||The people began to complain, and it was evil in God's ears. When God heard it, He displayed His anger, and God's fire flared out, consuming the edge of the camp.
||The people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to God, the fire died down.
||He named the place 'Burning' (Tabh'erah), for God's fire had burned them.
||The mixed multitude among [the Israelites) began to have strong cravings, and the Israelites once again began to weep. 'Who's going to give us some meat to eat?' they demanded.
||'We fondly remember the fish that we could eat in Egypt at no cost, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
||But now our spirits are dried up, with nothing but the manna before our eyes.'
||The manna was like coriander seed with a pearl-like luster.
||The people could simply go for a stroll and gather it. They would then grind it in a hand-mill or crush it in a mortar, cooking it in a pan and making it into cakes. It tasted like an oil wafer.
||At night, when the dew would fall on the camp, the manna would descend on it.
||Moses heard the people weeping with their families near the entrances of their tents. God became very angry, and Moses [also] considered it wrong.
||'Why are You treating me so badly?' said Moses to God. 'Don't you like me any more? Why do You place such a burden upon me?
||Was I [the woman] who was pregnant with this nation [in my belly?] Did I give birth to them? But You told me that I must carry them in my bosom, as a nurse carries an infant [until we come] to the land that You swore to their ancestors.
||'Where can I get enough meat to give all these people? They are whining to me to give them some meat to eat.
||I cannot be responsible for this entire nation! It's too hard for me!
||If You are going to do this to me, just do me a favor and kill me! Don't let me see myself get into such a terrible predicament
The Promise of Meat
||God said to Moses, 'Assemble seventy of Israel's elders - the ones you know to be the people's elders and leaders. Bring them to the Communion Tent, and let them stand there with you.
||When I lower My essence and speak to you there, I will cause some of the spirit that you possess to emanate, and I will grant it to them. You will then not have to bear the responsibility all alone.
||'Tell the people as follows: Prepare yourselves for tomorrow, for you will then have meat to eat. You have been whining in God's ears, saying, 'Who's going to give us some meat to eat? It was better for us in Egypt!'
Now God is going to give you meat, and you will have to eat it.
||You will eat it not for one day, not for two days, not for five days, not for ten days, and not for twenty days.
||But for a full month [you will eat it] until it is coming out of your nose and making you nauseated. This is because you rejected God [now that He] is among you, and you whined before Him, 'Why did we ever leave Egypt?' '
||Moses said, 'Here I am among 600,000 men on foot [alone], and You are saying that You will give them enough meat to eat for a full month!
||Even if all the cattle and sheep were slaughtered, could there be enough for them? If all the fish in the sea were caught, would it be sufficient?'
||God said to Moses, 'Has My power then become limited? You will now see whether or not My word will come true!'
||Moses went out and told the people what God had said. He gathered seventy of the people's elders, and stood them around the Tent.
||God descended in the cloud, and spoke to [Moses]. He caused the spirit that had been imparted on [Moses] to emanate, and He bestowed it upon the seventy elders. When the spirit descended on them, they gained the gift of prophecy and did not lose it.
||Two men remained in the camp, and the spirit [also] rested on them. The name of one was Eldad, and the name of the second was Medad. Although they were among those registered, they did not go out to the [Communion] Tent, but they spoke prophetically in the camp.
||A young man ran to tell Moses. 'Eldad and Medad are speaking prophecy in the camp!' he announced.
||Joshua son of Nun, Moses' chosen attendant, spoke up. 'My lord Moses,' he said. 'Stop them!'
||'Are you jealous for my sake?' replied Moses. 'I only wish that all of God's people would have the gift of prophecy! Let God grant His spirit to them [all]!'
||Moses then returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.
||God caused a wind to start blowing, sweeping quail up from the sea. They ran out of strength over the camp, and [were flying] only two cubits above the ground for the distance of a day's journey in each direction.
||The people went about all that day, all night, and the entire next day, and gathered quail. Even those who got the least had gathered ten chomers. [The people] spread them out around the camp.
||The meat was still between their teeth when [the people] began to die. God's anger was displayed against the people, and He struck them with an extremely severe plague.
||[Moses] named the place 'Graves of Craving' (Kivroth HaTaavah), since it was in that place where they buried the people who had these cravings.
||From Graves of Craving, the people traveled to Chatzeroth. They were to remain in Chatzeroth [longer than planned].
|and it was evil|
Or, 'The people had evil complaints for God's ears' (Saadia).
