Numbers Chapters 11 to 13 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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The People Complain Again

11 The people started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard their complaints. The Lord heard these things and became angry. Fire from the Lord burned among the people. The fire burned some of the areas at the edge of the camp. 2So the people cried to Moses for help. Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire stopped burning. 3So that place was called Taberah.* The people gave the place that name because the Lord caused a fire to burn in their camp.

The 70 Older Leaders

4The foreigners that had joined the people of Israel began wanting other things to eat. Soon all the people of Israel began complaining again. The people said, “We want to eat meat! 5We remember the fish we ate in Egypt. That fish cost us nothing. We also had good vegetables like cucumbers, melons, chives, onions, and garlic. 6But now we have lost our strength. We never eat anything—only this manna!” 7(The manna was like small coriander seeds, and it looked like gum from a tree. 8The people gathered the manna. Then they used rocks to crush it and cooked it in a pot. Or they ground it into a flour and made thin cakes with it. The cakes tasted like sweet cakes cooked with olive oil. 9The manna fell on the ground each night when the ground became wet with dew.) 10Moses heard the people complaining. People from every family were sitting by their tents and complaining. The Lord became very angry, and this made Moses very upset. 11Moses asked the Lord, “Lord, why did you bring this trouble on me? I am your servant. What did I do wrong? What did I do to upset you? Why did you give me responsibility over all these people? 12You know that I am not the father of all these people. You know that I did not give birth to them. But I must take care of them, like a nurse carrying a baby in her arms. Why do you force me to do this? Why do you force me to carry them to the land that you promised to our fathers? 13I don’t have enough meat for all these people! And they continue complaining to me. They say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14I cannot take care of all these people alone. The burden is too heavy for me. 15If you plan to continue giving me their troubles, then kill me now. If you accept me as your servant, then let me die now. Then I will be finished with all my troubles!” 16The Lord said to Moses, “Bring to me 70 of the elders of Israel. These men are the leaders among the people. Bring them to the Meeting Tent.* Let them stand there with you. 17Then I will come down and speak with you there. The Spirit* is on you now. But I will also give some of that Spirit* to them. Then they will help you take care of the people. In this way, you will not have to be responsible for these people alone. 18“Tell these things to the people: Make yourselves ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you cried. The Lord heard your words when you said, ‘We need meat to eat! It was better for us in Egypt!’ So now the Lord will give you meat. And you will eat it. 19You will eat it for more than one, or two, or five, or ten, or even twenty days! 20You will eat that meat for a whole month. You will eat the meat until you are sick of it. This will happen to you because you complained against the Lord. The Lord lives among you and knows what you need. But you cried and complained to him! You said, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” 21Moses said, “Lord, there are 600,000 men walking around here. And you say, ‘I will give them enough meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22If we were to kill all of the sheep and cattle, then that would still not be enough to feed this many people for a month. And if we caught all the fish in the sea, it would not be enough for them!” 23But the Lord said to Moses, “Don’t limit the power of the Lord! You will see that I can do the things I say I can do.” 24So Moses went out to speak with the people. Moses told them what the Lord said. Then Moses gathered 70 of the elders (leaders) together. Moses told them to stand around the Tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. The Spirit* was on Moses. The Lord put that same Spirit on the 70 elders (leaders). After the Spirit came down on them, they began to prophesy.* But that was the only time these men ever did this. 26Two of the elders, Eldad and Medad, did not go out to the Tent. Their names were on the list of elders (leaders), but they stayed in camp. But the Spirit also came on them, and they began prophesying* in camp. 27A young man ran and told Moses. The man said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in camp.” 28Joshua son of Nun said to Moses, “Moses, sir, you must stop them!” (Joshua had been Moses’ helper since Joshua was a boy.) 29But Moses answered, “Are you afraid the people will think that I am not the leader now? I wish that all the Lord’s people were able to prophesy. I wish that the Lord would put his Spirit* on all of them!” 30Then Moses and the leaders of Israel went back to the camp.

The Quails Come

31Then the Lord made a powerful wind to blow in from the sea. The wind blew quail* into that area. The quail flew all around the camp. There were so many quail that the ground was covered. The quail were about three feet deep on the ground. There were quail in every direction as far as a man can walk in one day. 32{The people went crazy!} They went out and gathered quail all that day and all that night. And they gathered quail all the next day too! The smallest amount any person gathered was 60 bushels. Then the people spread the quail meat all around the camp {to dry in the sun}. 33People began to eat the meat, but the Lord became very angry. While the meat was still in their mouth, before the people could finish eating it, the Lord caused the people to become very sick. {Many people died and were buried in that place.} 34So the people named that place Kibroth Hattaavah.* They gave the place that name because that is the place they buried the people who had the strong desire for meat. 35From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth and stayed there.

Taberah This name means “burning.” Meeting Tent The Holy Tent (tabernacle) where the people of Israel went to meet with God. Spirit Or, “spirit.” prophesy Usually this means “to speak for God.” But here it might mean that God’s Spirit took control of these men in some special way. quail A kind of bird. Kibroth Hattaavah This name means “Graves of Strong Desire.”

