It all happens in just two verses.
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: Numbers 11:1aThe Bible doesn't say what the people were complaining about. Spending years wandering around the desert following a cloud around? Not having enough food or water? It doesn't say.
But whatever it was, God heard it. (He had his hearing aid on.)
and the LORD heard it; Numbers 11:1bSo what do you think God did? Did he explain why he was leading them around for 40 years without adequate food or water on a trip that should have taken a few weeks?
Not quite. Here's what he did.
and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. Numbers 11:1cI don't know for sure, of course, but I think God was trying to teach parents a lesson here. When your kids complain, burn them to death. God teaches best when he teaches by example.
Finally the people beg Moses to make God stop. And God stopped burning people to death.
And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. Numbers 11:2Don't you just love happy endings?
(For those keeping score: The Bible doesn't say how many people were burned to death in this episode. So I just guessed 100.)
This killing is highlighted in the Poverty and Justice Bible. Here's how they put it.
One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard them and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.This shows God's sense of justice. If you complain about your troubles, God will burn you to death.
God's next killing: While the flesh was still between their teeth, the Lord smote them with a very great plague