24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent.25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.
26 But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the [q]other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp. 27 So a young man ran and told Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.” 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” 30 Then Moses [r]returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel.
The Quail and the Plague
31 Now there went forth a wind from the Lord and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and [s]about two [t]cubits deep on the surface of the ground. 32 The people [u]spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten [v]homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 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. 34 So the name of that place was called [w]Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people set out for Hazeroth, and they [x]remained at Hazeroth.
There is an interesting contrast here. In the first section, we see the continuation of the “ordination” of the elders that were to assist Moses. The Spirit of God came upon them all, and it seems there were two who didn’t make it to the meeting, but were still in camp, and they to had the Spirit come upon them.
It’s easy to look at that and get all upset about these two who couldn’t be bothered to follow instructions. They didn’t bother to come and join the others, they wanted to stay comfortable in their own homes, but God had other plans, and let them all know it. Moses could have been frustrated or jealous, but he shows some true humility here, and says, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”
Then we see the coming of the meat. The quail just came and fell on the ground, nearly 3 feet deep on both sides of the camp. The people who were so greedy for meat went out and gathered a ton of meat, so much that it says the least gathered 10 homers. For reference, it is believed that a homer is 11 US bushels (measuring by volume). Each homer is then 100 gallons, or 660 pounds. So these folks were gathering 6000 pounds of quail, that’s some serious greed.
It’s no wonder God strikes them with a plague before the food even touches their teeth, they’ve already shown they don’t trust him to provide by even asking for the meat, and now by stockpiling such ludicrous amounts they have insulted God beyond measure.
So which boat do we find ourselves in? Do we look at the blessings of others and thank God with them, or do we get jealous and let our greed kick in? A generous attitude (even when you have little to spare) goes a lot further than greed, no matter what you might think you see in the culture.