Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Complaining Women

After covering all the laws in Leviticus and Numbers, Moses switches back to stories in Numbers 10. He picks up when the Hebrews left Mount Sinai and explains the procedure for their packing up and traveling.

Numbers 11 opens with the people complaining. Numbers 11:4 tells us “The mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat?’” All the had to eat was the manna from the sky, and they were tired of it.

Their grumbling angered God, so He sent them more quail than they could consume. But the wrath of God was aroused against the people, and He sent a great plague. Those who were greedy and craving more died from the plague.

The complaints started with the mixed multitude, the Egyptians and others who followed the Hebrews out of Egypt. Many were probably children of Hebrew/Egyptian marriages. They were not part of the inner circle, but rather traveled on the outskirts of the camp.

The children of Israel listened to the complaints of the mixed multitude and added their own. They gathered at Moses’s tent to share their dissatisfaction.

Then we get to chapter 12 which opens with, “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.” (ESV)

Bad attitudes are contagious. In this case, it started with the refuges and worked its way throughout the multitude, ending with Miriam and Aaron, who should have known better. They could have brought encouragement to the crowd. Instead, they added to the dissension.

May we stand strong in the midst of discord and bring joy rather than sorrow to those around us.

Read about complaining women in Scripture: Numbers 11, 12:1

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