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Complaints: Numbers 11–12

Despite everything the people had seen God do, they didn’t cope with the hardship of desert life:

Numbers 11:1-2 Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people screamed to Moses for help, and when he prayed to the Lord, the fire stopped.

So they screamed to Moses for help, not God. Even so, the consequence wasn’t enough, and having not yet learned it would be better not to complain, they complained more.

It’s almost a parody of complain–consequence–complain–consequence (and so on). If it were a competition, God would have won every round.

It ends, here, with so much quail that people started to get sick on it. In another demonstration of the need to be careful what you ask for, God sent meat to those who wanted meat and many ended up choking on it.

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