Complaints about Hardship

11 Now the people began complaining openly before[a] the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, his anger burned,(A) and fire(B) from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So that place was named Taberah,[b](C) because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them.

Complaints about Food

The riffraff[c] among them(D) had a strong craving(E) for other food. The Israelites wept again and said, “Who will feed us meat? We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt,(F) along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our appetite is gone;[d] there’s nothing to look at but this manna!”

The manna(G) resembled coriander seed, and its appearance was like that of bdellium.[e] The people walked around and gathered it. They ground it on a pair of grinding stones or crushed it in a mortar, then boiled it in a cooking pot and shaped it into cakes. It tasted like a pastry cooked with the finest oil. When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.(H)

10 Moses heard the people, family after family, weeping at the entrance of their tents. The Lord was very angry;(I) Moses was also provoked.[f] 11 So Moses asked the Lord, “Why have you brought such trouble on your servant? Why are you angry with me,[g] and why do you burden me with all these people?(J) 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so you should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing mother carries a baby,’(K) to the land that you swore to give their ancestors?(L) 13 Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they are weeping to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. 15 If you are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now(M) if I have found favor with you, and(N) don’t let me see my misery[h] anymore.”

Seventy Elders Anointed

16 The Lord answered Moses, “Bring me seventy men from Israel known to you as elders and officers of the people. Take them to the tent of meeting and have them stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and speak with you there. I will take some of the Spirit who is on you and put the Spirit on them.(O) They will help you bear the burden of the people, so that you do not have to bear it by yourself.(P)

18 “Tell the people: Consecrate yourselves in readiness for tomorrow, and you will eat meat because you wept in the Lord’s hearing, ‘Who will feed us meat? We were better off in Egypt.’ The Lord will give you meat and you will eat. 19 You will eat, not for one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes nauseating to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and wept before him, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” (Q)

21 But Moses replied, “I’m in the middle of a people with six hundred thousand foot soldiers,(R) yet you say, ‘I will give them meat, and they will eat for a month.’ 22 If flocks and herds were slaughtered for them, would they have enough? Or if all the fish in the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?” (S)

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm weak?[i](T) Now you will see whether or not what I have promised will happen to you.”

24 Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He brought seventy men from the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him.(U) He took some of the Spirit who was on Moses and placed the Spirit on the seventy elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied,(V) but they never did it again. 26 Two men had remained in the camp, one named Eldad and the other Medad; the Spirit rested on them—they were among those listed, but had not gone out to the tent—and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua son of Nun, assistant to Moses since his youth,[j] responded, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

29 But Moses asked him, “Are you jealous on my account?(W) If only all the Lord’s people were prophets and the Lord would place his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.

Quail in the Camp

31 A wind sent by the Lord(X) came up and blew quail in from the sea; it dropped them all around the camp. They were flying three feet[k] off[l] the ground for about a day’s journey in every direction.(Y) 32 The people were up all that day and night and all the next day gathering the quail—the one who took the least gathered sixty bushels[m]—and they spread them out all around the camp.[n](Z)

33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the Lord’s anger burned(AA) against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very severe plague.(AB) 34 So they named that place Kibroth-hattaavah,[o] because there they buried the people who had craved the meat.

35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people moved on to Hazeroth[p](AC) and remained there.

Miriam and Aaron Rebel

12 Miriam(AD) and Aaron criticized Moses because of the Cushite woman he married (for he had married a Cushite woman). They said, “Does the Lord speak only through Moses? Does he not also speak through us?” And the Lord heard it. Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth.

Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord descended in a pillar of cloud,(AE) stood at the entrance to the tent, and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them came forward, he said:

“Listen to what I say:
If there is a prophet among you from the Lord,
I make myself known to him in a vision;(AF)
I speak with him in a dream.
Not so with my servant Moses;
he is faithful in[q] all my household.(AG)
I speak with him(AH) directly,[r]
openly, and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.(AI)

So why were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” The Lord’s anger burned against them,(AJ) and he left.

10 As the cloud moved away from the tent, Miriam’s skin suddenly became diseased, resembling snow.[s] When Aaron turned toward her, he saw that she was diseased 11 and said to Moses, “My lord, please don’t hold against us this sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Please don’t let her be like a dead baby[t] whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.”

13 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “God, please heal her!” (AK)

14 The Lord answered Moses, “If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she remain in disgrace for seven days? Let her be confined outside the camp(AL) for seven days;(AM) after that she may be brought back in.” 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was brought back in.(AN) 16 After that, the people set out from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran.


  1. 11:1 Lit in the ears of
  2. 11:3 = Blaze
  3. 11:4 Or The mixed multitude; Hb obscure
  4. 11:6 Or our lives are wasting away, or our throat is dry
  5. 11:7 A yellowish, transparent gum resin
  6. 11:10 Lit and it was evil in the eyes of Moses
  7. 11:11 Lit Why have I not found favor in your eyes
  8. 11:15 Alt Hb tradition reads your misery
  9. 11:23 Lit the Lord’s arm too short
  10. 11:28 Or Moses, from his elite young men
  11. 11:31 Lit two cubits
  12. 11:31 Or They were three feet deep on
  13. 11:32 Lit 10 homers
  14. 11:32 To dry or cure the meat; 2Sm 17:19; Ezk 26:5,14
  15. 11:34 = Graves of Craving
  16. 11:35 = Settlements; Nm 12:16; 33:16–17
  17. 12:7 Or is entrusted with
  18. 12:8 Lit mouth to mouth
  19. 12:10 A reference to whiteness or flakiness of the skin
  20. 12:12 Alt Hb tradition reads baby who comes out of our mother’s womb and our flesh is half eaten away.

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