Numbers 11


וַיְהִי הָעָם כְּמִתְאֹנְנִים רַע בְּאָזְנֵי יְהוָה וַיִּשְׁמַע יְהוָה וַיִּחַר אַפֹּו וַתִּבְעַר־בָּם אֵשׁ יְהוָה וַתֹּאכַל בִּקְצֵה   11:1


Numb. 11:1     And it was when the people were murmuring evil in the ears of the Lord, then the Lord heard, and His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned because of them as it fed on the extremity of the camp.

וַיִּצְעַק הָעָם אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוָה וַתִּשְׁקַע הָאֵשׁ   11:2

Numb. 11:2  Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire abated.

וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם־הַמָּקֹום הַהוּא תַּבְעֵרָה כִּי־בָעֲרָה בָם אֵשׁ יְהוָה   11:3

Numb. 11:3  So the name of that place was called Taberah, for the fire of the Lord burned because of them.                                                                                             [Return to Deut. 9:22]

וְהָאסַפְסֻף אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבֹּו הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיִּבְכּוּ גַּם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ מִי יַאֲכִלֵנוּ בָּשָׂר   11:4

Numb. 11:4  Then the mixed multitude who were in his midst began lusting, and the children of Israel thought back, and complained as well, and they said, “Who will give us flesh to eat?”

זָכַרְנוּ אֶת־הַדָּגָה אֲשֶׁר־נֹאכַל בְּמִצְרַיִם חִנָּם אֵת הַקִּשֻּׁאִים וְאֵת הָאֲבַטִּחִים וְאֶת־הֶחָצִיר וְאֶת־   11:5

הַבְּצָלִים וְאֶת־הַשּׁוּמִים

Numb. 11:5  “We remember the fish that was to be eaten in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.”

וְעַתָּה נַפְשֵׁנוּ יְבֵשָׁה אֵין כֹּל בִּלְתִּי אֶל־הַמָּן עֵינֵינוּ   11:6

Numb. 11:6  “But now our soul is dried up; there is nothing of our seeing except the manna.”

This is another reference to the miracle I mentioned with regard to Exod. 16:3.  See also below in vss. 11:11f.

                                                                                                                                  [Return to Deut. 8:3]

וְהַמָּן כִּזְרַע־גַּד הוּא וְעֵינֹו כְּעֵין הַבְּדֹלַח   11:7

Numb. 11:7  Now the manna, it was like the seed of coriander, and its look was like the appearance of bdellium.

Bdellium is thought to be a precious stone (also mentioned in Gen. 2:12) with an appearance suggestive of a pearl.  Translucent or transparent, we don’t know for sure, but it was apparently well known to the Hebrews.

שָׁטוּ הָעָם וְלָקְטוּ וְטָחֲנוּ בָרֵחַיִם אֹו דָכוּ בַּמְּדֹכָה וּבִשְּׁלוּ בַּפָּרוּר וְעָשׂוּ אֹתֹו עֻגֹות וְהָיָה טַעְמֹו כְּטַעַם   11:8

לְשַׁד הַשָּׁמֶן

Numb. 11:8  The people went about and would gather and grind in mills or they beat in a mortar and would boil in a pot and make cakes with it, and its taste would be like the taste of the fresh moistness of oil.

וּבְרֶדֶת הַטַּל עַל־הַמַּחֲנֶה לָיְלָה יֵרֵד הַמָּן עָלָיו   11:9

Numb. 11:9  And, during the fall of the dew over the camp at night, the manna would descend on it.

וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הָעָם בֹּכֶה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָיו אִישׁ לְפֶתַח אָהֳלֹו וַיִּחַר־אַף יְהוָה מְאֹד וּבְעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה רָע   11:10

Numb. 11:10   And Moses heard the people complaining according to its families, each man at the opening of his tent, and the anger of the Lord was greatly kindled, and distress was in the eyes of Moses.

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוָה לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָ לְעַבְדֶּךָ וְלָמָּה לֹא־מָצָתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ לָשׂוּם אֶת־מַשָּׂא כָּל־הָעָם   11:11

הַזֶּה עָלָי

Numb. 11:11   Then Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You done injury to Your servant, and why have I found no favor in Your eyes, to put the burden of all this people on me?”

Here we witness Moses complaining again -- quite bitterly, I might add, and questioning the Lord’s manner of caring for His people.  These verses, this one and the next four, seem to be implying that Moses himself was not aware of the miracle being performed before his eyes, that is, the people seeing only manna in the midst of thousands of their flocks and herds.

