Numbers 11:1
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New International Version
Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

New Living Translation
Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD's anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.

English Standard Version
And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.

New American Standard Bible
Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

King James Bible
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now the people began complaining openly before the LORD about hardship. When the LORD heard, His anger burned, and fire from the LORD blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp.

International Standard Version
Eventually, the people began complaining about their distress, and the LORD heard them. When the LORD heard, his anger flared up and the LORD's fire incinerated some of them within the outskirts of the camp.

NET Bible
When the people complained, it displeased the LORD. When the LORD heard it, his anger burned, and so the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp.

New Heart English Bible
The people were complaining in the ears of the LORD. When the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled; and the LORD's fire burnt among them, and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The people began complaining out loud to the LORD about their troubles. When the LORD heard them, he became angry, and fire from the LORD began to burn among them. It destroyed some people on the outskirts of the camp.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the people were as murmurers, speaking evil in the ears of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and devoured in the uttermost part of the camp.

New American Standard 1977
Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And it came to pass that the people complained in an evil manner in the ears of the LORD, and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burnt among them and consumed in the uttermost parts of the camp.

King James 2000 Bible
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some that were in the outlying parts of the camp.

American King James Version
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

American Standard Version
And the people were as murmurers,'speaking evil in the ears of Jehovah: and when Jehovah heard it, his anger was kindled; and the fire of Jehovah burnt among them, and devoured in the uttermost part of the camp.

Douay-Rheims Bible
In the mean time there arose a murmuring of the people against the Lord, as it were repining at their fatigue. And when the Lord heard it he was angry. And the fire of the Lord being kindled against them, devoured them that were at the uttermost part of the camp.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass that when the people murmured, it was evil in the ears of Jehovah; and Jehovah heard it, and his anger was kindled, and the fire of Jehovah burned among them, and consumed [some] in the extremity of the camp.

English Revised Version
And the people were as murmurers, speaking evil in the ears of the LORD: and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and devoured in the uttermost part of the camp.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; and the LORD heard it: and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

World English Bible
The people were complaining in the ears of Yahweh. When Yahweh heard it, his anger was kindled; and Yahweh's fire burnt among them, and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Young's Literal Translation
And the people is evil, as those sighing habitually in the ears of Jehovah, and Jehovah heareth, and His anger burneth, and the fire of Jehovah burneth among them, and consumeth in the extremity of the camp.
Study Bible
The People Complain
1Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out.…
Cross References
Numbers 11:18
"Say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, "Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat and you shall eat.

Numbers 14:2
All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!

Numbers 14:22
"Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,

Numbers 14:27
"How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me.

Numbers 14:28
"Say to them, 'As I live,' says the LORD, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you;

Numbers 16:11
"Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the LORD; but as for Aaron, who is he that you grumble against him?"

Numbers 16:35
Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense.

Numbers 17:5
"It will come about that the rod of the man whom I choose will sprout. Thus I will lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you."

Job 1:16
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you."

Psalm 78:21
Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel,
Treasury of Scripture

And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

and when

Numbers 10:33 And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey…

Numbers 20:2-5 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves …

Numbers 21:5 And the people spoke against God, and against Moses, Why have you …

Exodus 15:23,24 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of …

Exodus 16:2,3,7,9 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against …

Exodus 17:2,3 Why the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that …

Deuteronomy 9:22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, you provoked …

Lamentations 3:39 Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

1 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed …

Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; …

complained. or, were as it were complainers. it displeased the Lord.

Genesis 38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: why he slew him also.

2 Samuel 11:27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his …

James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, …

and the fire

Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred …

Leviticus 10:2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they …

Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell, …

2 Kings 1:12 And Elijah answered and said to them, If I be a man of God, let fire …

Job 1:16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The …

Psalm 78:21 Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled …

Psalm 106:18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Isaiah 30:33 For Tophet is ordained of old; yes, for the king it is prepared; …

Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. …

Nahum 1:5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is …

Mark 9:43-49 And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to …

Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

the uttermost

Deuteronomy 25:18 How he met you by the way, and smote the hindmost of you, even all …

XI.

(1) And when the people complained . . . --Better, And the people were as those who complained (or murmured), (which was) evil in the ears of the Lord. The LXX. has, "And the people murmured sinfully before the Lord." Comp. 1Corinthians 10:10 : "Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured."

And consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.-Better, and devoured at the extremity of the camp. Most commentators have remarked, and justly, upon the great severity of the Divine judgments which were inflicted after the giving of the Law, as compared with those which were inflicted before it. Reference may be made in illustration of this point to Exodus 14:11-14; Exodus 15:24-25; Exodus 16:2-8; Exodus 17:3-7. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews argues from the just recompense of reward which every transgression and disobedience received under the Law, the impossibility of the escape of those who neglect the great salvation of the Gospel. See Hebrews 2:2-3. Comp. also Hebrews 10:28-29; Hebrews 12:25.

Verse 1. - And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord. There is no "when" in the original. It is literally, "And the people were as complainers evil in the ears of the Lord." This may be paraphrased as in the A.V.; or it may be rendered as in the Septuagint, ῆν ὁ λαὸς γογγύζων πονηρὰ ἔυαντι κυρίου (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:10), where πονηρά means the wicked things they uttered in their discontent; or the "evil" may mean the hardships they complained cf. The Targums understand it in the same way as the Septuagint, and this seems to agree best with the context. As to the time and place of this complaining, the narrative seems to limit it within the three days' march from the wilderness of Sinai; but it is not possible to fix it more precisely. It is sufficient that the very first incident in the great journey thought worthy of record was this sin and its punishment, and the natural conclusion is that it came to pass very shortly after the departure. As to the reason of the complaining, although it is not stated, and although there does not seem to have been any special cause of distress, we can hardly be mistaken about it. The fatigue and anxiety of the march, after a year's comparative idleness, the frightful nature of the country into which they were marching, and the unknown terrors of the way which lay before them, these were quite enough to shake their nerves and upset their minds. Such things could only be borne and faced in a spirit of faith and trustful dependence upon God and their appointed leaders, and that spirit they knew nothing cf. Slavery, even when its outward pressure is past and gone like a bad dream, leaves behind it above all things an incurable suspicion of, and a rooted disbelief in, others, which shows itself outwardly by blank ingratitude and persistent complaint of bad treatment. This is the well-known mental attitude of liberated slaves even towards their benefactors and liberators; and in the case of Israel this temper extended to the King of Israel himself, whom they held responsible for all the privations and terrors of an apparently needless journey through a hideous waste. The Targum of Palestine says here, "There were wicked men of the people who, being discontent, devised and imagined evil before the Lord." The complaining, however, seems to have been general throughout the host, as the Psalmist more truly acknowledges (Psalm 78:17-22). And the fire of the Lord burnt among them. The "fire of the Lord" may mean one of three things.

1. Lightning, as apparently in Job 1:16; for lightning to the unscientific is the fiery bolt, even as thunder is the angry voice, of God (cf. 1 Samuel 12:18, 19).

2. A miraculous outburst of flame from the Presence in the tabernacle, such as slew Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:2), and afterwards the 250 men who offered incense (chapter 16:35).

3. A miraculous descent of fire from heaven, as apparently in 2 Kings 1:10-12 (cf. Revelation 13:13). Of these the second seems to be excluded by the fact that the conflagration was in the outskirts of the camp furthest removed from the tabernacle. If we suppose the fire to have been natural, we may further suppose that it set alight to the dry bushes and shrubs which abound in parts of the desert, and which blaze with great fury when the flame is driven by the wind. It is, however, at least as likely that a wholly supernatural visitation of God is here intended. What is most important to notice is this, that the punishment in this case followed hard and sore upon the sin, whereas before they came to Sinai the Lord had passed over similar murmurings without any chastisement (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2). The reason of this difference was twofold. In the first place, they had now had abundant opportunity to become acquainted with the power and goodness of the Lord, and had solemnly entered into covenant with him, and he had taken up his abode among them; wherefore their responsibilities grew with their privileges, their dangers kept pace with their advantages. In the second place, they had while at Sinai committed an act of national apostasy (Exodus 32), the punishment of which, although suspended (verse 14), was only suspended (verse 34), and was always capable of being revived; Israel was plainly warned that he was under sentence, and that any disobedience would awake the terrors of the Lord against him. And consumed... in the uttermost parts of the camp. Probably setting fire to the outer line of tents, or some pitched outside the line, and consuming the people that were in them. The Targum of Palestine affirms that it "destroyed some of the wicked in the outskirts of the house of Dan, with whom was a graven image;" but this attempt to shift the responsibility, and to alter the character of the sin, is clearly worthless, and only suggested by occurrences wholly unconnected with the present (see Judges 18). And when the people complained,.... Or "were as complainers" (p); not merely like to such, but were truly and really complainers, the "caph", here being not a note of similitude, but of truth and reality, as in Hosea 5:10. This Hebraism is frequent in the New Testament, Matthew 14:5. What they complained of is not said, it being that for which there was no foundation; it is generally supposed to be of their journey; but if they were come but eight miles, as observed on Numbers 10:33; they could not be very weary; and especially as they were marching towards the land of Canaan, it might be thought they would be fond and eager of their journey. Some think it was for want of flesh, being weary of manna, and that this was only the beginning of their complaints on that head, which opened more afterwards; but if that is the case, one would think that the fire, which consumed many of them, would have put a stop to that. Jarchi says, the word signifies taking an occasion, and that the sense is, that these men sought an occasion how to separate from the Lord; they wanted to return to Egypt again, that was what they were meditating and contriving; so the Targum of Jonathan,"and the ungodly of the people were in distress, and intended and meditated evil before the Lord:"

