It begins with anger at the outskirts of the camp and ends with the people in 'villages' otherwise thought of as the name of a way-station on the journey in the wilderness. It could be a place called The Villages.
I noted in passing that I began this chapter almost a year ago, restarted it 2 weeks ago, and then let myself finish. It was not top of the list exactly since I had started it independently of that strategy.
How and what did the Spirit do in, on, over, against, (or whatever preposition you like) the seventy (+two) elders of the people? Here I will tread on the prepositions of many preachers. Warning, prepositions are notoriously difficult to translate. They appear and disappear as required by the accompanying verb in the host language, and the guest's language prepositions reflect different ways of thinking, not necessarily better or worse, just different.
Now about this word אצל, remember Exodus 24:11 where I rendered it as elect. But it has to do with joints and joining, so here it is combine. This will tread on some interpretations too, I expect. When I was young, they used to sing a song about me, Stomping through the tulips. Little did I realize it was prophetic. If indeed we are dependent on the Spirit, that Holy One of Israel, let us remember that as Moses says, (paraphrasing) who gives permission (נתן) to anyone when Yahweh's spirit is (על) on, over, against, or even in them? Six times we have רוח, spirit, wind, sprite, wisp, aspirate, in this chapter of 14 times in the book of Numbers. Must be something to it.
Continue to read slowly, and note the musical highlights, how long some recitations are till you reach a rest point. Verses 18-20 are clearly joined. The ornament beginning verse 30 shows the continuation of the conversation about flesh in verse 23. Don't let anyone tell you that the scope of accents is confined to a single verse. Nothing could be more misleading than this assumption documented by Wickes in his carefully but not carefully enough written theses of 1881.
There is significant repetition here. It is about the people (22 times) and their days (12 times). And about Moses (14 times), more of a true human character than memory gives him credit for. His complaint (verse 12) is classic poetic lament. Anger, burning and kindling are limited, 3 occurrences each. Bear is נשא, lift up, assume liability for (it occurs 7 times). Also 7 times are the following (מן) manna / from, (אסף) gather / again, (נתן) give / assign / permit, (הם) them, (שׁם) there / name. You can distinguish the homonyms (same letters, different meaning) with this layout.
|וַיְהִ֤י הָעָם֙ כְּמִתְאֹ֣נְנִ֔ים רַ֖ע בְּאָזְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה |
וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע יְהוָה֙ וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ וַתִּבְעַר־בָּם֙ אֵ֣שׁ יְהוָ֔ה וַתֹּ֖אכַל בִּקְצֵ֥ה הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה
|1||And the people were whining of evil in the ears of Yahweh. |
And Yahweh heard and his anger burned, and the fire of Yahweh was kindled among them, and it devoured at the outskirts of the camp.
|וַיִּצְעַ֥ק הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה |
וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֤ל מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֔ה וַתִּשְׁקַ֖ע הָאֵֽשׁ
|2||And the people cried out to Moses, |
and Moses interceded with Yahweh, and the fire abated.
|וַיִּקְרָ֛א שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא תַּבְעֵרָ֑ה |
כִּֽי־בָעֲרָ֥ה בָ֖ם אֵ֥שׁ יְהוָֽה
|3||And he called the name of that place Kindling, |
for among them was kindled the fire of Yahweh.
|וְהָֽאסַפְסֻף֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּקִרְבּ֔וֹ הִתְאַוּ֖וּ תַּאֲוָ֑ה |
וַיָּשֻׁ֣בוּ וַיִּבְכּ֗וּ גַּ֚ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ מִ֥י יַאֲכִלֵ֖נוּ בָּשָֽׂר
|4||And the rabble that was among them desired intensely, |
and the children of Israel also turned and wept and they said, Who will give us flesh to eat?