הֶאָנֹכִי הָרִיתִי אֵת כָּל־הָעָם הַזֶּה אִם־אָנֹכִי יְלִדְתִּיהוּ כִּי־תֹאמַר אֵלַי שָׂאֵהוּ בְחֵיקֶךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר יִשָּׂא   11:12

הָאֹמֵן אֶת־הַיֹּנֵק עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתָיו

Numb. 11:12   “Is it I who had conceived all this people, or I who bore it, that You should say to me, ‘Carry it in your bosom,’ as the nursing father would carry the suckling child, onto the land that You swore to its fathers?”

מֵאַיִן לִי בָּשָׂר לָתֵת לְכָל־הָעָם הַזֶּה כִּי־יִבְכּוּ עָלַי לֵאמֹר תְּנָה־לָּנוּ בָשָׂר וְנֹאכֵלָה   11:13

Numb. 11:13   “Where is flesh for me to give to this entire people?  For they will complain against me saying, ‘Give us flesh so we may eat.’”

This is another reference to the miracle described in Exod. 16:3.                            [Return to Deut. 8:3]

לֹא־אוּכַל אָנֹכִי לְבַדִּי לָשֵׂאת אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם הַזֶּה כִּי כָבֵד מִמֶּנִּי   11:14

Numb. 11:14   “I am not able to bear this entire people by myself, because it is too difficult for me.”

וְאִם־כָּכָה אַתְּ־עֹשֶׂה לִּי הָרְגֵנִי נָא הָרֹג אִם־מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וְאַל־אֶרְאֶה בְּרָעָתִי   11:15

Numb. 11:15   “So if You do thus to me, please kill me immediately if I have found favor in Your eyes, so I will not have to gaze at my misery.”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֶסְפָה־לִּי שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ מִזִּקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָדַעְתָּ כִּי־הֵם זִקְנֵי הָעָם   11:16

וְשֹׁטְרָיו וְלָקַחְתָּ אֹתָם אֶל־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וְהִתְיַצְּבוּ שָׁם עִמָּךְ

Numb. 11:16   Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather seventy men to Me from the elders of Israel whom you know that are elders of the people and their officers, and you will bring them to the tent of meeting and they shall stand there with you.”

How remarkable!  How infinitely loving!  Once more the Lord shows His divine favor, however unacknowledged, by ignoring Moses’ complaining and doing for him everything that he had asked.

וְיָרַדְתִּי וְדִבַּרְתִּי עִמְּךָ שָׁם וְאָצַלְתִּי מִן־הָרוּחַ אֲשֶׁר עָלֶיךָ וְשַׂמְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם וְנָשְׂאוּ אִתְּךָ בְּמַשָּׂא   11:17

הָעָם וְלֹא־תִשָּׂא אַתָּה לְבַדֶּךָ

Numb. 11:17   “And I will descend and speak with you there, and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and set on them, so they can bear the burden of the people with you that you cannot bear by yourself.”

וְאֶל־הָעָם תֹּאמַר הִתְקַדְּשׁוּ לְמָחָר וַאֲכַלְתֶּם בָּשָׂר כִּי בְּכִיתֶם בְּאָזְנֵי יְהוָה לֵאמֹר מִי יַאֲכִלֵנוּ בָּשָׂר   11:18

כִּי־טֹוב לָנוּ בְּמִצְרָיִם וְנָתַן יְהוָה לָכֶם בָּשָׂר וַאֲכַלְתֶּם

Numb. 11:18   “And to the people you shall say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat flesh, for you complained in the ears of the Lord saying, ‘Who will give us meat to eat, for it was good for us in Egypt,’ so the Lord will give meat to you and you shall eat.’”

לֹא יֹום אֶחָד תֹּאכְלוּן וְלֹא יֹומָיִם וְלֹא חֲמִשָּׁה יָמִים וְלֹא עֲשָׂרָה יָמִים וְלֹא עֶשְׂרִים יֹום   11:19

Numb. 11:19   “You shall eat, not one day, and not two days, and not five days, and not ten days, and not twenty days,

עַד חֹדֶשׁ יָמִים עַד אֲשֶׁר־יֵצֵא מֵאַפְּכֶם וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְזָרָא יַעַן כִּי־מְאַסְתֶּם אֶת־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבְּכֶם   11:20

וַתִּבְכּוּ לְפָנָיו לֵאמֹר לָמָּה זֶּה יָצָאנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם

Numb. 11:20   but an entire month, until it will come out of your nose and become loathsome to you, for the reason that you rejected the Lord Who is in your midst and you complained before Him saying, ‘Why did we come forth from Egypt?’”

