11:31 Now a wind69 went out70 from the Lord and brought quail71 from the sea, and let them fall72 near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet73 high on the surface of the ground.
sn The irony in this chapter is expressed in part by the use of the word רוּחַ (ruakh). In the last episode it clearly meant the Spirit of the Lord that empowered the men for their spiritual service. But here the word is “wind.” Both the spiritual service and the judgment come from God.
sn The “quail” ordinarily cross the Sinai at various times of the year, but what is described here is not the natural phenomenon. Biblical scholars looking for natural explanations usually note that these birds fly at a low height and can be swatted down easily. But the description here is more of a supernatural supply and provision. See J. Gray, “The Desert Sojourn of the Hebrews and the Sinai Horeb Tradition,” VT 4 (1954): 148–54.
tn Or “left them fluttering.”
tn Heb “two cubits.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about eighteen inches (45 cm) in length.