Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils…
Some scholars dispute, however, whether this can truly be called Biblical justification for the pork snorkel.
First of all, the ancient Hebrews were not known for being big on pork. Though this is during the forty years when they were wandering in the wilderness, so maybe that law hadn’t been handed down yet.
Second, it turns out that the meat God provides is quail which, while tasty, is not easily categorized as pork. However, the true Three Bulls initiate knows that “pork snorkel” is to be interpreted metaphorically1. Also, the passage gives the following account of God’s distribution mechanism: “Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea.” Given that quail aren’t known as seabirds, the possible mistakes by ancient chroniclers of these events are too horrible to contemplate.
Third, here is the full context of the above passage:
[The LORD said to Moses] 18 ”Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ‘ “
Which basically seems to be saying that God wanted to send bad pork snorkel because He thought the Hebrews were a nation of whiners. (In a sense though, the whole episode gives the impression that God might have done with a visit from Victoria Stilwell.)
Fourth, in the end, there was no actual snorkel, for “while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.” Though it is true that this may simply have been poor planning on God’s part as He may not have accounted for the effects on people of breathing the miasma from the droppings of enough fowl to gorge six hundred thousand Israelites for a month (though, to be fair, neither did the Israelites).
In the exegetical tradition of Three Bulls, however, these objections may be ignored. I will demonstrate why. It is clear, for one, that the Hebrews were familiar with meat coming out of their nostrils, otherwise why would God have used this phrase? Nothing in the passage suggests that Moses found the idea of meat coming out of his nostrils to be a novel or startling idea. As for where God says “until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it”, note the use of the word “and” in that passage. God says that the Hebrews will both have meat coming out of their nostrils and that they will loathe it, not that they will have meat coming out of their nostrils and therefore will loathe it. There is no reason to think that loathing the meat is causally connected to having it come out of one’s nostrils. Given that God intends to punish the Hebrews here, doesn’t it make more sense that he was taking an activity — that is, pork snorkel in the broad sense — that the Hebrews normally enjoyed and was making it unpleasant for them?
I hope I have allayed any misgivings that 3B readers may have had about whether pork snorkel can be justified on Biblical grounds. The faithful 3B reader may also wish to know that there is a song containing the line “We’ll eat so much meat that it comes out our nostrils.“
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