Miriam and Aaron Complain About Moses

12 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses. They criticized him because he married an Ethiopian* woman. They thought that it was not right for Moses to marry an Ethiopian woman. 2They said to themselves, “The Lord used Moses to speak to the people. But Moses is not the only one. The Lord also spoke through us!” The Lord heard this. 3(Moses was a very humble man. He did not boast or brag. He was more humble than any other person on earth.) 4So, suddenly, the Lord came and spoke to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. The Lord said, “You three, come to the Meeting Tent,* now!” So Moses, Aaron, and Miriam went to the Tent. 5The Lord came down in the tall cloud and stood at the entrance to the Tent. The Lord called out, “Aaron and Miriam!” Aaron and Miriam went to him. 6God said, “Listen to me! You will have prophets.* I, the Lord, will show myself to them in visions.* I will speak to them in dreams. 7But Moses is not like that. Moses is my faithful servant—I trust him with my whole house (family)! 8When I speak to him, I talk face to face with him. I don’t use stories with hidden meanings—I show him clearly the things I want him to know. And Moses can look at the very image of the Lord. So why were you brave enough to speak against my servant Moses?” 9The Lord was very angry at them. The Lord left them. 10The cloud rose from the Tent. Aaron turned and looked at Miriam. Her skin was white like snow—she had a terrible skin disease! 11Then Aaron said to Moses, “Please, sir, forgive us for the foolish sin that we did. 12Don’t let her lose her skin like a baby that is born dead.” (Sometimes a baby will be born like that, with half of its skin eaten away.) 13So Moses prayed to the Lord, “God, please heal her from this sickness!” 14The Lord answered Moses, “If her father spit in her face, then she would be shamed for seven days. So put her outside the camp for seven days. After that time, she {will become well}. Then she can come back into the camp.” 15So they took Miriam outside the camp for seven days. And the people did not move from that place until she was brought in again. 16After that, the people left Hazeroth and traveled to the desert of Paran. The people camped in that desert.

Ethiopian Or, “Cushite,” a person from Ethiopia, in Africa. Meeting Tent The Holy Tent (tabernacle) where the people of Israel went to meet with God. prophet(s) A person called by God to be special servant. God gave them messages to tell the people. vision(s) Something like a dream that God used to speak to people.

The Spies Go to Canaan

13 The Lord said to Moses, 2“Send some men to explore the land of Canaan. This is the land that I will give to the people of Israel. Send one leader from each of the twelve family groups.” 3So Moses obeyed the Lord’s command. Moses sent out these leaders while the people were camped in the desert of Paran. 4These are the names of those leaders: from Reuben’s family group—Shammua son of Zaccur; 5from Simeon’s family group—Shaphat son of Hori; 6from Judah’s family group—Caleb son of Jephunneh; 7from Issachar’s family group—Igal son of Joseph; 8from Ephraim’s family group—Hoshea* son of Nun; 9from Benjamin’s family group—Palti son of Raphu; 10from Zebulun’s family group—Gaddiel son of Sodi; 11from Joseph’s family group (Manasseh)—Gaddi son of Susi;  12from Dan’s family group—Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13from Asher’s family group—Sethur son of Michael; 14from Naphtali’s family group—Nahbi son of Vophsi; 15from Gad’s family group—Geuel son of Maki. 16Those are the names of the men that Moses sent to look at and study the land. (Moses called Hoshea son of Nun by another name. Moses called him Joshua.) 17When Moses was sending them out to explore Canaan, he said, “Go through the Negev* and then into the hill country. 18See what the land looks like. Learn about the people who live there. Are they strong or are they weak? Are they few or are they many? 19Learn about the land that they live in. Is it good land or bad land? What kind of towns do they live in? Do the towns have walls protecting them? Are the towns strongly defended? 20And learn other things about the land. Is the dirt good for growing things, or is it poor soil? Are there trees on the land? Also, try to bring back some of the fruit from that land.” (This was during the time when the first grapes should be ripe.) 21So they went to explore the country. They explored the area from the Zin desert to Rehob and Lebo Hamath. 22They entered the country through the Negev* and went to Hebron. (The town of Hebron was built seven years before the town of Zoan in Egypt.) Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai lived there. These men were descendants* of Anak. 23Then the men went to Eshcol Valley. There, the men cut off a branch from a grapevine. The branch had a bunch of grapes on it. They put that branch on a pole. And two men carried it between them. They also carried some pomegranates,* and figs. 24That place is called the Eshcol* Valley, because that is the place where the men of Israel cut off the bunch of grapes. 25The men explored that country for 40 days. Then they went back to the camp. 26The people of Israel were camped near Kadesh, in the desert of Paran. The men went to Moses and Aaron and all the Israelite people. The men told Moses, Aaron, and all the people about the things they saw. And they showed them the fruit from the land. 27The men told Moses, “We went to the land where you sent us. It is a land filled with many good things*! Here is some of the fruit that grows there. 28But the people living there are very powerful. The cities are very large. The cities are strongly defended. We even saw some Anakite* people there. 29The Amalekite people live in the Negev.* The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live near the sea and by the Jordan River.” 30Caleb told the people near Moses to be quiet. Then Caleb said, “We should go up and take that land for ourselves. We can easily take that land.” 31But the men that had gone with him said, “We can’t fight those people! They are much stronger than we are.” 32And those men told all the people of Israel that they were not strong enough to defeat the people in that land. They said, “The land we saw is full of strong people. Those people are strong enough to easily defeat any person who goes there. 33We saw the giant Nephilim* people there! (The descendants* of Anak come from the Nephilim people.) They looked at us like we were little grasshoppers. Yes, we were like grasshoppers to them!”

Hoshea Or, “Joshua.” Negev The desert area south of Judah. descendants A person’s children and their future families. pomegranates A red fruit with many small seeds inside it. Each seed is covered with the soft, juicy part of the fruit. Eshcol This name is like the Hebrew word meaning “a bunch of grapes.” filled with many good things Literally, “flowing with milk and honey.” Anakite These people were famous for being big, powerful fighters. Nephilim A famous family of tall and powerful fighting men. See Gen. 6:2-4. 

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