|זָכַ֙רְנוּ֙ אֶת־הַדָּגָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־נֹאכַ֥ל בְּמִצְרַ֖יִם חִנָּ֑ם |
אֵ֣ת הַקִּשֻּׁאִ֗ים וְאֵת֙ הָֽאֲבַטִּחִ֔ים וְאֶת־הֶחָצִ֥יר וְאֶת־הַבְּצָלִ֖ים וְאֶת־הַשּׁוּמִֽים
|5||We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt for nothing, |
the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.
|וְעַתָּ֛ה נַפְשֵׁ֥נוּ יְבֵשָׁ֖ה אֵ֣ין כֹּ֑ל |
בִּלְתִּ֖י אֶל־הַמָּ֥ן עֵינֵֽינוּ
|6||But now we are dried up. There is nothing at all. |
Excluding this manna in our eyes.
|וְהַמָּ֕ן כִּזְרַע־גַּ֖ד ה֑וּא |
וְעֵינ֖וֹ כְּעֵ֥ין הַבְּדֹֽלַח
|7||And the manna was like the seed of coriander, |
and its eye like the eye of bdellium.
|שָׁטוּ֩ הָעָ֨ם וְלָֽקְט֜וּ וְטָחֲנ֣וּ בָרֵחַ֗יִם א֤וֹ דָכוּ֙ בַּמְּדֹכָ֔ה וּבִשְּׁלוּ֙ בַּפָּר֔וּר וְעָשׂ֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ עֻג֑וֹת |
וְהָיָ֣ה טַעְמ֔וֹ כְּטַ֖עַם לְשַׁ֥ד הַשָּֽׁמֶן
|8||The people roved, and gleaned it and ground it with a millstone, or they crushed it with crushing and seething into the kettle, and made into it a pancake, |
and its taste was as the taste of moist oil.
|וּבְרֶ֧דֶת הַטַּ֛ל עַל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה לָ֑יְלָה |
יֵרֵ֥ד הַמָּ֖ן עָלָֽיו
|9||And when dew descended on the camp at night, |
the manna descended over it.
|וַיִּשְׁמַ֨ע מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶת־הָעָ֗ם בֹּכֶה֙ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֔יו אִ֖ישׁ לְפֶ֣תַח אָהֳל֑וֹ |
וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֤ף יְהוָה֙ מְאֹ֔ד וּבְעֵינֵ֥י מֹשֶׁ֖ה רָֽע
|10||And Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, each at the door of its tent, |
and the anger of Yahweh burned much, and in the eyes of Moses, it was dejection.
|וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶל־יְהוָ֗ה לָמָ֤ה הֲרֵעֹ֙תָ֙ לְעַבְדֶּ֔ךָ וְלָ֛מָּה לֹא־מָצָ֥תִי חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֶ֑יךָ |
לָשׂ֗וּם אֶת־מַשָּׂ֛א כָּל־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה עָלָֽי
|11||And Moses said to Yahweh, Why do you do evil to your servant, and why have I not found grace in your eyes, |
that you put the load of all this people on me.
|הֶאָנֹכִ֣י הָרִ֗יתִי אֵ֚ת כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אִם־אָנֹכִ֖י יְלִדְתִּ֑יהוּ |
כִּֽי־תֹאמַ֨ר אֵלַ֜י שָׂאֵ֣הוּ בְחֵיקֶ֗ךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יִשָּׂ֤א הָאֹמֵן֙ אֶת־הַיֹּנֵ֔ק עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖עְתָּ לַאֲבֹתָֽיו
|12||Am I myself pregnant with all this people as if I I am to give them birth, |
that you say to me, Bear them in your bosom as the nurse bears the suckling unto the ground that you swore to our ancestors?
|מֵאַ֤יִן לִי֙ בָּשָׂ֔ר לָתֵ֖ת לְכָל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה |
כִּֽי־יִבְכּ֤וּ עָלַי֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר תְּנָה־לָּ֥נוּ בָשָׂ֖ר וְנֹאכֵֽלָה
|13||From where for me is flesh to give to all this people? |
For they weep over me, saying, Give us flesh so we may eat.
