Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Numbers 11:32

The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   Gluttony;   Kibroth-Hattaavah;   Measure;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Prayer;   Quail;   Sanitation;   Trouble;   Thompson Chain Reference - Food;   Food, Physical-Spiritual;   Gluttony;   Homer;   Self-Indulgence;   Self-Indulgence-Self-Denial;   Victuals;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Birds;   Desert, Journey of Israel through the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Manna;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Birds;   Manna;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Day;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Discontent;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Homer;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Quail;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Birds;   Meat;   Quail;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Moses;   Numbers, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Faith ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Quail,;   Wanderings of the Israelites;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Quails;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Weights and Measures;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Elders;   Quail;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - On to Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Day and Night;   Quail;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Vegetarianism;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The people stood up, etc. - While these immense flocks were flying at this short distance from the ground, fatigued with the strong wind and the distance they had come, they were easily taken by the people; and as various flocks continued to succeed each other for two days and a night, enough for a month's provision might be collected in that time. If the quails had fallen about the tents, there was no need to have stood up two days and a night in gathering them; but if they were on the wing, as the text seems to suppose, it was necessary for them to use dispatch, and avail themselves of the passing of these birds whilst it continued. See Harmer, and see the note on Exodus 16:13.

And they spread them all abroad - Maillet observes that birds of all kinds come to Egypt for refuge from the cold of a northern winter; and that the people catch them, pluck, and bury them in the burning sand for a few minutes, and thus prepare them for use. This is probably what is meant by spreading them all abroad round the camp. Some authors think that the word שלוים salvim, rendered quails in our translation, should be rendered locusts. There is no need of this conjecture; all difficulties are easily resolved without it. The reader is particularly referred to the note on Exodus 16:13; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/numbers-11.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the people stood up all that day,.... The day on which they fell in the morning:

and all that night; the night following:

and all the next day; after that, even the space of thirty six hours:

and they gathered the quails; not took them flying, as the Jewish writers suggest, before observed, but from the earth where they fell, in order to lay them up as a provision for time to come; or otherwise, had they taken them only for present use, they would not have been so long in gathering them; but they seemed greedy of them, and therefore took up all they could, or knew what to do with:

he that gathered least gathered ten homers; or so many ass loads, as some interpret it; the words for an ass and an homer being near the same: an homer in measure is the same with the "cor", and held ten ephahs; and, according to Bishop CumberlandF25Of Scripture Weights, &c. p. 86. , contained seventy five wine gallons, seven pints, and somewhat more, which must hold a vast quantity of quails; though not the measure, but the number of fowls, is commonly given. Some render the word "heaps", as in Exodus 8:14; and is supposed better to agree with locusts; but then it will be difficult to assign a reason why the number of them should be given, since heaps might be greater or lesser:

and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp; according to some, they were taken alive, and put into cages, which were hung round the camp, so that all places were full of them, in which they were kept, and used as they wanted them; but they seem rather, be they what they will, to be dead, and to be spread about to be dried in the sun, being salted; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders the word, "and they dried them"F26So the word is used in Misn. Sabbat, c. 22. sect. 4. for spreading things in the sun to dry them. ; and agrees both with quails, which, according to some writersF1Athenaeus, Hipparchus, & Hesychius apud Bochart, Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 15. col. 107. , used to be salted for food for time to come; and with locusts, on which the inhabitants of some parts of Ethiopia always lived, as PlinyF2Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 30. says, being hardened in smoke, and with salt, and was their food for the year round. And this custom was used in Arabia; for Leo AfricanusF3Descriptio Africae, l. 9. p. 769. relates, that the people of Arabia Deserta, and of Lybia, reckon the coming of the locusts an happy omen; for either boiled, or dried with the sun, they beat them into meal (or powder) and eat them: and of the Nasamones, a people in Africa, it is saidF4Herodot. Melpomene, sive, l. 4. c. 172. , that they hunt locusts, and dry them in the sun, and grind them, and then, sprinkling milk upon them, sup them up.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/numbers-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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 s homers: and they spread [them] all abroad for themselves round about the camp.

(s) Of Homer, read (Leviticus 27:16) also it signifies a heap, as in (Exodus 8:14) ; (Judges 15:16).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/numbers-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

people stood up — rose up in eager haste - some at one time, others at another; some, perhaps through avidity, both day and night.

ten homers — ten asses‘ loads; or, “homers” may be used indefinitely (as in Exodus 8:14; Judges 15:16); and “ten” for many: so that the phrase “ten homers” is equivalent to “great heaps.” The collectors were probably one or two from each family; and, being distrustful of God‘s goodness, they gathered not for immediate consumption only, but for future use. In eastern and southern seas, innumerable quails are often seen, which, when weary, fall down, covering every spot on the deck and rigging of vessels; and in Egypt they come in such myriads that the people knock them down with sticks.

spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp — salted and dried them for future use, by the simple process to which they had been accustomed in Egypt.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/numbers-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Stood up — Or rather rose up, which word is often used for beginning to do any business.

All that night — Some at one time, and some at the other, and some, through greediness or diffidence, at both times.

Ten homers — That is, ten ass loads: which if it seem incredible, you must consider, 1. That the gatherers here were not all the people, which could not be without great inconveniences, but some on the behalf of all, while the rest were exercised about other necessary things. So the meaning is not, that every Israelite had so much for his share, but that every collector gathered so much for the family, or others by whom he was intrusted2. That the people did not gather for their present use only, but for a good while to come, and being greedy and distrustful of God's goodness, it is not strange if they gathered much more than they needed3. That the word, rendered homers, may signify heaps, as it doth, Exodus 8:14; Judges 15:16; Habakkuk 3:15, and ten, is often put for many, and so the sense is, that every one gathered several heaps. If yet the number seems incredible, it must be farther known, 4. That Heathen and other authors affirm, in those eastern and southern countries quails are innumerable, so that in one part of Italy, within the compass of five miles, there were taken about an hundred thousand of them every day for a month together. And Atheneus relates, that in Egypt, a country prodigiously populous, they were in such plenty, that all those vast numbers of people could not consume them, but were forced to salt and keep them for future use.

