Numbers 11:1-15

Fire From the LORD

1 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.
2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.
3 So that place was called Taberah,[a] because fire from the LORD had burned among them.

Quail From the LORD

4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!
5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.
8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.
9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.
11 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?
12 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 ancestors?
13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’
14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.
15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

Numbers 11:1-15 Meaning and Commentary


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.

Cross References 27

  • 1. S Exodus 14:11; S Exodus 16:7; Lamentations 3:39
  • 2. Numbers 12:2; Deuteronomy 1:34
  • 3. S Exodus 4:14
  • 4. S Leviticus 10:2
  • 5. Numbers 21:28; Psalms 78:63; Isaiah 26:11
  • 6. Deuteronomy 9:19; 1 Samuel 2:25; 1 Samuel 12:23; Psalms 106:23
  • 7. S Genesis 20:7; Numbers 21:7; Deuteronomy 9:20; John 2:1
  • 8. Deuteronomy 9:22
  • 9. Numbers 16:35; Job 1:16; Isaiah 10:17
  • 10. S Exodus 16:3; Exodus 12:38
  • 11. ver 18; Psalms 78:18; 1 Corinthians 10:6
  • 12. S Exodus 16:3; Numbers 21:5
  • 13. Exodus 16:14
  • 14. S Exodus 16:31
  • 15. Genesis 2:12
  • 16. Exodus 16:16
  • 17. Exodus 16:13
  • 18. ver 4
  • 19. S Genesis 34:30
  • 20. S Exodus 5:22; S Exodus 18:18
  • 21. Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 66:11,12
  • 22. Numbers 14:16
  • 23. S Genesis 12:7; Exodus 13:5
  • 24. S Exodus 12:37; John 6:5-9
  • 25. S Exodus 18:18
  • 26. Exodus 32:32
  • 27. 1 Kings 19:4; Job 6:9; Job 7:15-16; Job 9:21; Job 10:1; Isaiah 38:12; John 4:3

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. "Taberah" means "burning" .
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