Numbers 11,1-3 as the Paradigm of a Theology of Rebellion in the Book of Numbers

Author: Łukasz Jędrzejczak


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The wandering of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land is rich in theological motifs. The episode described by the biblical author in Numbers 11,1-3 may constitute the basic form of subsequent descriptions about rebellions in the desert and a summary of more elaborate fragments. It is difficult to establish unambiguously whether this passus was chronologically the first in relation to those others which treat more strictly of Israel’s rebellions against Yahweh. An exegetical analysis of this short episode will help to point to further elements in stories about the Israelites’ revolt against God. The presentation of the components of this episode and their combination with other fragments is aimed primarily at showing the theological thought of the biblical author in relation to speech against God. It seems necessary to raise these many issues in order to sufficiently understand the theories of rebellion constructed by hagiographers in the central part of the Book of Numbers.


rebellion, murmuring, exegesis, narration, desert