15 And Moses was exceeding indignant, and said to the Lord, Do thou take no heed to their sacrifice: I have not taken away the desire of any one of them, neither have I hurt any one of them.This is quite clearly a corruption of חמוד for חמור. Surely donkey was the original, though I tried to work in חמוד into another midrash which developed.
Today it struck me that it would be worthwhile to check out what the Septuagint has for Shmuel I perek 12. After all, the haftarah is attached to that parsha specifically because of Shmuel echoing Moshe's complaint. And I would have something interesting to report whether they messed up this other text or not.
In Shmuel I 12, we have:
3 Behold, here am I, answer against me before the Lord and before his anointed: whose calf have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom of you have I oppressed? or from whose hand have I taken a bribe, even to a sandal? bear witness against me, and I will make restitution to you
Now, there is most certainly an influence between Shmuel's speech and Moshe's speech. And this borrowing must have happened fairly early. That is, Shmuel knew what Moshe said! It stands to reason that this text in Bamidbar stood there fairly early; and this would perhaps add to the evidence that the text before the translator of the Septuagint was corrupted. (It would have been interesting if both had חמוד.) Not that I think we really need further evidence.