2 Apr. Numbers 10:11-11:35

2 Apr. The Israelites move on to the Desert of Paran

“The cloud lifted from the Tent of the [Covenant] Agreement on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year [nearly 14 months after leaving Egypt]. So the Israelites moved from the Desert of Sinai and continued until the cloud stopped in the Desert of Paran…”

“The divisions from the camp of Judah moved first under their flag. Nahshon son of Amminadab was the commander… Then the Holy Tent was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites [families of Levites], who carried it, moved next. Then came the divisions from the camp of Reuben under their flag, and Elizur son of Shedeur was the commander…”

“The last ones were the rearguard for all the tribes. These were the divisions from the camp of Dan under their flag, and Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was the commander… So they left the mountain of the LORD and travelled for three days. The Ark of the LORD’s [Covenant] Agreement went in front of the people for those three days, as they looked for a place to camp…”

“Now the people complained to the LORD about their troubles, and when he heard them, he became angry. Then fire from the LORD burned among the people at the edge of the camp..”

“The people cried out to Moses, and when he prayed to the LORD, the fire stopped burning. So that place was called Taberah, because the LORD’s fire had burned among them.”

“Some troublemakers among them wanted better food, and soon all the Israelites began complaining. They said, ‘We want meat! We remember the fish we ate for free in Egypt. We also had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!'...”

“Moses heard every family crying as they stood in the entrances of their tents. Then the LORD became very angry, and Moses got upset. He asked the LORD, ‘Why have you brought me, your servant, this trouble? What have I done wrong that you made me responsible for all these people?’…”

“The LORD sent a strong wind from the sea, and it blew quail into the area all around the camp… The people went out and gathered quail all that day, that night, and the next day… But the LORD became very angry, and he gave the people a terrible sickness that came while the meat was still in their mouths.”

“So the people named the place Kibroth Hattaavah [meaning ‘graves of wanting’], because there they buried those who wanted other food. From Kibroth Hattaavah the people went to stay at Hazeroth.”

          (Numbers 10:11 – 11:35)



Almost fourteen months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites turned north along the western side of the Gulf of Aqaba and travelled from Mt Sinai to the Desert of Paran (see 1 on the map).

We're accustomed to thinking of the Israelites ‘wandering’ in the desert in happy family groups; but the reality was very different. The Israelites carried their wealth with them (in the form of gold jewellery) and were in constant danger of being attacked, robbed and killed by other people whose territories they were crossing.

So when they travelled, they moved as an armed convoy – with divisions of soldiers to the front and rear of each tribe to stave off any attack. Each division had its own commander, in case the tribes got split up and had to fight on their own.

The tribe of Judah led the convoy, followed closely by the Ark of the Covenant which was carried along on its poles by four Levites. Then came the Tent of Meeting (which was dismantled and carried by leading families of Levites). The tribes of Dan, Asher and Naphtali formed a rearguard to protect the back of the column from attack.

At Taberah (meaning ‘burning’), the people complained about their hardships and the LORD sent a fire which destroyed part of the camp.

Shortly afterwards, the Israelites grumbled again about the lack of meat to eat. God heard their complaint and a flock of quails was blown in from the sea. The people ate all they needed that day. But some were greedy and continued eating the meat of dead birds that were decomposing in the heat on the next day, and many became sick or died of food poisoning. So the place was called Kibroth Hattaavah (meaning ‘graves of craving’) (see 2 on the map). From here, they travelled on to Hazeroth (3 on the map).

The map shows the route of the Israelites’ journey from Sinai to Moab.

You can read more about their travels @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/26-the-journey-continues-from-sinai-to-moab/hardships-encountered-in-the-desert/

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