Numbers 11:18-23

18 And say to the people: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wailed in the hearing of the Lord, saying, "If only we had meat to eat! Surely it was better for us in Egypt.' Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.
19 You shall eat not only 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 loathsome to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?' "
21 But Moses said, "The people I am with number six hundred thousand on foot; and you say, "I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month'!
22 Are there enough flocks and herds to slaughter for them? Are there enough fish in the sea to catch for them?"
23 The Lord said to Moses, "Is the Lord's power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not."

Numbers 11:18-23 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 11

This chapter informs us of the complaints of the people of Israel, which brought the fire of the Lord upon them, and consumed many of them; and which, at the intercession of Moses, was quenched, and the place from thence called Taberah, Nu 11:1-3; and of the lusting of the mixed multitude after flesh, to increase which, they called to mind their food in Egypt; and to show their folly and ingratitude in so doing, the manna is described, Nu 11:4-9; and of the uneasiness of Moses, and his complaints of the heavy burden of the people upon him, Nu 11:10-15; and to make him easy, it is promised, that seventy of the elders of Israel should partake of his spirit, and assist in bearing the burden, Nu 11:16,17; and that the people should have flesh to serve them a whole month, Nu 11:18-20; at which last Moses expressed some degree of unbelief, Nu 11:21-23; however God fulfilled his promise with respect to both. Some of the spirit of Moses was taken and given to seventy elders, who prophesied, and two men are particularly taken notice of, who did so, Nu 11:24-30; quails in great numbers were brought by a wind to the people; but while they were eating them wrath came upon them, and they were smitten with a plague, whence the place was called Kibrothhattaavah, Nu 11:31-34; and from thence they removed to Hazeroth, Nu 11:35.

Numbers 11:18-23 In-Context

16 So the Lord said to Moses, "Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you.
17 I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself.
18 And say to the people: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wailed in the hearing of the Lord, saying, "If only we had meat to eat! Surely it was better for us in Egypt.' Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.
19 You shall eat not only 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 loathsome to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?' "
21 But Moses said, "The people I am with number six hundred thousand on foot; and you say, "I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month'!
22 Are there enough flocks and herds to slaughter for them? Are there enough fish in the sea to catch for them?"
23 The Lord said to Moses, "Is the Lord's power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not."
24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent.
25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Heb [Lord's hand too short?]