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Holman Bible Dictionary


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The Hebrew term translated “quail” in the OT is found only in connection with God's provision of food for Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13 ; Numbers 11:31-32 ; Psalm 105:40 ). Probably the quails that visited the Hebrew camp were a migrating flock. Enormous numbers of quails migrate north during the spring after wintering in Africa. When the fatigued birds stop to rest, they can be caught easily. In God's timing the birds came to provide for the needs of His people.

The quails mentioned in the OT differ from the North American bobwhite quails. Besides being migratory, the quails of the Bible are mottled brown in color and are smaller than the bobwhite quails. The quails mentioned in the OT have short wings and weak powers of flight.

Janice Meier

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Quail'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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