 And Moses said to Yahweh, “Why have you brought trouble to your servant? Why have I not found favor in your eyes, that the burdens of all these people have been placed on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? If I have fathered them,[k] that you could say to me, ‘Carry them[l] in your lap, just as a foster-father carries the suckling on the land that you swore an oath to their ancestors?’[m] 13 From where do I have meat to give all these people? They weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat and let us eat!’ 14 I am not able to carry all these people along alone; they are too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please kill me immediately if I find favor in your eyes, and do not let me see my misery.”

16 And Yahweh said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men from the elders of Israel whom you know are elders of the people and their[n] officials; take them to the tent of assembly, and they will stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there; I will take away from the spirit that is on you, and I will place it on them; and they will bear the burdens of the people with you; you will not bear it alone. 18 And you will say to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves tomorrow, for you will eat meat because you have wept in the ears of Yahweh, saying, “Who will feed us good meat? It was good for us in Egypt.” Yahweh will give to you meat, and you will eat. 19 You will eat, not one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month,[o] until it comes out from your nose and becomes as nausea to you; because you have rejected Yahweh, who is in your midst, and you wept before his presence,[p] saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’” 21 But Moses said, “There are six hundred thousand on foot, among whom I am in the midst, and you yourself said, ‘I will give meat to them, and they will eat for a whole month.’ 22 Should flocks and cattle be slaughtered for them? Should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be enough for them?” 23 And Yahweh said to Moses, “Is Yahweh’s power limited?[q] Now you will see if my word will happen or not.”

24 So Moses went out, and he spoke the words of Yahweh to the people, and he gathered together seventy men from the elders of the people, and he made them stand[r] all around the tent. 25 Then Yahweh went down in the cloud and spoke to him, and he took away the spirit that was on him, and he put it[s] on the seventy elders. And as soon as the spirit was resting on them they prophesied, but they did not do it again.

26 But two men were left in the camp; the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the second was Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those who were written down, but they did not go out to the tent, so they prophesied in the camp. 27 So a boy[t] ran and told Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from time of his youth, answered, “Moses, my lord, stop them.” 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that he[u] give all Yahweh’s people prophets, that Yahweh put his spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel were gathered to the camp.

The Quail

31 Then a wind set out from Yahweh, and it drove quails from the west, and he spread them out on the camp about a day’s journey on one side and about a day’s journey on the other, all around the camp, about two cubits on the surface of the land. 32 And so the people worked[v] all day and all night and all the next day, and they gathered the quail (the least of the ones collecting gathered ten homers).[w] 33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was consumed, Yahweh was angry with the people, and Yahweh struck a very great plague among the people. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah[x] because they buried the people that were greedy.[y] 35 From Kibroth Hattaavah[z] the people set out to Hazeroth; and they stayed[aa] in Hazeroth.


  1. Numbers 11:1 Literally “complain of bad”
  2. Numbers 11:1 Literally “in the ears”
  3. Numbers 11:1 Literally “his nose became hot”
  4. Numbers 11:3 This word is difficult, but some modern translations suggest the word in Hebrew means “burning” (see NRSV, NASB)
  5. Numbers 11:4 Literally “desired a desire”
  6. Numbers 11:4 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  7. Numbers 11:6 Literally “our life is dry”
  8. Numbers 11:6 Literally “for the manna of our eyes”
  9. Numbers 11:10 Hebrew “its”
  10. Numbers 11:10 Literally “the nose of Yahweh became very hot”
  11. Numbers 11:12 Hebrew “him/it”
  12. Numbers 11:12 Hebrew “him/it”
  13. Numbers 11:12 Or “fathers”
  14. Numbers 11:16 Hebrew “his/its”
  15. Numbers 11:20 Literally “until a period of one month”
  16. Numbers 11:20 Literally “before his face”
  17. Numbers 11:23 Literally “Is Yahweh’s hand short?”
  18. Numbers 11:24 Literally “caused them to stand”
  19. Numbers 11:25 Or “gave it”
  20. Numbers 11:27 Hebrew “the boy”
  21. Numbers 11:29 That is, Yahweh
  22. Numbers 11:32 Literally “arose”
  23. Numbers 11:32 HALOT 330, “a dry measure”
  24. Numbers 11:34 Hebrew “the graves of greediness”
  25. Numbers 11:34 Literally “craved”
  26. Numbers 11:35 Hebrew “the graves of greediness”
  27. Numbers 11:35 Hebrew “they were”
Lexham English Bible (LEB)

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Numbers 11 New International Version (NIV)

Fire From the Lord

11 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. So that place was called Taberah,[a] because fire from the Lord had burned among them.

Quail From the Lord

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!

The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, 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. When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.

10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing 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 on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 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, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? 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. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—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 who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, 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—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men 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?”

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.

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 and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—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, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail 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 and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah,[d] because there they buried the people who had craved other food.

35 From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth and stayed there.


  1. Numbers 11:3 Taberah means burning.
  2. Numbers 11:31 That is, about 3 feet or about 90 centimeters
  3. Numbers 11:32 That is, possibly about 1 3/4 tons or about 1.6 metric tons
  4. Numbers 11:34 Kibroth Hattaavah means graves of craving.
New International Version (NIV)

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