They spread them — That so they might dry, salt and preserve them for future use, according to what they had seen in Egypt.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/numbers-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 11:32 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.

Ver. 32. And they spread them.] They fed without fear, [ 1:12] though foretold they should pay dear for these murdering morsels; [Numbers 11:20] that which they ate being sauced, and that which they drank being spiced, with the bitter wrath of God. [Job 20:23]

They gathered the quails.] Which they might the more easily do, if that be true which some (a) write, that the Arabian Gulf breedeth great store of quails, which fly low usually, so as they may easily be taken up with one’s hand.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/numbers-11.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Stood up, or rather rose up, which word is oft used for attempting or beginning to do any business.

All night; some at one time, and some at the other, and some, through their greediness or diffidence, at both times.

Ten homers, i.e. ten ass loads; which if it seem incredible, you must consider,

1. That the gatherers here were not all the people, which could not be without great confusion and other inconveniences; but some on the behalf of all, possibly one for each family, or the like, while the rest were exercised about other necessary things. So the meaning is not that every Israelite had so much for his share, but that every collector gathered so much for the family or others by whom he was intrusted.

2. That the people did not gather for their present use only, but for a good while to come, as we shall see; and being greedy and distrustful of God’s goodness, it is not strange if they gathered much more than they needed.

3. That the word rendered homers may signify heaps, as it doth Exodus 8:14 Jude 15:16 Habakkuk 3:15, and ten is oft put for many; and so the sense is, that every one gathered several heaps. If yet the number seems incredible, it must be further known,

4. That heathen and other authors affirm, that in those eastern and southern countries quails are innumerable, so that in one part of Italy, within the compass of five miles, there were taken about a hundred thousand of them every day for a month together; and that sometimes they fly so thick over the sea, that being weary they fall into ships, sometimes in such numbers that they sink them with their weight, as Varro and Solinus affirm. And Athenaeus relates, that in Egypt, a country prodigiously populous, as all agree, they were in such plenty, that all those vast numbers of people could not consume them, but were forced to salt and keep them for their future use. So that there is no need at all that God should create innumerable quails for this purpose; which yet if it were affirmed he did, atheists and antiscripturists have no occasion of triumph, since they must either own the creation of the world, which is a far greater miracle, or ascribe the production of the world to a casual jumble of atoms, which is more senseless and ridiculous than all the fables of the poets.

Spread them all abroad, that so they may dry them, and salt them, and preserve them for their future use, according to what they had seen and learned in Egypt.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/numbers-11.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 11:32. All that night and all next day — Some at the one time, and some at the other, and some, through greediness or diffidence, at both times. Ten homers — That is, ten ass-loads: which, if it seem incredible, consider, 1st, That the gatherers here were not all the people, which could not be without great inconvenience, but some on the behalf of all, while the rest were exercised about other necessary things. Therefore, the meaning is not, that every Israelite had so much for his share, but that every collector gathered so much for the family or others by whom he was appointed. 2d, That the people did not gather for their present use only, but for a good while to come; and being distrustful of God’s goodness, it is not strange if they gathered much more than they needed. 3d, That the word rendered homers, may signify heaps, as it doth Exodus 8:14; 15:16;

Habakkuk 3:15; and ten is often put for many, and so the sense is, that every one gathered several heaps. If yet the number seem incredible, it must be further known, 4th, That heathen and other authors affirm, in those eastern and southern countries, quails are innumerable, so that in one part of Italy, within the compass of five miles, there were taken about a hundred thousand of them every day for a month together. And Athenæus relates, that in Egypt, a country prodigiously populous, they were in such plenty, that all those vast numbers of people could not consume them, but were forced to salt and keep them for future use. They spread them — That so they might dry, salt, and preserve them for future use, according to what they had seen in Egypt.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/numbers-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Cores. Hebrew, "Chomarim," each of contained 100 gomers. One gomer was the daily allowance of manna for each person, and of course their must have been sufficient quails for one hundred days. But Moses tells us that each one collected at least ten times that quantity, or as much has he could eat for 1,000 days. Bochart therefore supposes, that only each family, of ten people, gathered so much: or the Hebrew should be rendered heaps, as the core, or chomer, is not a proper measure for birds, but for corn and liquors. The Septuagint, Syriac, &c., have "heaps." We need not have recourse to a new creation of these birds, as their numbers are very surprising. (Pliny, [Natural History?] x. 23.) In Italy above 100,000 have been caught in one day, within the space of 5,000 paces. (Blond.) The Psalmist compares the number brought on this occasion, to the dust, or to the sand of the sea-shore, Psalm lxxvii. 27. --- Dried them in the sun, having first salted them, as the Egyptians did. (Calmet) (Athenæus.) --- Many quails are found in Egypt, and around the Arabian Gulf. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] iii.) (Du Hamel)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/numbers-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

homers. See Leviticus 27:16, and App-51.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/numbers-11.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(32) Ten homers.—The homer, which was equal to ten ephahs, or a hundred omers, appears to have contained between five and six bushels, according to the Rabbinists, but according to Josephus about double that quantity.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/numbers-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
homers
Exodus 16:36; Ezekiel 45:11
Reciprocal: Psalm 78:27 - He rained

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 11:32". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-11.html.