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה שֵׁשׁ־מֵאֹות אֶלֶף רַגְלִי הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי בְּקִרְבֹּו וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ בָּשָׂר אֶתֵּן לָהֶם וְאָכְלוּ   11:21

חֹדֶשׁ יָמִים

Numb. 11:21   And Moses said, “The people in whose midst I am are six hundred thousand footmen, and You have said, ‘I will give flesh to them that they may eat an entire month.’”

הֲצֹאן וּבָקָר יִשָּׁחֵט לָהֶם וּמָצָא לָהֶם אִם אֶת־כָּל־דְּגֵי הַיָּם יֵאָסֵף לָהֶם וּמָצָא לָהֶם   11:22

Numb. 11:22   “If He were to slaughter sheep and cattle for them, then would it be enough for them?  If He were to gather all the fish of the sea for them, then would it be enough for them?”

Moses must have been thinking this last verse, talking to himself.  He is using third person singular verbs, which can be applied only to the Lord.  Other translations use the plural form of the verbs and the verse comes out something like “If flocks and herds are slaughtered for them, would they suffice them?  Or if all the fish of the sea are gathered together for them, would they suffice them?”  In the typical translation, it appears as if Moses is still speaking to the Lord, but it is difficult to believe he is, given the more accurate translation.

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה הֲיַד יְהוָה תִּקְצָר עַתָּה תִרְאֶה הֲיִקְרְךָ דְבָרִי אִם־לֹא   11:23

Numb. 11:23   And the Lord said to Moses, “Has the hand of the Lord become too short?  Now you shall see whether My word will come to pass or not.”

Once again, the Lord acknowledges Moses’ lack of faith, yet has remained faithful and forgiving to him, as He allows Moses to share his burden with seventy others (vss. 11:16 and 11:17).

וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל־הָעָם אֵת דִּבְרֵי יְהוָה וַיֶּאֱסֹף שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ מִזִּקְנֵי הָעָם וַיַּעֲמֵד אֹתָם סְבִיבֹת   11:24


Numb. 11:24   So Moses went out and pronounced to the people the words of the Lord and he gathered seventy men from the elders of the people and set them around the tent.

וַיֵּרֶד יְהוָה בֶּעָןָן וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלָיו וַיָּאצֶל מִן־הָרוּחַ אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו וַיִּתֵּן עַל־שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ הַזְּקֵנִים וַיְהִי כְּנֹוחַ   11:25

עֲלֵיהֶם הָרוּחַ וַיִּתְנַבְּאוּ וְלֹא יָסָפוּ

Numb. 11:25   Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him and took some of the spirit that was on him and put on the seventy men of the elders.  And it happened as the spirit was resting on them, that they prophesied, but they did not do so again.        [Return to Numb. 29:34]

וַיִּשָּׁאֲרוּ שְׁנֵי־אֲנָשִׁים בַּמַּחֲנֶה שֵׁם הָאֶחָד אֶלְדָּד וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִי מֵידָד וַתָּנַח עֲלֵיהֶם הָרוּחַ וְהֵמָּה   11:26

בַּכְּתֻבִים וְלֹא יָצְאוּ הָאֹהֱלָה וַיִּתְנַבְּאוּ בַּמַּחֲנֶה

Numb. 11:26   But two of the men remained in the camp.  The name of the one was Eldad and the name of the other was Medad.  And the spirit settled on them.  And they were among the prescribed, but they had not gone out to the tent.  And they prophesied in the camp.

The two names mean “God loves” and “love,” respectively.  From vss. 11:25 and 11:26, we can surmise that the spirit that was on Moses was that of prophesy.  So we can assume from this that Moses was able to distinguish aspects of the future, a gift to him from the Lord, in fact, one which he apparently needed to possess.

וַיָּרָץ הַנַּעַר וַיַּגֵּד לְמֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמַר אֶלְדָּד וּמֵידָד מִתְנַבְּאִים בַּמַּחֲנֶה   11:27

Numb. 11:27   And a young man ran to report to Moses and he said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

וַיַּעַן יְהֹושֻׁעַ בִּן־נוּן מְשָׁרֵת מֹשֶׁה מִבְּחֻרָיו וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנִי מֹשֶׁה כְּלָאֵם   11:28

Numb. 11:28   And Joshua son of Nun, a minister of Moses from his youth, responded and he said, “My lord Moses, restrain them.”