See Exodus 12:38. However, in Exodus it is referred to as an erev rav, while here it is called the asafsuf.
See Exodus 16:31.
Bedolach in Hebrew, translated as pearl (Saadia). See Genesis 2:12. Or, 'crystal' (Rashi; Septuagint).
(Septuagint). Leshad in Hebrew. Or, 'oil-saturated loaf' (Donash, quoted in Rashi). See Exodus 16:31.
Literally, 'Your servant.'
|that I must|
Literally, 'You told me, 'Carry them...' '
|until we come|
|do me a favor|
See note on Genesis 47:29. Literally, 'If I have found favor in your eyes.'
|seventy of Israel's elders|
See Exodus 24:1.
|lower My essence|
See Exodus 19:11.
See Exodus 12:37.
|Has My power...|
Literally, 'Has God's hand become short?'
Of the Communion Tent (Ibn Ezra).
|did not lose it|
(Targum). Or, 'did not keep it' (Sifri; Ralbag; Septuagint).
Some say that they were the sons of Eltzafan son of Parnach (Numbers 34:25), born to Yocheved while she was divorced from Amram, and hence, half-brothers to Moses (Targum Yonathan). Others say that Eldad was Elidad son of Chislon of Benjamin (Numbers 34:21) and that Medad was Kemuel son of Shiftan of Ephraim (Numbers 34:24) (BeMidbar Rabbah 15:19).
There were six from each of the twelve tribes, making a total of 72, and these two were then excluded by lot (Sifri; Rashi).
(Ibn Ezra; Septuagint). Or, 'young attendant' (Ibn Ezra); 'from among his students' (Saadia); or, 'from his youth' (Targum; Rashbam; Radak, Sherashim).
(Radak, Sherashim; Septuagint). Or, 'Imprison them' (Targum; Sifri; Rashi; Rashbam); or, 'destroy them' (Sifri; Ibn Janach).
See Exodus 16:13.
The Red Sea (Sforno), or the Mediterranean Sea (Targum Yonathan).
(Sifri; Targum Yonathan; Rashi). Or, 'they were piled two cubits (3') on the ground' (Saadia; Ibn Ezra; Ralbag; Septuagint).
Around 34 miles; see note on Genesis 30:36.
See Leviticus 27:16. Kor in Greek (Septuagint. Cf. Targum Yonathan). Since a chomer is 30 sa'ah, each one had ten sa'ah per day (Chizzkuni). The ten chomers was around 80 cubic feet, or around 1000 pounds of meat.
|between their teeth|
It is from here that we learn that meat retains its status even when it is between the teeth, and that therefore one must wait six hours between meat and dairy (Chullin 105a). According to others, they were still eating the meat during the designated month (Sforno).
|began to die|
(Rashi). Literally, 'were (or was) cut off.' Or, 'before it was used up' (Sforno; cf. Targum; Septuagint); or, 'and was not yet digested' (Sifethey Chakhamim); 'was not yet totally eaten' (Gur Aryeh); 'was not yet chewed' (Hirsch), or, 'before they swallowed it' (Saadia).
See Numbers 33:17, Deuteronomy 1:1. Some say that this can be identified with Ain Khadra, some 37 miles north-east of Sinai. The Israelites arrived in Chatzeroth on 22 Sivan (Taanith 29a; Chizzkuni). Some say that Korach's rebellion occured in Chatzeroth (Rashi on Deuteronomy 1:1), see Numbers, 16:20.