[b-hebrew] Miracle of the Quail article (Nu 11:31-35)
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Tue Jun 3 05:45:17 EDT 2003
Karl, I think your response was actually for me not for Jim. So I will
respond strictly on the meaning of the Hebrew text.
In Numbers 11:33 I read (NIV) "while the meat was still between their teeth
and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the
people, and he struck them with a severe plague" as a result of which graves
were required i.e. people died!
In Psalm 78:29-31 I read "They ate till they had had more than enough, //
for he had given them what they craved. // 30 But before they turned from
the food they craved, // even while it was still in their mouths, // 31
God's anger rose against them; // he put to death [HRG] the sturdiest [or
the fat ones - MISHMAN] among them, // cutting down [KR( hiphil] the young
men [BAXUWR] of Israel."
Now perhaps "killed in seconds" was an exaggeration. It seems that (in the
account as narrated, leaving aside any questions of historicity) the people
were able to eat a large amount of quail meat. But they fell sick while they
were still eating, so within minutes rather than hours, and many of them
died though perhaps some time later.
KR( hiphil certainly doesn't necessarily imply death - although it may do in
Ps 17:13, 18:40, and certainly does in the qal at Jdg 5:27, 2Ki 9:24, Isa
10:4, 65:12, perhaps also Ps 20:9. But here it is used in parallel with HRG
which does imply death.
MISHMAN seems to imply the sturdiness of warriors rather than the obesity of
gluttons, and especially in parallel with BAXUWR who were also warriors.
Yes, on this occasion all were overeating. But I don't think the poetic
parallelism and imagery allows us to make a contrast here between gluttons
who died and others who were only sick.
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-
> bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Karl Randolph
> Sent: 03 June 2003 09:05
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] Miracle of the Quail article (Nu 11:31-35)
> Dear Jim:
> Where does it say that eating the quail killed strong men within seconds?
> Psalm 78 says that the fat ones were killed, presumably those who ate
> their fill and continued to stuff themselves, while the chosen ones
> (often used for the strong) he caused to crouch (which they would do to
> retch out the poison). Did the chosen ones die, or were they just sick?
> Likewise the exceedingly great plague in Numbers did not necessarily kill
> within seconds, rather that the plague struck them while they were yet
> eating, to die later.
> Is it possible that you read more into the text than what it says?
> Karl W. Randolph.
> > If we assume historicity, at least for the sake of the hypothesis, we
> see a
> > rather different and more coherent picture. The Israelites, having lived
> > Egypt for hundreds of years, would have been well acquainted with quail
> as a
> > food source and would have known well that those arriving from the north
> > autumn are poisonous. But when they came across quail arriving in spring
> > the shores of the southern sea, as the account states, they would have
> > expected them to be edible - and all the more so as they had eaten quail
> > the same time the year before without ill effects, Exodus 16:13 - both
> > dated to the second month, counting the Passover as the first month (Ex
> > 16:1, Num 10:11). So it was a surprise to them that these quail were
> > and so seriously so that they killed strong men within seconds. There
> may be
> > no obvious medical explanation, but none is needed because the
> > is given in the text, the anger of YHWH.
> > Peter Kirk
> > peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
> > http://web.onetel.net.uk/~peterkirk/
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