|לֹֽא־אוּכַ֤ל אָנֹכִי֙ לְבַדִּ֔י לָשֵׂ֖את אֶת־כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה |
כִּ֥י כָבֵ֖ד מִמֶּֽנִּי
|14||I am not able, I alone, to bear with all this people, |
for it is too heavy for me.
|וְאִם־כָּ֣כָה ׀ אַתְּ־עֹ֣שֶׂה לִּ֗י הָרְגֵ֤נִי נָא֙ הָרֹ֔ג אִם־מָצָ֥אתִי חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֶ֑יךָ |
|15||And if thus you are dealing with me, slay me please. Slay, if I have found grace in your eyes, |
and let me not see into my evil.
|וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶסְפָה־לִּ֞י שִׁבְעִ֣ים אִישׁ֮ מִזִּקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָדַ֔עְתָּ כִּי־הֵ֛ם זִקְנֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם וְשֹׁטְרָ֑יו |
וְלָקַחְתָּ֤ אֹתָם֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד וְהִֽתְיַצְּב֥וּ שָׁ֖ם עִמָּֽךְ
|16||And Yahweh said to Moses, Gather for me seventy persons of the elders of Israel, whom you know are the elders of the people, and their overseers, |
and take them to the tent of engagement, and they will present themselves there with you.
|וְיָרַדְתִּ֗י וְדִבַּרְתִּ֣י עִמְּךָ֮ שָׁם֒ וְאָצַלְתִּ֗י מִן־הָר֛וּחַ אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלֶ֖יךָ וְשַׂמְתִּ֣י עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם |
וְנָשְׂא֤וּ אִתְּךָ֙ בְּמַשָּׂ֣א הָעָ֔ם וְלֹא־תִשָּׂ֥א אַתָּ֖ה לְבַדֶּֽךָ
|17||And I will come down and I will speak with you there, and I will combine from the spirit that is on you, that I will set over them, |
and they will bear with you in the bearing of the people, and you will not bear, you on your own.
|וְאֶל־הָעָ֨ם תֹּאמַ֜ר הִתְקַדְּשׁ֣וּ לְמָחָר֮ וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֣ם בָּשָׂר֒ כִּ֡י בְּכִיתֶם֩ בְּאָזְנֵ֨י יְהוָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֤י יַאֲכִלֵ֙נוּ֙ בָּשָׂ֔ר כִּי־ט֥וֹב לָ֖נוּ בְּמִצְרָ֑יִם |
וְנָתַ֨ן יְהוָ֥ה לָכֶ֛ם בָּשָׂ֖ר וַאֲכַלְתֶּֽם
|18||And to the people you say, Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow and you will eat flesh, because you have wept in the ears of Yahweh, saying, Who will give us flesh to eat, for it was better for us in Egypt? |
And Yahweh will give you flesh, and you will eat.
|לֹ֣א י֥וֹם אֶחָ֛ד תֹּאכְל֖וּן וְלֹ֣א יוֹמָ֑יִם |
וְלֹ֣א ׀ חֲמִשָּׁ֣ה יָמִ֗ים וְלֹא֙ עֲשָׂרָ֣ה יָמִ֔ים וְלֹ֖א עֶשְׂרִ֥ים יֽוֹם
|19||B||Not one day you will eat, and not two days, |
and not five days, and not ten days, and not a twenty day span,
|עַ֣ד ׀ חֹ֣דֶשׁ יָמִ֗ים עַ֤ד אֲשֶׁר־יֵצֵא֙ מֵֽאַפְּכֶ֔ם וְהָיָ֥ה לָכֶ֖ם לְזָרָ֑א |
יַ֗עַן כִּֽי־מְאַסְתֶּ֤ם אֶת־יְהוָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֔ם וַתִּבְכּ֤וּ לְפָנָיו֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה יָצָ֥אנוּ מִמִּצְרָֽיִם
|20||B||To a month of days, until it comes out from your nostrils, and it will be for yourselves nauseating, because you have refused Yahweh, who is among you, and you have wept in his presence, saying, |
Was it for this we came out from Egypt?
