11 Now the people began complaining openly before[a] the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, his anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So that place was named Taberah,[b] because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them.
Complaints about Food
4 The riffraff[c] among them had a strong craving for other food. The Israelites wept again and said, “Who will feed us meat? 5 We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. 6 But now our appetite is gone;[d] there’s nothing to look at but this manna!”7 The manna resembled coriander seed, and its appearance was like that of bdellium.[e] 8 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. 9 When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.10 Moses heard the people, family after family, weeping at the entrance of their tents. The Lord was very angry; 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? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so you should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nanny carries a baby,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 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 if I have found favor with you, and 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. They will help you bear the burden of the people, so that you do not have to bear it by yourself.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?’”21 But Moses replied, “I’m in the middle of a people with six hundred thousand foot soldiers, 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?”23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm weak?[i] 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. He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed the Spirit on the seventy elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, 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? 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 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. 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 fifty bushels[m]—and they spread them out all around the camp.[n]33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the Lord’s anger burned against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very severe plague. 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] and remained there.
Miriam and Aaron Rebel
12 Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because of the Cushite woman he married (for he had married a Cushite woman). 2 They said, “Does the Lord speak only through Moses? Does he not also speak through us?” And the Lord heard it. 3 Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth.4 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. 5 Then the Lord descended in a pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance to the tent, and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them came forward, 6 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;
I speak with him in a dream.
7 Not so with my servant Moses;
he is faithful in[q] all my household.
8 I speak with him directly,[r]
openly, and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.So why were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 9 The Lord’s anger burned against them, 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!”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 for seven days; 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. 16 After that, the people set out from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran.
Scouting Out Canaan
13 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” 3 Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran at the Lord’s command. All the men were leaders in Israel. 4 These were their names:Shammua son of Zaccur from the tribe of Reuben;5 Shaphat son of Hori from the tribe of Simeon;6 Caleb son of Jephunneh from the tribe of Judah;7 Igal son of Joseph from the tribe of Issachar;8 Hoshea son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim;9 Palti son of Raphu from the tribe of Benjamin;10 Gaddiel son of Sodi from the tribe of Zebulun;11 Gaddi son of Susi from the tribe of Manasseh (from the tribe of Joseph);12 Ammiel son of Gemalli from the tribe of Dan;13 Sethur son of Michael from the tribe of Asher;14 Nahbi son of Vophsi from the tribe of Naphtali;15 Geuel son of Machi from the tribe of Gad.16 These were the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and Moses renamed Hoshea son of Nun, Joshua.17 When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? 20 Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes.21 So they went up and scouted out the land from the Wilderness of Zin[u] as far as Rehob near the entrance to Hamath.[v] 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were living. Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. 23 When they came to the Valley of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes, which was carried on a pole by two men. They also took some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol[w] because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from scouting out the land.
Report about Canaan
26 The men went back to Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They brought back a report for them and the whole community, and they showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They reported to Moses: “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit. 28 However, the people living in the land are strong, and the cities are large and fortified. We also saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites are living in the land of the Negev; the Hethites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the Jordan.”30 Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!”31 But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” 32 So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted: “The land we passed through to explore is one that devours its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of great size. 33 We even saw the Nephilim there—the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
6 But now our appetite is gone;[d] there’s nothing to look at but this manna!” Wow. God was providing for the people, but they were grumbling and complaining. How often do we grumble and complain because of what God is providing because it just isn’t good enough. I think most of us get our eyes set on different things and we miss what God is clearly providing for us. Let’s resolve to have a thankful attitude for all God is providing instead of an attitude of grumbling and complaining about what we don’t have.