God sometimes sent quails to the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness. Once they
complained because they had no meat to eat, pretty soon after God had saved them from the
hand of Pharaoh; and then he brought a great many quails into their camp, so that they had as
many as they wanted for food. At another time, when they were on their journey, these
ungrateful people complained again, and wished they 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 ass
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.
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