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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Quail

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שלו , Exodus 16:13 ; Numbers 11:31-32 ; Psalms 105:10 ; a bird of the gallinaceous kind. Hasselquist, mentioning the quail of the larger kind, says, "It is of the size of the turtle dove. I have met with it in the wilderness of Palestine, near the shores of the Dead Sea and the Jordan, between Jordan and Jericho, and in the deserts of Arabia Petrea. If the food of the Israelites was a bird, this is certainly it; being so common in the places through which they passed." It is said that God gave quails to his people in the wilderness upon two occasions: first, within a few days after they had passed the Red Sea, Exodus 16:3-13 . The second time as at the encampment at the place called in Hebrew, Kibroth-hataavah, the graves of lust, Numbers 11:32 ; Psalms 105:40 . Both of these happened in the spring, when the quails passed from Asia into Europe.

They are then to be found in great quantities upon the coast of the Red Sea and Mediterranean. God caused a wind to arise that drove them within and about the camp of the Israelites; and it is in this that the miracle consists, that they were brought so seasonably to this place, and in so great number as to furnish food for above a million of persons for more than a month. The Hebrew word shalav signifies "a quail," by the agreement of the ancient interpreters. And the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic languages call them nearly by the same name. The Septuagint, Symmachus, and most of commentators, both ancient and modern, understand it in the same manner; and with them agree Philo, Josephus, Apollinaris, and the rabbins; but Ludolphus has endeavoured to prove that a species of locust is spoken of by Moses. Dr. Shaw answers, that the holy psalmist, in describing this particular food of the Israelites, by calling the animals feathered fowls, entirely confutes this supposition. And it should be recollected, that this miracle was performed in compliance with the wish of the people that they might have flesh to eat.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Quail'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/q/quail.html. 1831-2.

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