Rabu, 30 Maret 2016

Reconciling the Quran with the Bible: A case study - The Quails Story

One of the doublets in the Bible that it is difficult to compromise is the story of quails in Exodus 16: 8, 12-13 and in Numbers 11. Were the quails sent down to the children of Israel at the same time as manna as stated in Exodus 16, or were the manna sent down first and then some time later the children of Israel asked God for meat and then God sent down the quails for them as stated in Numbers 11?

After reading some verses in the Bible and in the Quran, I believe that there were actually three stories of the children of Israel's complaint regarding the bread, the meat, and the cucumbers etc.

At first, the Israelites asked God for bread or meat (Psalms 78:20 - ESV), and then God sent down the manna [only] for them without the quails (Exodus 16: 4-5, 14-35).

Secondly, the Israelites were not satisfied with manna alone, and they asked God for meat (Numbers 11:4), and then God sent down the quails for them for a month (Numbers 11:18-20, 31-32). It seems that when God sent down the quails, the Israelites didn't get the manna anymore as indicated in Numbers 11:31-32 that the Israelites gathered the quails all day long that day and all the next day. And he who gathered the least gathered ten homers, which exceeds the quota of their daily manna. I assume that this time the manna was no longer needed.

At last, it seems that the Israelites were still not satisfied (Psalms 78:30), and they got bored with the only food that they have (Numbers 21:5), that is the quails, not the manna, and they could not stand with it (QS 2:61), and even they became loathsome to them as indicated in Numbers 11: 20 and 21:5, and they were yearning for the cucumbers, the onions, and the garlic (Numbers 11: 6, QS 2:61).
I don't know about the customs in the western countries, but in my country it is very common to eat quail with cucumbers, lentils, onions, and garlic.
It was the time when God got angry with them and punish them (Numbers 11: 33, Psalms 78:31, QS 2:61) since the Israelites were asking for food from the earth of a lesser quality as a substitute for high quality food from the heaven (QS 2:61).

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