וַיֹּאמֶר לֹו מֹשֶׁה הַמְקַנֵּא אַתָּה לִי וּמִי יִתֵּן כָּל־עַם יְהוָה נְבִיאִים כִּי־יִתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת־רוּחֹו עֲלֵיהֶם   11:29

Numb. 11:29   And Moses said to him, “Are you being jealous for me?  But if only the Lord would appoint all the people to be prophets, if the Lord would put His spirit upon them!”

This is a very interesting verse.  Moses wishes that all of us were prophets.  Has the Lord granted this wish like so many of Moses’ other wishes?  Are we all prophets, only with deaf ears and blind eyes?

וַיֵּאָסֵף מֹשֶׁה אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה הוּא וְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   11:30

Numb. 11:30   Then Moses withdrew to the camp, he and the elders of Israel.

וְרוּחַ נָסַע מֵאֵת יְהוָה וַיָּגָז שַׂלְוִים מִן־הַיָּם וַיִּטֹּשׁ עַל־הַמַּחֲנֶה כְּדֶרֶךְ יֹום כֹּה וּכְדֶרֶךְ יֹום כֹּה   11:31

סְבִיבֹות הַמַּחֲנֶה וּכְאַמָּתַיִם עַל־פְּנֵי הָאָרֶץ

Numb. 11:31   And a wind went forth from the Lord and swept quail over from the sea that it let fall beyond the camp about a distance of a day on this side and about a distance of a day on that side surrounding the camp and about two cubits above the surface of the earth.

Witness that!  We looking at a three-foot thick layer of birds that stretched for possibly ten or more miles in every direction around the camp.

וַיָּקָם הָעָם כָּל־הַיֹּום הַהוּא וְכָל־הַלַּיְלָה וְכֹל יֹום הַמָּחֳרָת וַיַּאַסְפוּ אֶת־הַשְּׂלָו הַמַּמְעִיט אָסַף עֲשָׂרָה   11:32

חֳמָרִים וַיִּשְׁטְחוּ לָהֶם שָׁטֹוחַ סְבִיבֹות הַמַּחֲנֶה

Numb. 11:32   And the people continued that entire day and the entire night and all the next day and gathered the quail.  He who had the least had gathered ten heaps.  And they spread all abroad for themselves on all sides of the camp.

הַבָּשָׂר עֹודֶנּוּ בֵּין שִׁנֵּיהֶם טֶרֶם יִכָּרֵת וְאַף יְהוָה חָרָה בָעָם וַיַּךְ יְהוָה בָּעָם מַכָּה רַבָּה מְאֹד   11:33

Numb. 11:33   The flesh was still between their teeth before they could chew, when the “anger” of the Lord became furious with the people, and the Lord cast forth among the people a very great plague.

וַיִּקְרָא אֶת־שֵׁם־הַמָּקֹום הַהוּא קִבְרֹות הַתַּאֲוָה כִּי־שָׁם קָבְרוּ אֶת־הָעָם הַמִּתְאַוִּים   11:34

Numb. 11:34   So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah because they buried there the people who had lusted.

The name Kibroth-hattaavah means graves of lust. This supplies us with a probable reason for the Lord’s “anger.”  Apparently many of the people may have eaten so hastily that they did not offer thanksgiving sacrifices, or they may have eaten the blood with the flesh, perhaps raw or too quickly cooked.  From these verses – and elsewhere in the bible – I must imagine that the intention of the Lord in providing us with the bible is to teach us lessons.  While His love for us is certain (as He as told us numerous times), we have to learn His ways.  If only we could learn more readily!  The consequences, I suspect, would be a lot less traumatic.                       [Return to Deut. 9:22]

מִקִּבְרֹות הַתַּאֲוָה נָסְעוּ הָעָם חֲצֵרֹות וַיִּהְיוּ בַּחֲצֵרֹות   11:35

Numb. 11:35   From Kibroth-hattaavah the people reached Hazeroth, and they remained in Hazeroth.

The name Hazaroth means settlements or enclosures.  But there’s a possibility of an interesting twist here that the scribe may or may not have intended.  The root of the name Hazaroth is rc;x.   If we replace the middle letter, the tzadi, with a zion, the root becomes rzIx, which can mean pig.  Intriguing, don’t you think, considering the name in the preceding verse.?


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