|וַיֹּאמֶר֮ מֹשֶׁה֒ שֵׁשׁ־מֵא֥וֹת אֶ֙לֶף֙ רַגְלִ֔י הָעָ֕ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָנֹכִ֖י בְּקִרְבּ֑וֹ |
וְאַתָּ֣ה אָמַ֗רְתָּ בָּשָׂר֙ אֶתֵּ֣ן לָהֶ֔ם וְאָכְל֖וּ חֹ֥דֶשׁ יָמִֽים
|21||And Moses said, Six hundred thousand on foot are the people among whom I am, |
and yourself, you said, Flesh I will give for them, and they will eat for a month of days?
|הֲצֹ֧אן וּבָקָ֛ר יִשָּׁחֵ֥ט לָהֶ֖ם וּמָצָ֣א לָהֶ֑ם |
אִ֣ם אֶֽת־כָּל־דְּגֵ֥י הַיָּ֛ם יֵאָסֵ֥ף לָהֶ֖ם וּמָצָ֥א לָהֶֽם
|22||Will flock and herd be butchered for them and be found for them? |
or would all the fishes of the sea be gathered for them and be found for them?
|וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה הֲיַ֥ד יְהוָ֖ה תִּקְצָ֑ר |
עַתָּ֥ה תִרְאֶ֛ה הֲיִקְרְךָ֥ דְבָרִ֖י אִם־לֹֽא
|23||And Yahweh said to Moses, Is the hand of Yahweh reaping? |
Now you will see. Will my word transpire or not?
|וַיֵּצֵ֣א מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיְדַבֵּר֙ אֶל־הָעָ֔ם אֵ֖ת דִּבְרֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה |
וַיֶּאֱסֹ֞ף שִׁבְעִ֥ים אִישׁ֙ מִזִּקְנֵ֣י הָעָ֔ם וַֽיַּעֲמֵ֥ד אֹתָ֖ם סְבִיבֹ֥ת הָאֹֽהֶל
|24||So Moses went out and he spoke to the people the words of Yahweh, |
and seventy persons were gathered of the elders of the people, and he stood with them surrounding the tent.
|וַיֵּ֨רֶד יְהוָ֥ה ׀ בֶּעָנָן֮ וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלָיו֒ וַיָּ֗אצֶל מִן־הָר֙וּחַ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָלָ֔יו וַיִּתֵּ֕ן עַל־שִׁבְעִ֥ים אִ֖ישׁ הַזְּקֵנִ֑ים |
וַיְהִ֗י כְּנ֤וֹחַ עֲלֵיהֶם֙ הָר֔וּחַ וַיִּֽתְנַבְּא֖וּ וְלֹ֥א יָסָֽפוּ
|25||And Yahweh descended in a cloud, and he spoke to him and he combined from the spirit that was over him, and he assigned over each of the seventy elders, |
and it happened as the spirit rested over them that they prophesied, but not repeatedly.
|וַיִּשָּׁאֲר֣וּ שְׁנֵֽי־אֲנָשִׁ֣ים ׀ בַּֽמַּחֲנֶ֡ה שֵׁ֣ם הָאֶחָ֣ד ׀ אֶלְדָּ֡ד וְשֵׁם֩ הַשֵּׁנִ֨י מֵידָ֜ד וַתָּ֧נַח עֲלֵיהֶ֣ם הָר֗וּחַ וְהֵ֙מָּה֙ בַּכְּתֻבִ֔ים וְלֹ֥א יָצְא֖וּ הָאֹ֑הֱלָה |
|26||And there were two extra persons in the camp, the name of the first, Eldad, and the name of the second, Medad, and over them the spirit rested. And they were among those written, but they had not gone out towards the tent, and they prophesied in the camp.||3c||4B||49|
|וַיָּ֣רָץ הַנַּ֔עַר וַיַּגֵּ֥ד לְמֹשֶׁ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר |
אֶלְדָּ֣ד וּמֵידָ֔ד מִֽתְנַבְּאִ֖ים בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה
|27||And the lad raced, and he made it clear to Moses and he said, |
Eldad and Medad prophesy in the camp.
