Hip-Deep Heaps of Quail!

Today’s infographic comes courtesy of Translation Follies. It purports to illustrate Numbers 11:31, in which the Lord sends quail in abundance to the Israelites.

From Logos Bible Software

From Logos Bible Software

Some Bibles, including the NAB, do indeed translate the passage as “at a depth of two cubits upon the ground.” Even the fairly literal NASB adds an italicized deep in the passage.

The Hebrew, however, roughly works out to “about two cubits the surface the land,” without mentioning depth. (The Septuagint uses the Greek ἀπό, which means “away from” the land.)

The RSV gets it right with the key word “above” rather than “deep.” That is to say, the birds flew low–two cubits, or about 3 feet–over a large swath of land, making them easier to kill, not that Israelites were wading hip deep in a sea of quail swarming on the ground.