Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2285342-Carnal-Appetites
by brom21
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Spiritual · #2285342
A throng of men make a blasphemous complaint they live to regret.
Abithar looked at the snow-like particles flutter to the ground as more children giggled and reached into air for the heavenly bread seeds. Older people gathered them into baskets.

Abithar looked from the open flap of her tent at what was happening.

“Breakfast is ready, Abithar,” said a voice from behind her. She turned around to face her mother, Tamar. She stood from her wooden stool and went to her mother who was placing plates of bread.

“Mother, why do angels need to eat?”

Tamar sat at the table with her daughter. “Moses never said why but the manna is a gift from God. Just appreciate it.”

Abithar’s father entered the tent. “I had some trouble plowing the field with the oxen. I think one of them is sick.”

“Sit down, husband,” said Tamar. “We will pray about it later.”

When the family of three were together, they prayed. “Bless this food oh, Lord and we give thanks for this meal and may You always bless us. Amen.”

Abithar sunk her teeth into the soft, warm bread that tasted like wafers made with honey. “How much longer until we enter the promised land?” she said.

“Moses has led us for many years in the wilderness and has not said when we will reach it,” said Zadok, her father.

Suddenly a man peeped his head into the tent flap. “Zadok! Something is happening in the district!” he said, breathing heavily.

Zadok dashed outside as Abithar followed him. They came to a large crowd assembled in front of Moses’s tent were about two-dozen men were gathered. “We are sick of this…manna to eat! Give us meat!” said a man in a worn robe.

Abithar could barely see Moses move his mouth, much less hear him. Moses nodded and went into his tent.

“What did he say, father?” said Abithar.

Zadok shook his head “I could not make it out. Wait here.” Zadok went to the man who demanded meat before Moses. The man who chided with Moses was flailing his arms around and spat as he talked to Zadok. After a few minutes the man and those who stood with him stormed away.

The crowd began to break up as Zadok returned to Abithar. “Moses has given the men a warning to not test God, nevertheless they are stubborn.” Zadok shook his head and exhaled deeply. “Something tells me something bad is about to happen to those men. Let us return home and eat.”

The two returned to Tamar who had a ran up to Zadok as soon as he came in. “What happened!”

“A group of men opposed Moses about food. They demand meat to consume.”

“That cannot be good,” replied Tamar.

“I agree,” said Zadok. He yawned. “I think I have eaten enough. I am going back to the barley field.” The man exited the tent.

“Can I go out and play?”

“You have not finished eating,” replied Tamar.

“I’ll bring the bread with me.”

Tamar smiled. “Very well.”

Abithar snatched up the mana bread and ran outside. She found two of her friends playing with a wicker ball. “Hello, Absalom and Ithicar. Can I play?”

“Sure,” said Ithaca, a female child of the neighboring tribe of Benjamin.

Absalom, a boy from Abithar’s tribe of Naphtali, sneered.

“What was that for!” said Abithar.

“My father says God should give us more to eat. We are sick of this mana!”

“Don’t speak like that!” said Ithaca. “You shouldn’t bad mouth God!”

“Are we to eat mana forever?” said Absalom.

“That doesn’t matter. You should be thankful,” said Ithaca.

“Let us leave this babbling and play with the ball,” said Abithar. Her two friends nodded and all began playing.

The rest of the day went as usual; Abithar finished playing, she ate dinner, Zadok completed his day in the field and at the end when twilight had already passed, Tamar was tucking her daughter into her bed. “…and may the Lord watch over us. Amen,” said Tamar as she finished praying.

The next day, Abithar awoke to commotion outside. She hopped out of bed and darted out of the tent and gasped. Dead Quail littered the grassy ground. People were gathering them up like flowers.

The leader of the insurrection before Moses’s tent spoke with his mouth full. “Meat! At last!”

Abithar saw Ithaca and ran for her. “Where did all the dead quail come from?” asked Abithar.

Ithaca spoke with wide eyes. “It came from the sky, like the mana does!”

Suddenly a loud horn echoed over the area. One of the priests, the Levites, spoke atop a high hill with a loud voice across the landscape. “You have asked for meat and God has given it to you. You will eat quail until it comes out your nostrils. So you have asked for.”

Then the priest left.

Over the next few days more and more quail fell to the ground and soon, as the priest said, they grew tired of meat but they were punished to eat regardless.

Then, as the meat was in the mouth’s of the men who craved their food, complained to have wine too. “Can the Lord give wine as well?” said a large number with the same sentiment.

Suddenly the sky grew dark and lightning strobed in the clouds.

“Abithar! Get inside!” said Zadok as he pulled her within. She watched in horror as men were being struck with lightning bolts and blaring thunder shook the ground. In a few minutes the lightning stopped and many who had tested God lay burnt.

“God has judged those who opposed Him. It was foolish and wicked to do so,” said Zadok.

The rumbling clouds dissipated and the sun broke through. It took two weeks to gather the dead and they burned them outside the camp of Israel.

“Will God ever get mad like he did just now?” said Abithar to Zadok.

“Only time will tell, but I feel this is not the last transgression of God’s people.”

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