So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.
The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you."
Whenever it came to rest, he said, "Return, O LORD, to the countless thousands of Israel."
Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.
When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.
So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat!
We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!"
The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.
The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.
When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.
He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?
Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers?
Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!'
I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.
If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now--if I have found favor in your eyes--and do not let me face my own ruin."
The LORD said to Moses: "Bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you.
I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.
"Tell the people: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it.
You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days,
but for a whole month--until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it--because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?" ' "
But Moses said, "Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, 'I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!'
Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?"
The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent.
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.
However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.
A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said, "Moses, my lord, stop them!"
But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!"
Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day's walk in any direction.
All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp.
But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.