The Meatless Kingdom | 3
The Meatless Kingdom | 3
In previous studies so far,[*] we’ve looked at Genesis, the book of beginnings, and considered well-known passages that many use to support animal sacrifice and meat eating. It's my belief that this particular study may be the apex on which my conclusions turn, for we'll discover logical, rhetorical questions that render the ideas of animal sacrifice and meat consumption as later inventions of man, not God. It’s already been demonstrated that mainstream interpretations of the “animal skins” worn by Adam and Eve, the alleged ritual-blood sacrifice of Abel, and the apparent “concession” to Noah don’t actually support ritual-animal sacrifice or meat consumption; we’ve already stated that, even if God did give Noah a meat allowance, it must’ve been temporary—and it was a concession; we should agree that concessions aren’t reflections of God’s perfect will. The assumption I'm seeking to disprove in this study is that the Manna and quail were blessings by God and that God sanctions animal killing (sacrifice) and meat consumption.
As we move forward, we’re going to need some brief contextualization. We last looked at Noah and his alleged concession (you’ll understand why I say alleged by the end of this study;) we’re now going to look at the Hebrews’ wandering in the desert and the provision of Quail. Surely this is a crowning proof of God’s blessing upon animal slaying and eating, isn’t it?
Manna and Quail
These are two miracles that stand in stark contrast to one another. Readers are correct in their general reading of this event, as with others in the “Old Testament”: many lessons are to be learned. For those readers who may not think of stories like this as historical events but rather as mere allegorical, moral lessons—even if read allegorically, each lesson is intended to help us consider our thoughts and actions so that we don’t do what the complaining Hebrews did. My thought concerning this event is that at least one important lesson is missed by the average reader, and that’s because many are reading with an assumption.
There are two places in Torah where the event is mentioned. We’re going to go in “Chronological” order through the books, but these events are technically parallel. It just so happens one account provides more detail. In order to be thorough, we’re going to include as much of the texts as we need.
Here’s the event as recorded in Exodus 16:1-36; all pertinent information and details will be underlined:
And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD. And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings. And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day. And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations. As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.
In this account, we see several things that we must keep in remembrance in order to learn what the lesson is. From this account we see the following:
- The company out of Egypt is complaining; they remember all the wonderful food they had in Egypt, and they accuse Moses of leading them into the desert to die of hunger.
- God is wroth with them for their complaints, so he says he’ll provide flesh (quail) and bread (“Manna”). God does this for two primary reasons: 1) to show them He is God who delivered them; 2) to test their obedience to His commandments.
- The company is given specific instructions, but they fail twice. 1) they were commanded to gather so that nothing remained, but they failed; 2) they were commanded not to gather on Sabbath, but there were people who did.
We see here that these people are ungrateful, lustful, and disobedient. So far, though God has seemingly provided flesh to eat to satisfy their lust, they’re still undetermined to actually follow God’s commandments. Keep these points and this conclusion in mind as we look at the other account of the same exact event.
Here’s the event as recorded in Numbers 11:1-15 and :
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them. And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
So far, the accounts appear to be similar, but they really aren’t; this account in Numbers is far more accurately detailed. It gives us the realty that from the moment they left Egypt until this point, the people of God hadn’t been eating flesh but rather Manna (bread) God had sent from heaven. If one were to only read the account in Exodus, or were only vaguely familiar with the story, one wouldn’t know this. However, it’s clear that at first, they ate only Manna. This is clear from the following verses: “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?” (v. 4), “But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes,” (v. 6), and “Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat” (v. 13). It should be clear to an unbiased reader that these people hadn’t been eating flesh, otherwise they wouldn’t have lusted or complained for it. Moses, too, tells us as much when he says “Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people?”
The next scene is an appointment of elders so that Moses doesn’t feel alone in his burden of shepherding this complaining, ungrateful, lustful, and disobedient troop. Next, we see more interesting developments concerning the “Quail and Manna” issue at hand. We read,
And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. 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. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.
Here, like in Exodus, God has provided the people with the quail in a seeming answer to prayer (really, their complaints). In fact, he provided so much quail, there were quail for a day’s journey—two cubits high—in every direction around their encampment. In verses 19 and 20, Yahweh says this to Moses: “Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” God had provided enough meat to last one month! Curious as I am, I wanted to know what 10 Homers is equivalent to because it says those who “gathered least” gathered at least that much. I was shocked to learn that, “If we do a bit of math we see that 10 homers is equal to about 220,000cm3, and at 0.98gm/cm3 that works out to about 1900 birds, weighing about 475 pounds.” They wanted meat, and they got it! This would be every meat-eating Evangelicals’ dream (only, they’d probably hope for pork…). Though this seems to be a wonderful blessing, the next detail is startling: “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.” The word “ere” means “before in time,” meaning that before they could even chew, God sent a plague upon them for their lust. Is this at all similar to the event as recorded in Exodus? Hardly. In numbers, God first sends a fire to scorch the complainers; then he sends an over-abundance of quail and sends a plague while they’re preparing to chew it. This is hardly the blessing we’re told to believe it is! Indeed, as I already noted, “These are two miracles that stand in stark contrast to one another.” The manna (bread) was a blessing; the quail (flesh) was a curse. We need no further detail.
In our conclusion, I’ll lay out a few observations and ask some questions you may or may not have considered before or during this study. Did you notice how dissimilar the accounts are? The second account provides even greater detail than the first; it’s almost as if the Exodus account is doctored to help hide the fact God was wroth with the people, not only for their complaints, but for eating the meat altogether—remember, we’re to rest in the will of God, not the concessions. This is possible in light of the “Documentary Hypothesis” concerning Biblical authorship. You’re probably curious about the Passover. After all, didn’t the Hebrews need to kill a lamb, smear its blood on their door posts, and then eat the flesh before this event? My conclusion, after reading the Manna and Quail event, is that it’s unlikely the Passover happened how we think or for the reasons we’re told. But here are some questions: would it make sense to have the people eat a lamb before an exodus and then get upset at them for wanting flesh during the same exodus? In Exodus 12:38, it says, “And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” The Hebrews spoiled the Egyptians, taking all that was required for the alleged sacrifices they had to make to Yah; this mixed multitude included flocks, herds, and very much cattle. Why were they anxious and lustful for meat meat to consume in addition to the Manna, fearing starvation and death, when they’re surrounded by meat? Why would these people not be eating the meat if, according to the mainstream understanding, they were already accustomed to God’s supposed tolerance and blessing of meat consumption? That’s a good question, and it’s a big “if”. It seems to me that this particular account in Numbers was preserved by God in order to show his discerning people that he never taught meat consumption, never tolerated it, and that the scribes have, indeed, doctored texts to support their sacrificial system and diet—a system and diet that’s factually and demonstrably pagan in origin.
 Exodus 16:1-36, KJV
 Numbers 11:1-14; 31-35, KJV