Did You Know?
Why did God choose quail to feed the Israelites in the wilderness?
Quail are small birds, about 7 inches (18 cm) in length and weighing about 3.5 ounces (100 g). They breed in many parts of western Asia and Europe. Being migratory birds, they winter in North Africa and Arabia. During their seasonal passage, vast flocks traverse the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and fly over the Sinai Peninsula.
According to The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, quail “fly rapidly and well, and take advantage of the wind; but if the wind changes its course, or the birds become exhausted from long flight, the whole immense flock is apt to fall to the ground, where the birds lie stunned.” Before continuing their migration, they have to rest on the ground for a day or two, thus becoming easy catch for hunters. In the early 20th century, Egypt was exporting some three million quail annually for food.
Both times that the Israelites fed on quail were in the spring. Although quail regularly flew over the Sinai area during that time, it was Jehovah who caused ‘a wind to burst forth’ to drive these birds into the Israelite encampment.—Numbers 11:31.
What was “the festival of dedication” mentioned at John 10:22?
▪ The three seasonal festivals that God commanded the Jews to observe—the Festival of Unfermented Cakes, the Festival of Pentecost, and the Festival of Ingathering—were held in early spring, late spring, and fall respectively. The festival mentioned at John 10:22, however, was held in “wintertime” and commemorated the rededication of Jehovah’s temple in 165 B.C.E. It was held for eight days, beginning on the 25th day of the month of Chislev, close to the winter solstice. What led to its institution?
In 168 B.C.E., the Syrian Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), in his effort to eradicate Jewish worship and customs, had a pagan altar erected atop the altar in Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. Upon it, he had sacrifices offered to the Greek god Zeus.
This incident sparked the Maccabean uprising. The Jewish leader Judas Maccabaeus recovered Jerusalem from the Seleucids and then had the defiled altar demolished and a new one built in its place. Exactly three years after the altar had first been desecrated, Judas rededicated the cleansed temple to Jehovah. This “festival of dedication” (Hebrew, chanuk·kahʹ) has been celebrated in December by the Jews ever since. Today, the festival is known as Hanukkah.
[Picture on page 14]
A depiction of Judas Maccabaeus, Lyon, 1553
[Picture Credit Line on page 14]
From the book Wood’s Bible Animals. 1876