NUMBERS 11


The people despise Yahweh's blessing of Manna

1 And when the people complained, it displeased Yahweh: and Yahweh heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire [Eish] of Yahweh burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp [at the edge of the machaneh].

Habitual complainers ...lack of vision -

Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.1 Cor. 10: 10

"And consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp"

- The words "them that were" are in italics, indicating that the words are not found in the original... Eliminate them, and the statement reads that the fire consumed in, or to, the uttermost parts of the camp. It swept through the tents of the people, destroying as it did so, until a trail of blackened tents spread to the uttermost confines of the camp.

The statement does not necessarily mean that people were destroyed by the fire, but rather (with thewords in italics eliminated) their tents. ...There had been complaining before which was not so severly punished...Exod. 14:11-15;15:24-26; 16:2-4,9,20,27-28; 17:2-4), but

now that the people had entered into covenant relationship with Yahweh, entailed

greater responsibility to obey.

The Numbers Expositor



6 But now our soul [nefesh] is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

They also rejected the true bread of life when he came.

Which of us does not grow weary

The people could cook and serve it in various ways: but still it was always

....manna; and the people grew tired of it, so tired that they grew vexed; and so vexed, that they cried like children in their tent doors when they remembered the fish, the cucumbers, the leeks, and the garlic that they had in Egypt.

God was angry with the people because of their murmuring on this head. Was it not natural that the people should tire of always eating the same thing? We cannot but feel that it certainly was natural, and we cannot help feeling sorry for them, as they stand crying in their tent doors. But was it quite excusable? Here is another question. They had evidence of a very palpable kind that they were in God's hands; they ought, therefore, to have submitted cheerfully to whatever He required of them, knowing His power and His wisdom and goodness.

They ought to have received with contentment the form of food provided for them, even if it had been quite objectionable, which it was not. There was in fact an object in subjecting them to this disciplinary diet. Moses explained it afterwards in the rehearsal on the plains of Moab.

"The Lord thy God...humbled thee and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know: that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord."

The effect of the prolonged and practical lesson of the manna was visible in the character of the host that entered the land under Joshua. There has been no such docile and godly and circumcised generation of Israel from that day to this; and will not be till their children have been put through a similar experience prior to their reinstatement in the land at the coming of Christ.

We have the spiritual counterpart of this episode in the experience of the saints in probation. They have been delivered from an Egypt: They are going through a great and terrible wilderness: They have received a law for their guidance: and they have their food appointed. It is manna-manna from heaven-Christ eaten by faith-eaten daily and richly; and there is an interdict on the rich foods of Egypt:

"the cares, the riches, the pleasures of this world."

It is rigorous regimen. It is a course of self-denial to which no man would submit without a reason. But there is a reason, though the command is itself sufficient of a reason. We are being prepared for Divine use afterwards. We are being "made fit" for the kingdom of God.

... If our way is restricted, if our lives are dull, if our principles are inconvenient, if our pleasures are shut up to the things connected with the truth, it is only for a time, and it is for a well-defined purpose. The time will soon be over: the purpose will be served.

Seasons 2.25



16 And Yahweh said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.

17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.

It should be noted that this is a completely different incident and arrangement from the appointment of captains of thousands, hundreds and tens to judge the people, though both are similar complaints by Moses.

God promised an abundance of meat for a whole month, so that it would surfeit and nauseate them. Even Moses was incredulous, and questioned how it could possibly be done. This gives us an insight into Moses - a man of great faith and dedication, but still struggling with the natural limitations of the flesh.

We must learn, we must believe - that with God all things are possible. Moses was rebuked, but not punished. There is a difference between a struggling faith and a rebellious unbelief.

God gave Israel the meat they cried for, to manifest His power, but He also smote them with a very great plague. And they called the place Kibroth-hattaavah - the graves of lust - summing up the whole natural history of mankind, that toward which all fleshly things tend - the graves of lust.

Bro Growcott