Numbers 11: The Israelites Driven by Their Appetites

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 65


Consider how the following questions apply to the Israelites as you read Numbers 11: How do you feel when you do something good for another person and he or she complains in response? What would happen if the Lord gave you everything you asked for, without any consideration of whether or not what you asked for was good for you?

Understanding the Scriptures

Numbers 11

Kindled (vv. 1, 10, 33)Stirred up 
Uttermost (v. 1)Outer 
Quenched (v. 2)Put out 
Mixt multitude (v. 4)Non-Israelites 
Fell a lusting (v. 4)Felt strong desires to satisfy their appetites (in this case, desire for food other than manna) 
Flesh (vv. 4, 13, 18, 21, 33)Meat 
Our soul is dried away (v. 6)We have lost our appetite (for manna) 
Coriander (v. 7)A plant related to parsley 
Bdellium (v. 7)Resin, a waxy substance 
Mortar (v. 8)Bowl-like container 
As the taste of fresh oil (v. 8)Like the taste of something cooked in oil 
Afflicted (v. 11)Troubled 
Conceived, begotten (v. 12)Given birth to 
Swarest (v. 12)Promised 
Bear (vv. 14, 17)Carry 
Thus (v. 15)In this way 
Wretchedness (v. 15)Extreme unhappiness 
Against (v. 18)In preparation for 
Loathsome (v. 20)Sickening 
Despised (v. 20)Turned away from, shown no appreciation for 
Footmen (v. 21)Men over twenty years old who can be soldiers 
Suffice (v. 22)Fill, satisfy 
Enviest thou (v. 29)Are you jealous 
Two cubits (v. 31)Approximately three feet (one meter) 
Ten homers (v. 32)Approximately three liters 
Ere (v. 33)Before 
Lusted (v. 34)To seek after things having to do with bodily appetites 

Numbers 11:29Moses Wished That All the People Were Prophets

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 149).

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–E) as you study Numbers 11.

Activity A iconSome Complaints and Criticisms Today

Imagine you felt the way the Israelites did in Numbers 11:1–9. Write a note of complaint to Moses that reflects what you think the people were saying at the time.

Activity B iconWrite a Response

Use what Moses said in Numbers 11:10–15 and what you have learned about this journey so far and write how you might respond to the Israelites’ complaint if you were their leader.

Activity C iconWhat Happens When We Complain?

Look at Numbers 11:1–4 and Jude 1:14–16 and tell what eventually happens to people who complain or murmur against the Lord and His servants. Notice in Numbers 11:20 what the Lord said the children of Israel were really doing when they complained against Moses.

Activity D iconFind Important Words

Find what you think are three important words or phrases that describe what the seventy men did and why they were called in response to Moses’ discouragement.

Activity E iconWhat Is the Lesson?

Read Galatians 5:16–17 and tell how these verses express what could be considered the main idea of Numbers 11. Think about the meaning of the word lust and what the Lord did to the seventy elders in response to the situation.