Numbers 11:33
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.

New Living Translation
But while they were gorging themselves on the meat--while it was still in their mouths--the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.

English Standard Version
While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague.

New American Standard Bible
While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.

King James Bible
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the LORD's anger burned against the people, and the LORD struck them with a very severe plague.

International Standard Version
But even as they were chewing the meat and before they had swallowed it, the LORD became very angry with the people and struck them with a disastrous plague.

NET Bible
But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.

New Heart English Bible
While the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
While the meat was still in their mouths-before they had even had a chance to chew it-the LORD became angry with the people and struck them with a severe plague.

JPS Tanakh 1917
While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

New American Standard 1977
While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

King James 2000 Bible
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.

American King James Version
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

American Standard Version
While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the anger of Jehovah was kindled against the people, and Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague.

Douay-Rheims Bible
As yet the flesh was between their teeth, neither had that kind of meat failed: when behold the wrath of the Lord being provoked against the people, struck them with an exceeding great plague.

Darby Bible Translation
The flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, when the wrath of Jehovah was kindled against the people, and Jehovah smote the people with a very great plague.

English Revised Version
While the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

Webster's Bible Translation
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

World English Bible
While the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of Yahweh was kindled against the people, and Yahweh struck the people with a very great plague.

Young's Literal Translation
The flesh is yet between their teeth -- it is not yet cut off -- and the anger of Jehovah hath burned among the people, and Jehovah smiteth among the people -- a very great smiting;
Study Bible
The Quail and the Plague
32The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague. 34So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.…
Cross References
Job 20:13
Though he desires it and will not let it go, But holds it in his mouth,

Job 20:23
"When he fills his belly, God will send His fierce anger on him And will rain it on him while he is eating.

Psalm 78:29
So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them.

Psalm 78:30
Before they had satisfied their desire, While their food was in their mouths,

Psalm 78:31
The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel.

Psalm 106:15
So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them.
Treasury of Scripture

And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

and while

Psalm 78:30,31 They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was …

Psalm 106:14,15 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert…

smote

Numbers 16:49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven …

Numbers 25:9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

Deuteronomy 28:27 The LORD will smite you with the botch of Egypt, and with the tumors, …

(33) With a very great plague.--The noun, maccah. plague, is cognate to the verb which is rendered smote. It is frequently used of a stroke inflicted by God, as, e.g., pestilence or any epidemic sickness. A surfeit, such as that in which the Israelites had indulged, especially under the circumstances in which they were placed, would naturally produce a considerable amount of sickness. Here, then, as in the account of the plagues of Egypt and in other parts of the sacred history, the natural and the supernatural are closely combined.

Verse 33. - And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed. If this were taken in the most literal sense, it would mean that no one of the people had time to swallow a single morsel of the coveted food ere he was stricken down by the Divine visitation. We can scarcely imagine, however, that such was the case in every single instance. It would indeed appear as if they had with one consent postponed the enjoyment of eating the quails until they had gathered as huge a quantity for future use as possible; as if in defiance and contempt of the Divine warning that their greed would turn to satiety and loathing (see verses 19 and 32). If this were so, then the feast to which they so eagerly looked forward would begin throughout the camps on the second night, and the visitation of God might well have had the sudden and simultaneous character attributed to it here and in Psalm 78:30, 31. At any rate the statement of the text positively excludes the idea that they went on eating quails for a whole month, according to the promise (or threat) of verse 20. There was flesh enough to have secured the literal fulfillment of that promise by gorging them for a whole month; but it is evident that the Divine wrath anticipated any such tardy revenges, and smote its victims in the very moment of their keenest gratification. The Lord smote the people with a very great plague. Both ancients and moderns state that the flesh of quails is unwholesome (cf. Pliny, 10:23), but this appears to have no very valid foundation. Unquestionably quails eaten for a month by people unused to a flesh diet would produce many and fatal sicknesses; but there is no room for any such natural results here. Whatever form the plague may have taken, it was as clearly supernatural in its suddenness and intensity as the supply of quails itself. We do not know anything as to who were smitten, or how many; the Psalmist tells us that they were "the fattest" and "the chosen in Israel, and we may naturally suppose that those who had been foremost in the lusting and the murmuring were foremost in the ruin which followed. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth,.... When they had just got it into their mouths, and were about to bite it:

ere it was chewed; or "cut off"; or cut into pieces by the "incisores", or fore teeth, and then ground by the "molares", or grinders, and so became fit to be swallowed. Both quails and locusts were eaten as food; the former is a fat and delicious fowl, and the latter, some sorts of them, at least, were allowed clean food for the Jews, and were fed on by many people:

the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people; for their lusting after flesh, and despising the manna:

and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague; the pestilence, as Aben Ezra; or with fire, as Bochart (e), who gives the following reasons why the people were so severely punished now, and not before, when they murmured on a like account; because their sin's were greater, and more aggravated, they falling again into the same sin which had been forgiven them; and besides, they were before pressed with famine, now they had a plenty of manna every day; and also were better instructed, having received the law, which was not yet given when they were just come out of Egypt. Sulpitius (f) the historian says, 23,000 perished at this time.

(e) Ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 15.) Colossians 109. 33. while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed—literally, "cut off"; that is, before the supply of quails, which lasted a month (Nu 11:20), was exhausted. The probability is, that their stomachs, having been long inured to manna (a light food), were not prepared for so sudden a change of regimen—a heavy, solid diet of animal food, of which they seem to have partaken to so intemperate a degree as to produce a general surfeit, and fatal consequences. On a former occasion their murmurings for flesh were raised (Ex 16:1-8) because they were in want of food. Here they proceeded, not from necessity, but wanton, lustful desire; and their sin, in the righteous judgment of God, was made to carry its own punishment.11:31-35 God performed his promise to the people, in giving them flesh. How much more diligent men are in collecting the meat that perishes, than in labouring for meat which endures to everlasting life! We are quick-sighted in the affairs of time; but stupidity blinds us as to the concerns of eternity. To pursue worldly advantages, we need no arguments; but when we are to secure the true riches, then we are all forgetfulness. Those who are under the power of a carnal mind, will have their lusts fulfilled, though it be to the certain damage and ruin of their precious souls. They paid dearly for their feasts. God often grants the desires of sinners in wrath, while he denies the desires of his own people in love. What we unduly desire, if we obtain it, we have reason to fear, will be some way or other a grief and cross to us. And what multitudes there are in all places, who shorten their lives by excess of one kind or other! Let us seek for those pleasures which satisfy, but never surfeit; and which will endure for evermore.
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