Summary of passage: The “rabble” complain now about only having manna to eat. God is angry and Moses is angry as well. Moses asks God why did He give them those people to care for. He tells God the burden of these people is too heavy to bear alone and he wants to die for God doing this to him. (Moses is complaining as well here).
God agrees to anoint 70 leaders to help Moses with the people. God also says he will provide meat for the Israelites for 30 days until they will loathe meat because they have so much of it. Moses lacks faith and asks God how he is going to do such a thing. God says He will.
God put His spirit upon the 70 elders who now prophesied. Then God drove quail from the sea for the people to eat. However, God still being angry, struck the Israelites with a plague.
5a) The fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic they ate there.
b) That they were slaves.
6a) He became so exasperated that his faith began to waver in God and he even asked to die rather than deal with these people alone.
c) He agreed to anoint 70 elders to help Moses with the people and to provide meat for the Israelites so they would stop grumbling.
d) Personal Question. My answer: With peace that it would all turn out alright.
7a) God deemed they would have meat for 30 days until the point they loathed it.
b) Before the people could even taste the meat, he struck them with a plague.
Conclusions: A couple questions I thought were left hanging and could have been expounded upon more. I love God’s response! It’s like “Fine. I’ll show you!” Be careful what you ask for! I picture Moses’ tirade and it isn’t exactly pretty. While I can understand His frustration, I don’t understand His doubt.
End Notes: The word “rabble” at the beginning includes the non-Israelites who accompanied them to Egypt. So everyone is complaining.
The Israelites are traveling with a huge flock of goats and sheep so if they wanted meat, it was freely available as well as any wild game they came across in the desert. It’s as if they were too lazy to do it themselves and wanted God to provide it, but they went about it in totally the wrong way.
Funny how the Israelites remember the good in Egypt and not the bad–the whippings, the work, etc. They have forgotten God’s promises of the Promised Land ahead in favor of the hardships to get there. This is true for us today. God’s best is ahead of us, not behind.
Complaining against what God provides is complaining against Him. The manna was very nutritious in every way and yet the Israelites were bored. How sad!
Moses allows the people’s unbelief to infect him and he doubts God as well. God allowed this to happen to Moses to test him as well. It’s how God grows our dependence on Him. Here we see the earliest argument of “If you really loved me, Lord, then why did you do this to me?”. God’s response: “Because I love you.” Great testament for our lives. We see what God does. He answers our prayer and then some. He also brings about judgment as well. Great lessons here of caution against the negativity of others and how God grows our faith every day in the midsts of our “why me’s?”.
We can also see through Moses him pouring his heart out to God–his anger, his frustrations, his pains, his anxieties. We need to take it to God more and pour out on Him our troubles–but not question His character nor His goodness.
God did not answer Moses’ request to not “face his own ruin.” For in our weaknesses, we find God.
God picked Godly men to help Moses and support him. This is a good lesson for us–we need to not be afraid to ask for help and to accept it in our Christian walk.
Moses could not see how God would provide meat. This is often the case. We cannot see how God will do something and frankly we don’t need to see. All we must do is believe.
The anointing of the men with the Spirit is key here–one cannot do God’s work without His blessing and His heart. God needed to make sure these men were His to act for Him.
Joshua here is only looking out for Moses. He is not jealous in any way like Moses suggests. He (like many others) wasn’t privy to what was going on with the 70 men, so he was merely alerting Moses to what he saw happening.
Quail by the millions migrate over the Sinai Peninsula every year. Note how the quail landed outside of camp. We should know that nothing good is outside of God. If this were to be a blessing, the quail would have landed smack in the middle of camp. Here we see God’s judgment coming.
This is an important lesson for the Israelites to take to heart: don’t let your cravings control you or get in the way of your relationship with God. It’s about the spiritual, not the physical.
Psalm 78:27-31, 106:13-15 speak to this incident.