The negativity returns in complaints about how boring the manna is. They don’t like God’s catering. By the end of the chapter they will attribute a plague illness to God’s judgement on this attitude.
But before that God says “you want meat, I’ll give you meat” and more quails than they know what to do with arrive. The complainers barely start to consume the quail before the plague hits and their time has come.
One of those harsh things. Their discontent has built from a rosy and selective memory of their slavery “back in Egypt we had corn and leeks etc”
The transaction is a fascinating picture of Moses’ relationship with God. He feels the burden of representing them to god and god to them. He’s exhausted, and god gives him a break. He appoints 70 elders to temporarily give one off prophesy to the people… prophesy being telling the truth to the people, presumably about how ungrateful and unfaithful their attitude is being.
2 of the elders are not there at the commissioning and prophesy anyway, which seems to give the impression that they have a special blessing not being surrogates for Moses. He dismisses concern for that. He’s just happy that God’s truth is told, and not concerned for his own credit or glory.
They said he was a very humble man. Remember, he had trouble speaking to the Pharaoh. He also eschewed the wealth he was adopted into in solidarity with the people. Not greedy, not lauding over them.
This chapter is a story of small minded self absorbed faithlessness and humble, god focussed faithfulness. In the concrete and literal manner of the old testament, one is rewarded and one punished by god.