He rained flesh also upon them as dust
By "flesh" is meant fowl, as the following clause shows; for there is flesh of birds, as well as of other creatures, see ( 1 Corinthians 15:39 ) and the quails which are here meant may be very fitly called flesh, since they are, for their size, a very plump, fat, and fleshy bird:
and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea;
or "fowl of wing" F8: winged fowls, so the Targum; fowl that flies; and therefore it was the more remarkable that these should be rained and fall, and be taken by the Israelites; and which fell in great numbers, as is signified by these phrases, the dust and the sand of the sea; for there fell enough to feed six hundred thousand men, beside women and children, for a month together; they lay in heaps, two cubits high, on one another, and everyone that gathered them brought in ten homers; see ( Numbers 11:19-21 Numbers 11:31 Numbers 11:32 ) , which is the history referred to; and quails are used to fly together in large bodies; and sometimes, as Pliny F9 relates, will light on ships at sea, and sink them with their numbers. Some think one sort of locusts is meant, which were used for food, and was very delicious food; and the circumstances of bringing them with an east or southeast wind, their falling in heaps, and being gathered in bushels, and spread about to be dried in the sun, seem to favour such a sense; (See Gill on Numbers 11:19), (See Gill on Numbers 11:20), (See Gill on Numbers 11:21), (See Gill on Numbers 11:31), (See Gill on Numbers 11:32). The ancients interpret this mystically of the flesh of Christ, whose flesh is meat indeed, delicious food for faith, as the quails were a rich food; and as they were rained down from heaven, so Christ is the bread of life which came down from heaven, and the bread he gave for the life of the world was his flesh: and as these came up, however the first quails, in the evening, ( Exodus 16:13 ) , so Christ came in the flesh, in the evening or end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; to which may be added, that these creatures sit upon their young, and cherish and protect them, as an hen her chickens F11 with which compare ( Matthew 23:37 ) , but seeing the quails are never called spiritual meat, as the manna is, ( 1 Corinthians 10:3 ) , but were given in wrath and judgment, they are rather an emblem of riches, or worldly goods, things given to carnal men; these are of God, as the quails were, and are by some persons enjoyed without care or trouble, as these were; their meat, as it is sometimes said, falls into their mouth, as these quails did into the mouths of the Israelites, as it were; and are in wrath, their blessings are cursed to them, and, while they have a great affluence of worldly things, have leanness in their souls, as the Israelites now had, ( Psalms 106:15 ) , moreover, as these were feathered or winged fowl, so riches have wings, and sometimes flee away, and are very uncertain things to trust to, ( Proverbs 23:5 ) .
F8 (Pnk Pwe) "volucres alatas", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.
F9 Hist. l. 10. c. 23.
F11 Arist. de Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 8.