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Food from the Sky & 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 times 8.03 pounds of food per person per day=20,065,500 total pounds of food per day.

20,065,500 divided by 2000 (pounds in a ton)=10,033 tons of food per day.

10,033 divided by 50 (number of tons in a typical boxcar)=200.655 boxcars.

200.655 times 50 feet (average length of a boxcar)=1.9 MILES of train per day just for the people.



2,500,000 people + 5,000,000 animals=7,500,000 total "units" needing water to drink (very conservative number).

7,500,000 people/animals times 5 gallons of water per day (conservative estimate)=37,500,000 total gallons of water needed per day.

37,500,000 divided by 24 hours in a day=1,500,000 gallons of water needed every hour.

1,500,000 divided by 20,000 gallons in the average USA tanker (most tankers seen in the USA are 10-30,000 gallons)=1875 tankers.

1875 divided by 75 feet per tanker=140,625 feet in total length of train.

140,625 divided by 5,280 feet in a mile=26.63 miles of water-filled tankers.


26.63 miles of water, plus 1.9 miles of food = 28.53 miles of train to deliver food and water EVERY day.


As you can see above, this train would be over 28.5 miles long every day.  (What would it be like to have to sit and wait at a railroad crossing for a train with over 2,000 cars to rumble by?  Yet God did all of this, and more, without ANYONE having to wait at all!)  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.
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 times 1.244 cubic feet per bushel = 87.08 total cubic feet of quail per person per day.

87.08 times 2.5 million people =217.7 million cubic feet of quail for the entire camp.

217.7 million divided by 5,238 cubic feet in a typical 50' boxcar = 41,561.66 boxcars (50' long)

41,561.66 boxcars divided by 50 feet = 2,078,083.24 feet (length of train).

2,078,083.24 divided by 5,280 feet per mile = 393.58 miles 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 much more than Moses asked for!  It was God's grace in action! 

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