The Fourth Book of Moses, Called Numbers

Chapter 11

The burning at Taberah quenched by Moses' prayer, 1-3. The people lust for flesh and loathe manna, 4-9. Moses complains about his charge, 10-15. God promises to divide his burden to seventy elders and to give the people flesh for a month, 16-20. Moses' faith is staggered, 21-30. Quails are given in wrath at Kibroth-hattaavah, 31-35.

1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD. And the LORD heard it and his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burnt among them and consumed those who were in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2 And the people cried to Moses. And when Moses prayed to the LORD, the fire was quenched. 3 And he called the name of the place Taberah because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.

4 And the mixed multitude who was among them fell to lusting. And the children of Israel also wept again and said, "Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we ate in Egypt freely, and also the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our soul is dried away. There is nothing at all besides this manna before our eyes."

7 And the manna was as coriander-seed and its color as the color of bdellium. 8 And the people went around and gathered it and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar and baked it in pans and made cakes of it. And its taste was as the taste of fresh oil. 9 And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.

10 Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each in the door of his tent. And the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was also displeased. 11 And Moses said to the LORD, "Why have you afflicted your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight that you lay the burden of all this people upon me? 12 Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them that you should say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing-father bears the nursing child, to the land which you swore to their fathers'? 13 From where should I get flesh to give to all this people? For they weep to me, saying, 'Give us flesh that we may eat.' 14 I am not able to bear all this people alone because it is too heavy for me. 15 And if you deal thus with me, kill me, I pray you, out of hand, if I have found favor in your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness."

16 And the LORD said to Moses, "Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel whom you know to be the elders of the people, and officers over them, and bring them to the Tabernacle of the Congregation so that they may stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit which is upon you and put it upon them. And they shall bear the burden of the people with you so that you may not bear it yourself alone. 18 And say to the people, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat flesh, for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, "Who shall give us flesh to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore, the LORD will give you flesh, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days, 20 But even a whole month until it comes out at your nostrils and it is loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, "Why did we come forth out of Egypt?"'" 21 And Moses said, "The people among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen, and you have said, 'I will give them flesh so that they may eat a whole month.' 22 Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them to suffice for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered for them to suffice for them?" 23 And the LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD'S hand shortened? You shall see now whether my word shall come to pass for you, or not."

24 And Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and set them around the tabernacle. 25 And the LORD came down in a cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit who was upon him and gave it to the seventy elders. And it came to pass, that when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied and did not cease.

26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad, and the Spirit rested upon them, and they were of those who were described, but did not go out to the tabernacle. And they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran there and told Moses, and said, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, "My lord, Moses, forbid them." 29 And Moses said to him, "Do you envy for my sake? I wish that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them." 30 And Moses withdrew into the camp—he and the elders of Israel.

31 And there went forth a wind from the LORD and brought quails from the sea and let them fall by the camp, about a day's journey on this side and about a day's journey on the other side around the camp, and about two cubits high upon the face of the earth. 32 And the people stood up all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails. He who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them all abroad for themselves around the camp. 33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah because there they buried the people who lusted. 35 And the people journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah to Hazeroth and stayed at Hazeroth.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Numbers, Chapter 11[➚]