The Israelites are grousing because they don’t have any real food to eat, just the manna from heaven. They miss meat, fish, and vegetables, which I would too. God gets mad at them for complaining, but Moses, showing some backbone, tells God to put up or shut up (in more biblical terms). God tells him to gather seventy elders and he will put some of the burden of the people on them as well.
Then God tells Moses that he will give the people meat and they will eat not for a day or two, but for a month, until meat comes out of their nostrils.
19You shall eat not only one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20but 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?’ ”Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 306). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
There’s a pleasant thought, don’t you think? But Moses mentions that there are 600,000 people and asks the Lord if there are enough fish, flocks, and herds to feed them all for a month and here’s where we get a God flex.
23The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 306). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
So, I guess he’ll have to wait and find out. But first, the Lord had to give the elders some of Moses’ spirit and they went out and started prophesying, which concerned the rest of the people until Moses told them what happened.
Finally, God blows in a whole mess of quails from the sea and let them drop on either side of camp, three feet deep and as far as the eye can see. The people spent a day gathering what they could carry, but before they could finish eating, the master of the grudge, God himself, struck the people with a great plague (or maybe the dead birds weren’t fit for human consumption).
One thought on “Numbers Chapter 11”
You know what’s a real plague? Eating nothing but meat for several days and being unable to crap. God knew what God was doing. Still, God (in this story) has a penchant for “all or nothing”. It’s a petulant, knee-jerk response–much like that from a parent who has had little sleep for several days and who has “had it” with their kids and enforces an over-the-top punishment. Apparently, no one was around to ask as a reminder, “Who is the God in this story? You? Then act like it!”