Updated: Apr 2
Numbers Numbers 8:1 – 12:16
The Hebrew word “beha'alotcha” means “when you step up”.
This portion can be divided as follows:
Instructions for the Menorah
Dedication of the Levites
The insitution of the first Passover in the Wilderness
The Presense with them (Cloud and the Fire)
Instructions for the two silver trumpets
Departure from Mt. Sinai
The People Complain to Moses for meat
The Seventy Elders chosen (the First Sanhedrin according to Jews)
Yahweh sends Quail in the camp
Miriam complains to Aaron against Moses
As always, there is a lot of good material here. So, which section do I speak about?
The People complain for meat so Yahweh sends quail in the camp. What lesson can we learn from this?
First we read about their complaints. Read 11:1-6.
Notice here a couple of things:
First, they complain and Yahweh sends a fire amongst them and it burns
up some of them. Moses prays for YHVH to stop; so He stops the fire. The name of the place is called in Hebrew “burning'.
Second, verse 11:4 says “now the mixed multitude
(promiscuous assemblage) who were among them”, notice it separates them from the children of Israel.
In Exodus 12:38 we read that a mixed multitude came out of Egypt.
The mixed multitude -“yielded to intense craving” -In Hebrew the word meaning “a strong desire (lusting) for something pleasant” (but perhaps sinful).
The children of Israel wept and said “who will give us meat to eat” (vs 4) – this is interesting as God had provided, why would they ask this? They looked for another, someone else, to provide for
them because they apparently were not satisfied with what YHVH had provided for them. They were so distraught that they “wept”.
They had “nothing except this manna” (vs 6) – ungrateful of what the hand of God had provided for them. That's why He stated that in verse 20 “that they despised YHVH who is among you”.
Verse 6- “Our whole being is dried up” - in Hebrew withered.
Read 11:18-20 and 31-35 about the quail that was sent. Therefore God will give you meat – This was not a blessing in giving, but a giving of a chastisement for their greed in intense lustful craving for what they didn't have.
“Until it comes out your nostrils” – so much meat that it would make them sick.
How many quails did Yah send? A day’s journey all around the camp and “two cubits” above ground. A months
worth, and Jews say without the daily provision of manna.
An omer which = .9154 gallons, so the least a person gathered would be equivalent to appx. 10 gallons.
Quail make a migration over the Sinai wilderness every year; it has been recorded that Arabs catch between one and two million quails during their autumn migrations: using nets. (David Guzik)
However, here it is spring because they are keeping Passover. So, God really performed a miracle by providing them in the spring.
Take note of this one very important but often overlooked point:
When God sent a fire and consumed some of them for complaining in verse 11:1 it stated “consumed some in the outskirts of the camp”. Then here we see that the quail fell “a days' journey around the outside of the camp” - NOT inside the camp. In other words they had to go outside the camp
a day's journey to gather the quail. The quail were not inside the camp.
Now, we read in the same chapter that when God told Moses to bring the 70 elders, because the spirit that was on him was gonna fall upon the elders, we find the elders coming to the tabernacle of meeting
which was in the center of the camp.
The Holy Spirit fell IN THE CAMP. The quail fell outside.
Now in verse 11:34 it states that God struck the people with a plague “those who yielded to craving”.
So in this story who was killed? Those who went outside the camp and gathered quail. Who was outside the camp – the mixed multitude. They would not have been allowed to camp with the tribes of Israel. Those who went outside the camp to gather quail, Israelite or foreigner, would have been killed.
God's best for us is “in the camp” not “outside the camp”.
The name of the place was: kib-roth' hat-tah-av-aw “graves of the longing”.
How many graves have been dug
because a man or woman gave in to their “intense cravings' ?How many face spiritual death because of their intense lustings for the things that are against our Elohim?
In Psalms 78:27-31 and 106:13-15 we are told again, “leaness to their soul” . This was a hard lesson but it should have taught Israel not to give in to their lustful cravings.
We don't want to be counted within the mixed mulitude (promiscuous multitude). We should learn from this also that “abundance” is not always a blessing.
One more point that I would like to bring out. Shortly after leaving Mt. Sinai the people begin to complain to Moses on several occasions. In chapter 11 we find that Moses becomes very weary with the people and he feels that he cannot hold up under the pressure any longer, for it has become too much for him to carry. In fact, the burden he carries is so heavy that he requests of YHVH to just take his life for he cannot bear the burden of the complaining people any longer.
How many leaders have fallen prey to this same problem? I have personally seen many leaders fall by the wayside.
I have heard it said that “it is lonely at the top”. As human beings we are especially quick to grumble and complain to the person in charge. Do we ever stop and think about the heavy burden that they may carry? Having been a leader myself for many years I can tell you that it is not an easy job! I too have questioned God as to why he placed me in this position of leadership. It would be so much easier just to be a bench warmer and take all my complaints to the leader.
Remember, the leader is a human being also! They are subject to weakness and fatigue just like any other person.
I once encountered a pastor of a very large congregation. He was suffering from severe depression and was thinking about resigning from his pastoral position, of which he had ministered for many, many
years. As we talked, and I tried to encourage him, I asked him this question - “brother, have the sheep started biting you?” His response was immediate laughter! He responded, “yes, they have. I never knew that sheep could bite so hard, they seemed like such gentle animals, but their bites are quite severe”. He then thanked me for that question. He continued, “I have never been asked that before, but it is a perfect scenario.” I'm not sure what he finally decided to do, but I just hope that he was able to overcome and continue with the ministry into which he had been called.
Moses too was feeling the bites of the sheep. They had become quite harsh. Here we find that this great man of God could not take anymore and wanted death over leadership of these horrible biting sheep.
God responded to his cry, not with death, but with help.
God instructs Moses to choose out 70 elders from among the people. These elders would help Moses in the leadership of the people.
Instead of grumbling and complaining to the pastor, or leader, wouldn't it be so much better if a person just offered help instead? Help, and most importantly, prayer!
This portion ends with the dissension of Aaron and Miriam. Not only did Moses have to put up with the complaining of the people, but his own brother and sister were now complaining about him. YHVH took this as a personal affront to Himself. Moses was His chosen instrument.
In I Chronicles 16:22 we read: “...touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm”. (KJV) God dealt with Aaron and Miriam.
Wisdom obtained from the Word should speak volumes to us about withholding our wagging tongues. Even David would not go against King Saul but he waited for YHVH to correct the problem.