The Quail
their camp, so that they had as many as they wanted for food. At another time, when
were back in Egypt, where they could have "fish, and melons, and cucumbers," as they
said. Then God saw fit to send them quails again, though he was very much displeased
with their wickedness; so much so that he sent a dreadful sickness among them, of
which many died. The Bible says, "And there went forth a wind from
the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a
day's journey on this side, and a day's journey on the other side, round about the
camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. And the people stood
up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails;
he that gathered least, gathered ten homers; and they spread them all abroad for
themselves round about the camp."
The number of these quails was very wonderful. They covered the ground all around
the camp, and as far every way as a person could go in a "day's journey," by which
they meant twenty miles or more. And they not only covered all that ground, but were
piled upon each other, to the height of more than a yard. The people gathered great
quantities of them; probably they intended to dry a part, which is still a custom in
those hot and sandy countries. "He that gathered least," we read, "gathered ten
homers." A homer was about eight bushels, or as much as an donkey could carry at a
load; and ten homers, of course, was about eighty bushels. You see how eager the
people were to get them, for they could not even sleep at night through fear that they
should not have as many as they wanted; so they stood up to gather them "all that
day, and all that night, and all the next day."
These things are several times spoken of in other parts of the Bible, especially in the
78th Psalm. It is there said, "He rained flesh upon them as dust, and feathered fowls
like as the sand of the sea. And he let it fall in the midst of the camp, round about
their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled, for he gave them their own
desire; but while the meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them."
Perhaps it was not wrong for the children of Israel to ask for meat to eat, but God was
displeased with them for their complaining spirit notwithstanding all his goodness; and
although he gave them what they asked, it proved to be only a curse to them. This
may teach us to be grateful for the thousand blessings that God has given us, and
when we ask any thing from him, to be willing that he should deny us if he sees best.