Numbers 11

11:0This is the second part of the book (Chapters 11-20). It is about the Israelites traveling through the desert.

Moses chooses 70 men to be leaders of the Israelites

1 But the people started to say bad words about their problems. The LORD heard them and he became very angry. He sent fire. The LORD's fire burned among them and it destroyed some edges of the camp. 2 So the people asked Moses to help them. And Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire stopped. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because the LORD's fire burned among them there.

11:3The Israelites had travelled for three days only. But already they had begun to complain.

4 Some foreign people were travelling with the Israelites. Those people wanted very much to eat the wrong things. And the Israelites cried again too. And they said, ‘We want meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt. It did not cost us anything. And we remember the vegetables called cucumbers, leeks, onions and garlic. And we remember the fruit called melons. 6 But now we do not want to eat anything. There is not even anything to look at except this manna.’ 7 The manna was like the seeds called coriander. The colours of the seeds were yellow and white, like the oil called bdellium. 8 The people walked about and they picked it up. They used two stones to make it into flour. Or they hit it with a tool. They boiled it in pots and they made cakes with it. They tasted it. And it was like the cakes that people bake with oil. 9 At night, the air became wet and water fell on the ground in the camp. And the manna fell with it.

11:9When the Israelites left the country called Egypt, some foreign people came with them. We do not know why these foreign people came with them. Perhaps some of them were slaves.

10 People from each family were crying at the doors of their tents. And Moses heard them. The LORD became very angry with the people. And so Moses was not happy. 11 So Moses said to the LORD, ‘I am your servant. But you have given this problem to me! It seems that I have done something to make you angry. You have given to me the hard job of leader of all these people. 12 They are not my children! But you have said to me, “Be like a baby's mother to them. And carry them to the country that I have promised to their ancestors.” 13 They are crying in front of me and they are saying, “Give us meat that we may eat!” But I cannot get meat to give to all these people! 14 I cannot be the leader of all these people without help. This job is too difficult for me. 15 So if you want to do this to me, please kill me now. I do not want to know that I have wasted my life.’

16 So the LORD said to Moses, ‘Choose 70 leaders of the Israelites and bring them to the Tent of Meeting. They must stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and I will speak with you there. And I will take some of the power that I gave to you. I will give it to them. And they will help you to lead the people. So you will not be the only man who is doing that job.

18 And say to the people, “The LORD heard you when you were crying. You said, ‘We want someone to give us meat to eat! It was better when we were in Egypt.’ So the LORD will give you meat and you will eat it. So, make yourselves clean for tomorrow, and you will eat meat. 19 You will not eat it for one day, or two days, or 5 days, or 10 days, or 20 days. 20 You will eat it for a whole month, until it comes out of your noses. It will start to seem disgusting to you. That is because you have turned away from the LORD. He is among you and you have wept in front of him. And you have said, ‘We do not know why we left Egypt. It was better there.’ ” ’

21 But Moses said, ‘There are at least 600,000 men here. But you have said, “I will give to them meat to eat for a whole month.” 22 We would not have enough meat for them if we killed all our sheep and cows. If we caught every fish in the sea, we might not have enough!’

23 Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Perhaps you think that the LORD cannot do some things! I have promised something. Soon, you will see whether it happens!’ 24 So Moses went out and he told the people the words of the LORD. Also he chose 70 leaders of the Israelites and he put them round the tent. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud. And he spoke to Moses. And he took some of the power that he had given to Moses. And he gave it to the 70 leaders. And God's Spirit stayed on them for a little time. Then they prophesied. But they did not do it again after that.

26 But two men had stayed in the camp. Their names were Eldad and Medad. They were among those that Moses had chosen. But they had not gone out to the tent.

And God's Spirit stayed on them for a little time. Then they prophesied in the camp. 27 So a young man ran to Moses and he said, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’

28 Then Joshua the son of Nun said to Moses, ‘Moses, my master, stop them.’ Since Joshua was a boy, he had been Moses' servant.

29 But Moses said to him, ‘Perhaps you think that this might make me sad. And that is why you are not happy. But I wish that the LORD would give his Spirit to all his people. I wish that they were all prophets!’ 30 Then Moses and the leaders returned to the camp.

The LORD sends birds called quails to the Israelites

31 Then the LORD sent a wind. It blew in birds called quails from the sea. They were everywhere round the camp. They fell to the ground round the camp. There were birds everywhere as far as a person could walk in one day in any direction. There was about a metre (3 feet) of them over the ground. 32 The people were picking up the birds all day and all night and all the next day. Each person got more than 220 litres (465 pints) of birds. And they put their dead bodies on the ground everywhere round the camp. 33 But the LORD became very angry with the people. The meat was still between their teeth, but they had not really even started to eat it. The LORD sent a very bad illness everywhere among the people. 34 They buried there the greedy people who had wanted meat. So the people called that place Kibroth-Hattaavah.

11:34That means ‘places to bury greedy people’.

35 From Kibroth-Hattaavah the people started to travel to Hazeroth, and they stayed at Hazeroth.

11:35‘Hazeroth’ comes from a Hebrew word that means ‘a place to make a home.’