Bible: Numbers 11-13


The Israelites Complain


When the people complained, 2  it displeased 3  the Lord. When the Lord heard 4  it, his anger burned, 5  and so 6  the fire of the Lord 7  burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp. 11:2 When the people cried to Moses, he 8  prayed to the Lord, and the fire died out. 9  11:3 So he called the name of that place Taberah 10  because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.


Complaints about Food


Now the mixed multitude 12  who were among them craved more desirable foods, 13  and so the Israelites wept again 14  and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 15  11:5 We remember 16  the fish we used to eat 17  freely 18  in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we 19  are dried up, 20  and there is nothing at all before us 21  except this manna! 11:7 (Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 11:8 And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it with mills or pounded it in mortars; they baked it in pans and made cakes of it. It tasted like fresh olive oil. 22  11:9 And when the dew came down 23  on the camp in the night, the manna fell 24  with it.)


Moses’ Complaint to the Lord


Moses heard the people weeping 26  throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 27  11:11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted 28  your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that 29  you lay the burden of this entire people on me? 11:12 Did I conceive this entire people? 30  Did I give birth to 31  them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your arms, as a foster father 32  bears a nursing child,’ to the land which you swore to their fathers? 11:13 From where shall I get 33  meat to give to this entire people, for they cry to me, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat!’ 34  11:14 I am not able to bear this entire people alone, 35  because it 36  is too heavy for me! 11:15 But if you are going to deal 37  with me like this, then kill me immediately. 38  If I have found favor in your sight then do not let me see my trouble.” 39 


The Response of God


The Lord said to Moses, “Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know are elders of the people and officials 41  over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting; let them take their position there with you. 11:17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take part of the spirit that is on you, and will put it on them, and they will bear some of the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it 42  all by yourself.

11:18And say to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves 43  for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing 44  of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat, 45  for life 46  was good for us in Egypt?” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 11:19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 11:20 but a whole month, 47  until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick, 48  because you have despised 49  the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why 50  did we ever come out of Egypt?”’

11:21 Moses said, “The people around me 51  are 600,000 on foot; 52  but you say, ‘I will give them meat, 53  that they may eat 54  for a whole month.’ 11:22 Would they have enough if the flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough? 11:23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? 55  Now you will see whether my word to you will come true 56  or not!

11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He then gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and had them stand around the tabernacle. 11:25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to them, and he took some of the Spirit that was on Moses 57  and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, 58  they prophesied, 59  but did not do so again. 60 

Eldad and Medad

11:26 But two men remained in the camp; one’s name was Eldad, and the other’s name was Medad. And the spirit rested on them. (Now they were among those in the registration, 61  but had not gone to the tabernacle.) So they prophesied in the camp. 11:27 And a 62  young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp! 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, the servant 63  of Moses, one of his choice young men, 64  said, 65 My lord Moses, stop them! 66  11:29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for me? 67  I wish that 68  all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them! 11:30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.

Provision of Quail

11:31 Now a wind 69  went out 70  from the Lord and brought quail 71  from the sea, and let them fall 72  near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet 73  high on the surface of the ground. 11:32 And the people stayed up 74  all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. The one who gathered the least gathered ten homers, 75  and they spread them out 76  for themselves all around the camp. 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, 77  the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.

11:34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth Hattaavah, 78  because there they buried the people that craved different food. 79  11:35 The people traveled from Kibroth Hattaavah to Hazeroth, and they stayed at Hazeroth.


Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses


Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against 81  Moses because of the Cushite 82  woman he had married 83  (for he had married an Ethiopian woman). 12:2 They 84  said, “Has the Lord only 85  spoken through Moses? Has he not also spoken through us?” 86  And the Lord heard it. 87 

12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, 88  more so than any man on the face of the earth.)

The Response of the Lord

12:4 The Lord spoke immediately to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: “The three of you come to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went. 12:5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent; he then called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward.

12:6 The Lord 89  said, “Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, 90  I the Lord 91  will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream. 12:7 My servant 92  Moses is not like this; he is faithful 93  in all my house. 12:8 With him I will speak face to face, 94  openly, 95  and not in riddles; and he will see the form 96  of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 12:9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he departed. 12:10 When 97  the cloud departed from above the tent, Miriam became 98  leprous 99  as snow. Then Aaron looked at 100  Miriam, and she was leprous!

The Intercession of Moses

12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, 101  please do not hold this sin against us, in which we have acted foolishly and have sinned! 12:12 Do not let her be like a baby born dead, whose flesh is half-consumed when it comes out of its 102  mother’s womb!

12:13 Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” 103  12:14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had only spit 104  in her face, would she not have been disgraced for seven days? Shut her out from the camp seven days, and afterward she can be brought back in again.”

12:15 So Miriam was shut outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not journey on until Miriam was brought back in. 105  12:16 After that the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.


Spies Sent Out


The Lord spoke 107  to Moses: 13:2 Send out men to investigate 108  the land of Canaan, which I am giving 109  to the Israelites. You are to send one man from each ancestral tribe, 110  each one a leader among them.” 13:3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command 111  of the Lord. All of them were leaders 112  of the Israelites.

13:4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; 13:5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 13:6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 13:7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 13:8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 13:9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 13:10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 13:11 from the tribe 113  of Joseph, namely, the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi son of Susi; 13:12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13:13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 13:14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vopshi; 13:15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 13:16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to investigate the land. And Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua. 114 

The Spies’ Instructions

13:17 When Moses sent 115  them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, 116  and then go up into the hill country 13:18 and see 117  what the land is like, 118  and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 13:19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities, 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, 119  and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year 120  for the first ripe grapes. 121 

The Spies’ Activities

13:21 So they went up and investigated the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, 122  at the entrance of Hamath. 123  13:22 When they went up through the Negev, they 124  came 125  to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, 126  descendants of Anak, were living. (Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan 127  in Egypt.) 13:23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a staff 128  between two men, as well as some of the pomegranates and the figs. 13:24 That place was called 129  the Eshcol Valley, 130  because of the cluster 131  of grapes that the Israelites cut from there. 13:25 They returned from investigating the land after forty days.

The Spies’ Reports

13:26 They came back 132  to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. 133  They reported 134  to the whole community and showed the fruit of the land. 13:27 They told Moses, 135  “We went to the land where you sent us. 136  It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, 137  and this is its fruit. 13:28 But 138  the inhabitants 139  are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the banks 140  of the Jordan.” 141 

13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, “Let us go up 142  and occupy it, 143  for we are well able to conquer it.” 144  13:31 But the men 145  who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are! 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging 146  report of the land they had investigated, saying, “The land that we passed through 147  to investigate is a land that devours 148  its inhabitants. 149  All the people we saw there 150  are of great stature. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim 151  there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves 152  and to them.” 153 

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