THE DAY THE QUAIL CAME!
Some claim that the 15th day of the second month, as recorded in the 16th chapter of
Exodus, was a Sabbath; and that it was the day the quail came. They base their claim on
at least four speculations. 1) That the 15th was a Sabbath 2) That the 15th was the day
the quail came 3) That manna fell for six days the first week it was given, and 4) That the
week following the 15th was the first week the manna fell. However, there is strong
doubt that the 15th day of the second month was a Sabbath, or that it was the day the
quail came. After all, they had just arrived at Sinai and would have been involved in
setting up their tents and getting settled in. The word <and> that begins verse two can
be translated with several different English words – and, so, then, when, now, or, but,
that, and many others. The context will show that <now> would have been a better
choice of words to begin this sentence, as some time seems to have elapsed after the 15th
before this incident took place.
Exodus 16.1 "And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came
to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month
after they departed from the land of Egypt."
2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the
If the 15th of the second month was a Sabbath, how do we reconcile that THEY WERE
TRAVELING ON THIS 15TH DAY OF THE MONTH! "And they journeyed...and all
the congregation...came to the wilderness of Sin...on the fifteenth day of the second
month." This information clearly shows that the Israelites arrived on the 15th day of the
second month – in other words, they were traveling on that day! The Israelites did not
travel on the Sabbath – God would not have condoned any travel on the Sabbath day.
However, regardless of whether the Israelites traveled on the Sabbath day, there is no
proof that the quail came on the 15th day of the second month.
Exodus 16:29 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
The Israelites knew when the seventh day came. God did not give them the manna to see
if they could count to seven. Most of us today would mess up after about the 3rd day if
we did not have a calendar! The test was, with the miraculous reminder that no manna
had fallen on the 7th day, would they still disobey God, and work on the Sabbath. If you
carefully read Exodus 16:1-13, you will note the Israelites’ arrival in the wilderness of Sin
on the 15th day of the second month. Next, you will note the uprising of the Israelites,
and God's response from verse 2 through verse 12. However, the context indicates that
verse 13 begins a new paragraph. Most translations – all of the 14 translations the author
uses for research – including the KJV, begin verse 13 with a new paragraph. There is a
natural break between verses 12 and 13. God’s determination to give the Israelites meat
and bread ended with verse 12. Verse 13: “Now it came to be…” that God fulfilled His
promise. Verse 13 is a general statement of God’s fulfilled promise, not a calendar-day
explanation of when the event took place.
The implication is that the quail did not come only one time, but at least several times; if
not regularly. The quail came "between the two evenings" and the manna came in the
morning. The bread could have very well come first before the quail came; this detail is
not given. Only the time of the day is specified, not which day. How much time took
place between verse 1 and verse 2, and how much time took place between verse 12 and
verse 13, we do not know. Whether the manna fell 6 days the first week, we do not
know; which day the quail came, we do not know. There are too many unknowns, and not
enough details given to answer these questions. The important thing to realize is that we
cannot base our understanding of "between the two evenings" on the vagueness of time
in these Scriptures.
Exodus 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even
(between the two evenings) 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.
13 And it came to pass (Now it came to be), that at even (between the two evenings – implied
because of verse 12) the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay
round about the host.
In the Hebrew, Exodus 16:12, uses the term, "between the evenings" for when the
Israelites would eat flesh. This is the evening of noon, or afternoon. Sometime between
noon and sunset, the quail would come into the camp of Israel. Verse 13 uses the general
term “in the evening” as a reference to “between the evenings” in the previous verse.