|וַיַּ֜עַן יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן מְשָׁרֵ֥ת מֹשֶׁ֛ה מִבְּחֻרָ֖יו וַיֹּאמַ֑ר |
אֲדֹנִ֥י מֹשֶׁ֖ה כְּלָאֵֽם
|28||And Joshua answered, child of Nun, minister of Moses among his chosen, and said, |
My Lord Moses, restrain them.
|וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה הַֽמְקַנֵּ֥א אַתָּ֖ה לִ֑י |
וּמִ֨י יִתֵּ֜ן כָּל־עַ֤ם יְהוָה֙ נְבִיאִ֔ים כִּי־יִתֵּ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־רוּח֖וֹ עֲלֵיהֶֽם
|29||And Moses said to him, Are you jealous for me? |
And who will permit any of the people of Yahweh to be prophets when Yahweh permits his Spirit over them?
|וַיֵּאָסֵ֥ף מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֑ה |
ה֖וּא וְזִקְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|30||And again, Moses was at the camp, |
he and the elders of Israel.
|ר֜וּחַ נָסַ֣ע ׀ מֵאֵ֣ת יְהוָ֗ה וַיָּ֣גָז שַׂלְוִים֮ מִן־הַיָּם֒ וַיִּטֹּ֨שׁ עַל־ הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֜ה כְּדֶ֧רֶךְ י֣וֹם כֹּ֗ה וּכְדֶ֤רֶךְ יוֹם֙ כֹּ֔ה סְבִיב֖וֹת הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֑ה |
וּכְאַמָּתַ֖יִם עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאָֽרֶץ
|31||~||Spirit pulled out from Yahweh and sheared quail from the sea, and abandoned over the camp, about a journey of a day thus and about a journey of a day thus, surrounding the camp, |
and two cubits upon the face of the earth.
|וַיָּ֣קָם הָעָ֡ם כָּל־הַיּוֹם֩ הַה֨וּא וְכָל־הַלַּ֜יְלָה וְכֹ֣ל ׀ י֣וֹם הַֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת וַיַּֽאַסְפוּ֙ אֶת־הַשְּׂלָ֔ו הַמַּמְעִ֕יט אָסַ֖ף עֲשָׂרָ֣ה חֳמָרִ֑ים |
וַיִּשְׁטְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ שָׁט֔וֹחַ סְבִיב֖וֹת הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה
|32||And the people arose all that day and all the night long and all the following day and gathered quail, and the littlest gathered ten homers, |
and they unfolded them, unfolded, surrounding the camp.
|הַבָּשָׂ֗ר עוֹדֶ֙נּוּ֙ בֵּ֣ין שִׁנֵּיהֶ֔ם טֶ֖רֶם יִכָּרֵ֑ת |
וְאַ֤ף יְהוָה֙ חָרָ֣ה בָעָ֔ם וַיַּ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ בָּעָ֔ם מַכָּ֖ה רַבָּ֥ה מְאֹֽד
|33||The flesh yet between their teeth, ere it was cut off, |
and the anger of Yahweh burned among the people, and Yahweh struck among the people, struck very many.
|וַיִּקְרָ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא קִבְר֣וֹת הַֽתַּאֲוָ֑ה |
כִּי־שָׁם֙ קָֽבְר֔וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם הַמִּתְאַוִּֽים
|34||And he called the name of that place the tombs of Ha-Tavah, |
for there they entombed the people of intense desire.
|מִקִּבְר֧וֹת הַֽתַּאֲוָ֛ה נָסְע֥וּ הָעָ֖ם חֲצֵר֑וֹת |
|35||From the tombs of Ha-Tavah, the people pulled out to villages, |
and were in villages.