“The people stayed up all that day, all night and all the next day gathering the quails — the person gathering the least collected ten heaps; then they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still in their mouth, before they had chewed it up, the anger of Adonai flared up against the people, and Adonai struck the people with a terrible plague. Therefore that place was named Kivrot-HaTa’avah [graves of greed], because there they buried the people who were so greedy. From Kivrot-HaTa’avah the people traveled to Hatzerot, and they stayed at Hatzerot.”-Numbers 11:32-35
So the Lord sent the Israelites the “meat” they were lusting after in the form of tons and tons of quail.
We’re then told that while the people were gorging themselves, the anger of ADONAI flared up and and He struck the people with a plague.
We’re not told specifically what the nature of the plague was or exactly how many people died but I think it’s safe to assume that more than quite a few perished.
After those who had been killed were buried, the burial site was called KIBROTH-HATAAVAH.
A literal translation from the Hebrew would be “The Place of Lusting“.
So why was God so ticked off?
At this juncture, the insights from the ancient Jewish Sages is awesome.
In a nutshell, here is what they say.
The people craved and lusted after flesh instead of the food that came from the heavens.
So God turned them over to flesh.
In other words, they preferred the things of this world to the things of God.
In this event, we are presented with a perfect physical demonstration of the spiritual principle that we are NOT to be of this world or desire the fleshly things of this world.
And here’s another takeaway we get from this portion of Torah.
God isn’t gonna force us to choose one way or another.
Just as the Israelites had the option to choose the flesh of dead birds over the Heavenly Manna, so has God given us the freedom to choose the fleshly things of this world over the spiritual things of heaven.
We have the freedom of choice but in that freedom we should also understand we’ll reap the consequences of our choices whether good or bad.
Moving on, we’re told the Israelites next traveled to a place call HAZEROTH.
Where is HAZEROTH Located?
It’s located in the Gulf of Aqaba, an area at the top part of the Red Sea.
It’s not called HAZEROTH any longer though.
It is now called ‘AIN EL HADRA.
Why do I mention this?
Well, this is just further evidence that the Israelites were journeying on the Arabian Peninsula.
They were traveling up along the western end (of the Arabian Peninsula) and would keep going until they reached the tip of the Red Sea.
Finally, before closing I want to share a couple of verses from the Psalms that demonstrate the influence this incredible event left on the mindset of the Hebrews.
“He stirred up the east wind in heaven,
brought on the south wind by his power,
and rained down meat on them like dust,
birds flying thick as the sand on the seashore.
He let them fall in the middle of their camp,
all around their tents.
So they ate till they were satisfied;
he gave them what they craved.
They were still fulfilling their craving,
the food was still in their mouths,
when the anger of God rose up against them
and slaughtered their strongest men,
laying low the young men of Israel.
Still, they kept on sinning
and put no faith in his wonders.”
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Do not love the world
or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
love for the Father is not in them.”
-1 John 2:15
“They are not of the world,
even as I am not of it.”
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN NUMBERS CHAPTER TWELVE