Numbers 11-13 The Message Bible

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The LORD Sends Quails

11 1  The people fell to grumbling over their hard life. God heard. When he heard his anger flared; then fire blazed up and burned the outer boundaries of the camp. 2  The people cried out for help to Moses; Moses prayed to God and the fire died down. 3  They named the place Taberah (Blaze) because fire from God had blazed up against them. Camp Kibroth Hattaavah

4  The riff-raff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, "Why can't we have meat? 5  We ate fish in Egypt - and got it free! - to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks and onions and garlic. 6  But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna." 7  Manna was a seedlike substance with a shiny appearance like resin. 8  The people went around collecting it and ground it between stones or pounded it fine in a mortar. Then they boiled it in a pot and shaped it into cakes. It tasted like a delicacy cooked in olive oil. 9  When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna was right there with it. 10  Moses heard the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents. God's anger blazed up. Moses saw that things were in a bad way. 11  Moses said to God, "Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? 12  Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? 13  Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, 'Give us meat; we want meat.' 14  I can't do this by myself - it's too much, all these people. 15  If this is how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me. I've seen enough; I've had enough. Let me out of here."

16  God said to Moses, "Gather together seventy men from among the leaders of Israel, men whom you know to be respected and responsible. Take them to the Tent of Meeting. I'll meet you there. 17  I'll come down and speak with you. I'll take some of the Spirit that is on you and place it on them; they'll then be able to take some of the load of this people - you won't have to carry the whole thing alone. 18  "Tell the people, Consecrate yourselves. Get ready for tomorrow when you're going to eat meat. You've been whining to God, 'We want meat; give us meat. We had a better life in Egypt.' God has heard your whining and he's going to give you meat. You're going to eat meat. 19  And it's not just for a day that you'll eat meat, and not two days, or five or ten or twenty, 20  but for a whole month. You're going to eat meat until its coming out your nostrils. You're going to be so sick of meat that you'll throw up at the mere mention of it. And here's why: Because you have rejected God who is right here among you, whining to his face, 'Oh, why did we ever have to leave Egypt?'" 21  Moses said, "I'm standing here surrounded by 600,000 men on foot and you say, 'I'll give them meat, meat every day for a month.' 22  So where's it coming from? Even if all the flocks and herds were butchered, would that be enough? Even if all the fish in the sea were caught, would that be enough?" 23  God answered Moses, "So, do you think I can't take care of you? You'll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not."

24  So Moses went out and told the people what God had said. He called together seventy of the leaders and had them stand around the Tent. 25  God came down in a cloud and spoke to Moses and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy leaders. When the Spirit rested on them they prophesied. But they didn't continue; it was a onetime event. 26  Meanwhile two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed in the camp. They were listed as leaders but they didn't leave camp to go to the Tent. Still, the Spirit also rested on them and they prophesied in the camp. 27  A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!" 28  Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' right-hand man since his youth, said, "Moses, master! Stop them!" 29  But Moses said, "Are you jealous for me? Would that all God's people were prophets. Would that God would put his Spirit on all of them." 30  Then Moses and the leaders of Israel went back to the camp.

31  A wind set in motion by God swept quails in from the sea. They piled up to a depth of about three feet in the camp and as far out as a day's walk in every direction. 32  All that day and night and into the next day the people were out gathering the quail - huge amounts of quail; even the slowest person among them gathered at least sixty bushels. They spread them out all over the camp for drying. 33  But while they were still chewing the quail and had hardly swallowed the first bites, God's anger blazed out against the people. He hit them with a terrible plague. 34  They ended up calling the place Kibroth Hattaavah (Graves-of-the-Craving). There they buried the people who craved meat. 35  From Kibroth Hattaavah they marched on to Hazeroth. They remained at Hazeroth.

Miriam and Aaron Speak against Moses

12 1  Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses behind his back because of his Cushite wife (he had married a Cushite woman). 2  They said, "Is it only through Moses that God speaks? Doesn't he also speak through us?" God overheard their talk. 3  Now the man Moses was a quietly humble man, more so than anyone living on Earth.

4  God broke in suddenly on Moses and Aaron and Miriam saying, "Come out, you three, to the Tent of Meeting." The three went out. 5  God descended in a Pillar of Cloud and stood at the entrance to the Tent. He called Aaron and Miriam to him. When they stepped out, 6  he said, Listen carefully to what I'm telling you. If there is a prophet of God among you, I make myself known to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. 7  But I don't do it that way with my servant Moses; he has the run of my entire house; 8  I speak to him intimately, in person, in plain talk without riddles: He ponders the very form of God. So why did you show no reverence or respect in speaking against my servant, against Moses? 9  The anger of God blazed out against them. And then he left.

10  When the Cloud moved off from the Tent, oh! Miriam had turned leprous, her skin like snow. Aaron took one look at Miriam - a leper! 11  He said to Moses, "Please, my master, please don't come down so hard on us for this foolish and thoughtless sin. 12  Please don't make her like a stillborn baby coming out of its mother's womb with half its body decomposed." 13  And Moses prayed to God: Please, God, heal her, please heal her. 14  God answered Moses, "If her father had spat in her face, wouldn't she be ostracized for seven days? Quarantine her outside the camp for seven days. Then she can be readmitted to the camp." 15  So Miriam was in quarantine outside the camp for seven days. The people didn't march on until she was readmitted. 16  Only then did the people march from Hazeroth and set up camp in the Wilderness of Paran.

The Twelve Spies Sent to Canaan

13 1  God spoke to Moses: 2  "Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe." 3  So Moses sent them off from the Wilderness of Paran at the command of God. All of them were leaders in Israel, one from each tribe. 4  These were their names: from Reuben: Shammua son of Zaccur 5  from Simeon: Shaphat son of Hori 6  from Judah: Caleb son of Jephunneh 7  from Issachar: Igal son of Joseph 8  from Ephraim: Hoshea son of Nun 9  from Benjamin: Palti son of Raphu 10  from Zebulun: Gaddiel son of Sodi 11  from Manasseh (a Joseph tribe): Gaddi son of Susi 12  from Dan: Ammiel son of Gemalli 13  from Asher: Sethur son of Michael 14  from Naphtali: Nahbi son of Vophsi 15  from Gad: Geuel son of Maki 16  These are the names of the men Moses sent to scout out the land. Moses gave Hoshea (Salvation) son of Nun a new name - Joshua (God-Saves). 17  When Moses sent them off to scout out Canaan, he said, "Go up through the Negev and then into the hill country. 18  Look the land over, see what it is like. Assess the people: Are they strong or weak? Are there few or many? 19  Observe the land: Is it pleasant or harsh? Describe the towns where they live: Are they open camps or fortified with walls? 20  And the soil: Is it fertile or barren? Are there forests? And try to bring back a sample of the produce that grows there - this is the season for the first ripe grapes."

21  With that they were on their way. They scouted out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob toward Lebo Hamath. 22  Their route went through the Negev Desert to the town of Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, descendants of the giant Anak, lived there. Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt. 23  When they arrived at the Eshcol Valley they cut off a branch with a single cluster of grapes - it took two men to carry it - slung on a pole. They also picked some pomegranates and figs. 24  They named the place Eshcol Valley (Grape-Cluster-Valley) because of the huge cluster of grapes they had cut down there. 25  After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home.

26  They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. 27  Then they told the story of their trip: 28  The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. 29  Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan." 30  Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, "Let's go up and take the land - now. We can do it." 31  But the others said, "We can't attack those people; they're way stronger than we are." 32  They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, "We scouted out the land from one end to the other - it's a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. 33  Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers."

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