11On the twentieth day of the second month in the second year after the people left Egypt, the cloud over the Tent of the LORD's presence lifted, 12and the Israelites started on their journey out of the Sinai Desert. The cloud came to rest in the wilderness of Paran.
13They began to march at the command of the LORD through Moses, 14and each time they moved, they were in the same order. Those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Judah started out first, company by company, with Nahshon son of Amminadab in command. 15Nethanel son of Zuar was in command of the tribe of Issachar, 16and Eliab son of Helon was in command of the tribe of Zebulun.
17Then the Tent would be taken down, and the clans of Gershon and Merari, who carried it, would start out.
18Next, those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Reuben would start out, company by company, with Elizur son of Shedeur in command. 19Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was in command of the tribe of Simeon, 20and Eliasaph son of Deuel was in command of the tribe of Gad.
21Then the Levite clan of Kohath would start out, carrying the sacred objects. By the time they arrived at the next camp, the Tent had been set up again.
22Next, those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Ephraim would start out, company by company, with Elishama son of Ammihud in command. 23Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was in command of the tribe of Manasseh, 24and Abidan son of Gideoni was in command of the tribe of Benjamin.
25Finally, those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Dan, serving as the rearguard of all the divisions, would start out, company by company, with Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai in command. 26Pagiel son of Ochran was in command of the tribe of Asher, 27and Ahira son of Enan was in command of the tribe of Naphtali. 28This, then, was the order of march, company by company, whenever the Israelites broke camp and set out.
29Moses said to his brother-in-law Hobab son of Jethro the Midianite, “We are about to start out for the place which the LORD said he would give us. He has promised to make Israel prosperous, so come with us, and we will share our prosperity with you.”
30Hobab answered, “No, I am going back to my native land.”
31“Please don't leave us,” Moses said. “You know where we can camp in the wilderness, and you can be our guide. 32If you come with us, we will share with you all the blessings that the LORD gives us.”
The People Set Out
33When the people left Sinai, the holy mountain, they travelled for three days. The LORD's Covenant Box always went ahead of them to find a place for them to camp. 34As they moved on from each camp, the cloud of the LORD was over them by day.
35Whenever the Covenant Box started out, Moses would say, “Arise, LORD; scatter your enemies and put to flight those who hate you!” 36And whenever it stopped, he would say, “Return, LORD, to the thousands of families of Israel.”
The Place Named Taberah
1The people began to complain to the LORD about their troubles. When the LORD heard them, he was angry and sent fire on the people. It burnt among them and destroyed one end of the camp. 2The people cried out to Moses for help; he prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. 3So the place was named Taberah, because there the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
Moses Chooses Seventy Leaders
4There were some foreigners travelling with the Israelites. They had a strong craving for meat, and even the Israelites themselves began to complain: “If only we could have some meat! 5In Egypt we used to eat all the fish we wanted, and it cost us nothing. Remember the cucumbers, the watermelons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic we had? 6But now our strength is gone. There is nothing at all to eat — nothing but this manna day after day!”
7(Manna was like small seeds, whitish yellow in colour. 8-9It fell on the camp at night along with the dew. The next morning the people would go round and gather it, grind it or pound it into flour, and then boil it and make it into flat cakes. It tasted like bread baked with olive oil.)
10Moses heard all the people complaining as they stood about in groups at the entrances of their tents. He was distressed because the LORD was angry with them, 11and he said to the LORD, “Why have you treated me so badly? Why are you displeased with me? Why have you given me the responsibility for all these people? 12I didn't create them or bring them to birth! Why should you ask me to act like a nurse and carry them in my arms like babies all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? 13Where could I get enough meat for all these people? They keep whining and asking for meat. 14I can't be responsible for all these people by myself; it's too much for me! 15If you are going to treat me like this, take pity on me and kill me, so that I won't have to endure your cruelty any longer.”
16The LORD said to Moses, “Assemble seventy respected men who are recognized as leaders of the people, bring them to me at the Tent of my presence, and tell them to stand there beside you. 17I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the spirit I have given you and give it to them. Then they can help you to bear the responsibility for these people, and you will not have to bear it alone. 18Now tell the people, ‘Purify yourselves for tomorrow; you will have meat to eat. The LORD has heard you whining and saying that you wished you had some meat and that you were better off in Egypt. Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19You will have to eat it not just for one or two days, or five, or ten, or even twenty days, 20but for a whole month, until it comes out of your ears, until you are sick of it. This will happen because you have rejected the LORD who is here among you and have complained to him that you should never have left Egypt.’ ”
21Moses said to the LORD, “Here I am leading 600,000 people, and you say that you will give them enough meat for a month? 22Could enough cattle and sheep be killed to satisfy them? Are all the fish in the sea enough for them?”
