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Food from the Sky, and Water from a Rock
Shortly after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they got worried because there were so many people and very little food and water left.  Even though they had not physically gotten hungry or thirsty yet they saw that they were getting low.  They started complaining and Moses took those complaints to God.

We all know that God gave those people water from a rock and food from the sky, but have you ever given much thought as to the quantity of food and water that would have been?  Let's take a look.

Exodus 12:37 & 38 says, "Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock."

It is easy to see from verse 37 that if there were 600,000 men (& women?), plus children this could easily become 2,000,000 people.  Verse 38 says that there was also a "mixed multitude" that went up with them.  Let's assume that there were a total of 2,500,000 people.  Let's also assume that the "great deal of livestock" was only 2 animals for each person, or 5,000,000 animals.

Let's pretend that all of this food and water had to be delivered by freight train, but only because it will help us see God's power and grace better.  What length of train are you thinking?


  2,500,000  people
  x   8.03  lbs of food per person per day
  20,065,500  total lbs of food per day
   divided by 2000  lbs in a ton
  10,033  tons of food
  divided by 50  tons in the typical boxcar
  200.655  boxcars
  50  feet (average boxcar length)
  1.9  miles of boxcars


  2,500,000  people units
  5,000,000  animal units
  7,500,000  total units conservatively needing water
  5  gallons per unit per day
  37,500,000  total gallons of water needed per day
    (1.5 million gallons/hour)
  20,000  gallons/railroad tanker (most tankers seen in the USA are 10-30,000 gallons)
  1875  railroad tankers
  75  feet long (each tanker's length)
  140,625  feet in total length (of train)
  5,280  feet in a mile
  26.63  miles of water-filled tankers
  1.9  miles of manna-filled boxcars
  28.53  miles of train to deliver food and water every day!

As you can see above, this train would be over 28 miles long every day.  Remember too that the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years (365 days x 40 years=14,600 days x 28.53 miles of train=416,538 miles of food and water).   That's almost half a million miles of train.

For another reference point, here is what just 1 million gallons of water per hour looks like, and they received at least 1.5 million gallons per hour.

Then there was a time when the people complained that they did not have "flesh" to eat, and so God sent them quail.  The Bible tells us that each person gathered at least 10 "homers" (Numbers 11:32), which is equivalent to about 60-80 bushels of quail.  Let's see what length of train (filled up with quail) we would end up with if we used 70 bushels as the dry weight:


  70 bushels per person
  1.244 cubic feet per bushel
  87.08 total cubic feet of quail per person
  2,500,000 people
  217,700,000 total cubic feet of quail for the camp
  5,238 cubic feet in a typical 50' boxcar
  41,561.66 boxcars filled with quail
  50 foot boxcar length (average)
  2,078,083.24 total length in feet (of the train)
  5,280 feet in a mile
  393.58 miles (total length of train filled with quail)

Psalm 105:40 says, "They asked, and he brought them quail, he fed them well with the bread of heaven."
Moses believed in God, he asked and God took care of these things for him.  Again, this was not something Moses did, but something God did.  It was God's grace in action!

Updated: Feb 21, 2017