it displeased the Lord: a murmuring complaining spirit is always displeasing to him, when a thankful heart for mercies received is an acceptable sacrifice; murmurers and complainers God will judge at the great day, Jde 1:14,

and the Lord heard it: though it was an inward secret complaint, or an evil scheme formed in their minds; at most but a muttering, and what Moses had not heard, or had any knowledge of; but God, that knows the secrets of all hearts, and every word in the tongue before it is well formed or pronounced, he heard what they complained of, and what they whispered and muttered to one another about:

and his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burnt among them; from the pillar of fire, or from heaven, such as destroyed Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus 10:1; the two hundred fifty men that had censers in Korah's company, Numbers 16:35; and the captains of fifties that came to take Elijah, 2 Kings 1:14; and might be lightning from heaven, or a burning wind sent by the Lord, such as is frequent in the eastern countries. Thevenot (q) speaks of one in 1658, which destroyed at once twenty thousand men:

and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp; who very likely were the principal aggressors; or it began to arouse and terrify the body of the people, and bring them to repentance, who might fear it would proceed and go through the whole camp, the hinder part or rearward of which was the camp of Dan; and so the Targum of Jonathan.

(p) "ut conquerentes injuste", Montanus, Fagius, Vatablus; "ut qui vaba moliuntur", Drusius. (q) Travels, par. 1. l. 2. c. 34. CHAPTER 11

Nu 11:1-35. Manna Loathed.

1. When the people complained it displeased the Lord, etc.—Unaccustomed to the fatigues of travel and wandering into the depths of a desert, less mountainous but far more gloomy and desolate than that of Sinai, without any near prospect of the rich country that had been promised, they fell into a state of vehement discontent, which was vented at these irksome and fruitless journeyings. The displeasure of God was manifested against the ungrateful complainers by fire sent in an extraordinary manner. It is worthy of notice, however, that the discontent seems to have been confined to the extremities of the camp, where, in all likelihood, "the mixed multitude" [see on [71]Ex 12:38] had their station. At the intercession of Moses, the appalling judgment ceased [Nu 11:2], and the name given to the place, "Taberah" (a burning), remained ever after a monument of national sin and punishment. (See on [72]Nu 11:34).11:1-3 Here is the people's sin; they complained. See the sinfulness of sin, which takes occasion from the commandment to be provoking. The weakness of the law discovered sin, but could not destroy it; checked, but could not conquer it. They complained. Those who are of a discontented spirit, will always find something to quarrel or fret about, though the circumstances of their outward condition be ever so favourable. The Lord heard it, though Moses did not. God knows the secret frettings and murmurings of the heart, though concealed from men. What he noticed, he was much displeased with, and he chastised them for this sin. The fire of their wrath against God burned in their minds; justly did the fire of God's wrath fasten on their bodies; but God's judgments came on them gradually, that they might take warning. It appeared that God delights not in punishing; when he begins, he is soon prevailed with to let it fall.
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OT Law: Numbers 11:1 The people were as murmurers speaking evil (Nu Num.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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