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 is the length of the train?
2,500,000 people times 8.03 lbs of food per person per day = 20,065,500 total lbs of food per day.
20,065,500 total lbs of food per day divided by 2000 lbs in a ton = 10,033 tons of food.
10,033 tons of food divided by 50 tons in the typical boxcar = 200.655 boxcars.
200.655 boxcars times 50 feet (average boxcar length) = at least 1.9 miles of boxcars of Manna per day (just for the people)
2,500,000 people + 5,000,000 animals = 7,500,000 total "units" needing water (conservatively)
7,500,000 x 5 gallons of water per "unit" per day = 37,500,000 gallons of water needed every day
37,500,000 gallons of water divided by 24 hours in a day = 1,500,000 gallons of water needed every hour (see the photo below)
20,000 gallons per average railroad tanker (most tankers seen in the USA hold between 10,000 and 30,000 gallons)
37,500,000 gallons of water divided by 20,000 gallons (capacity per average tanker) = 1875 railroad tankers
1875 tankers x 75 feet (each tanker's length) = 140,625 total feet of water filled train
140,625 total feet (length of water-train) divided by 5,280 feet per mile = 26.63 miles of water-filled tankers
TOTAL LENGTH OF TRAIN (EVERY DAY):
1.9 miles long (manna filled train (This is NOT counting whatever the 5,000,000+ animals ate.)
26.63 miles long (water filled train)
28.53 total miles of train filled with food and water
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 a train that is almost half a million miles long, and this is a VERY conservative number!
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 x 1.244 cubic feet per bushel = 87.02 total cubic fee of quail per person
87.08 x 2,500,000 people = 217,700,000 total cubic feet of quail for the camp
217,700,000 divided by 5,238 cubic fee in a typical 50 foot boxcar = 41,561.66 boxcars filled with quail
41561.66 boxcars x 50 feet = 2,078,083.24 total length in feet of this train
2,078,083.24 divided by 5,280 feet per mile = 393.58 miles long (total length of train filled just with quail)
Psalm 105:40 says, "They asked, and he brought them quail, he fed them well with the bread of heaven." (This verse almost makes it sound as if the quail were in addition to the manna, right?)
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!