23“Is there a limit to my power?” the LORD answered. “You will soon see whether what I have said will happen or not!”
24So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He assembled seventy of the leaders and placed them round the Tent. 25Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the spirit he had given to Moses and gave it to the seventy leaders. When the spirit came on them, they began to shout like prophets, but not for long.
26Two of the seventy leaders, Eldad and Medad, had stayed in the camp and had not gone out to the Tent. There in the camp the spirit came on them, and they too began to shout like prophets. 27A young man ran out to tell Moses what Eldad and Medad were doing.
28Then Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' helper since he was a young man, spoke up and said to Moses, “Stop them, sir!”
29Moses answered, “Are you concerned about my interests? I wish that the LORD would give his Spirit to all his people and make all of them shout like prophets!” 30Then Moses and the seventy leaders of Israel went back to camp.
The LORD Sends Quails
31Suddenly the LORD sent a wind that brought quails from the sea, flying less than a metre above the ground. They settled on the camp and all round it for many kilometres in every direction.32So all that day, all night, and all the next day, the people worked catching quails; no one gathered less than a thousand kilogrammes. They spread them out to dry all round the camp. 33While there was still plenty of meat for them to eat, the LORD became angry with the people and caused an epidemic to break out among them. 34That place was named Kibroth Hattaavah (which means “Graves of Craving”), because there they buried the people who had craved meat.
35From there the people moved to Hazeroth, where they made camp.
Miriam is Punished
1Moses had married a Cushite woman, and Miriam and Aaron criticized him for it. 2They said, “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Hasn't he also spoken through us?” The LORD heard what they said. 3(Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone else on earth.)
4Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “I want the three of you to come out to the Tent of my presence.” They went, 5and the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance of the Tent, and called out, “Aaron! Miriam!” The two of them stepped forward, 6and the LORD said, “Now hear what I have to say! When there are prophets among you, I reveal myself to them in visions and speak to them in dreams. 7It is different when I speak with my servant Moses; I have put him in charge of all my people Israel.8So I speak to him face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he has even seen my form! How dare you speak against my servant Moses?”
9The LORD was angry with them; and so as he departed 10and the cloud left the Tent, Miriam's skin was suddenly covered with a dreaded disease and turned as white as snow. When Aaron looked at her and saw that she was covered with the disease, 11he said to Moses, “Please, sir, do not make us suffer this punishment for our foolish sin. 12Don't let her become like something born dead with half its flesh eaten away.”
13So Moses cried out to the LORD, “O God, heal her!”
14The LORD answered, “If her father had spat in her face, she would have to bear her disgrace for seven days. So let her be shut out of the camp for a week, and after that she can be brought back in.” 15Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until she was brought back in. 16Then they left Hazeroth and set up camp in the wilderness of Paran.
1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Choose one of the leaders from each of the twelve tribes and send them as spies to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.”
16These are the spies Moses sent to explore the land. He changed the name of Hoshea son of Nun to Joshua.
17When Moses sent them out, he said to them, “Go north from here into the southern part of the land of Canaan and then on into the hill country. 18Find out what kind of country it is, how many people live there, and how strong they are. 19Find out whether the land is good or bad and whether the people live in open towns or in fortified cities. 20Find out whether the soil is fertile and whether the land is wooded. And be sure to bring back some of the fruit that grows there.” (It was the season when grapes were beginning to ripen.)
21So the men went north and explored the land from the wilderness of Zin in the south all the way to Rehob, near Hamath Pass in the north. 22They went first into the southern part of the land and came to Hebron, where the clans of Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of a race of giants called the Anakim, lived. (Hebron was founded seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23They came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there they cut off a branch which had one bunch of grapes on it so heavy that it took two men to carry it on a pole between them. They also brought back some pomegranates and figs. 24(That place was named the Valley of Eshcol because of the bunch of grapes the Israelites cut off there.)
25After exploring the land for forty days, the spies returned 26to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had brought. 27They said to Moses, “We explored the land and found it to be rich and fertile; and here is some of its fruit. 28But the people who live there are powerful, and their cities are very large and well fortified. Even worse, we saw the descendants of the giants there. 29Amalekites live in the southern part of the land; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and Canaanites live by the Mediterranean Sea and along the River Jordan.”
30Caleb silenced the people who were complaining against Moses, and said, “We should attack now and take the land; we are strong enough to conquer it.”
31But the men who had gone with Caleb said, “No, we are not strong enough to attack them; the people there are more powerful than we are.” 32So they spread a false report among the Israelites about the land they had explored. They said, “That land doesn't even produce enough to feed the people who live there. Everyone we saw was very tall, 33and we even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that is how we must have looked to them.”