Bible desert ice?
April 28, 2009 6:33 PM   Subscribe

What's the bible verse that tells how to make ice in the desert?

I swear it was something other than Exodus 16:14 but I could be wrong. I thought it mentioned a damp depression or something.

(I'm familiar with evaporative cooling and how ice in the desert can be made - looking for the bible verse about it.)
posted by Baby_Balrog to Religion & Philosophy (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Could you be thinking of manna - the "bread" that "rained?"

Exodus 16:13 So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. 15 When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 “This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’” 17 The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. 18 When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. 19 Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. 21 They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.
posted by Miko at 6:40 PM on April 28, 2009

Exodus 16:14 isn't talking about actual ice - it's just saying that the manna flakes looked like frost.
posted by niles at 6:41 PM on April 28, 2009

I think Miko is right. I have never heard of a verse talking about making ice in the desert. There are a few about getting water, but none about ice.
posted by Deflagro at 6:43 PM on April 28, 2009

Response by poster: I found this but I couldn't find any verses anywhere in it.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:44 PM on April 28, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry, yeah... thanks Miko - that's the verse I mentioned above. There's a tickle in my brain about some other verse that talks about ice in the desert more specifically.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:45 PM on April 28, 2009

Whoops, I'm so sorry. I missed the [more inside].
posted by Miko at 6:49 PM on April 28, 2009

Best answer: Although the link is broken in the original FPP, a fuller account is here:

"The Bible describes how to make ice on the desert. Please describe the procedure and explain how it fits your knowledge of heat transfer."

No one knew the answer. Doc chuckled and told us we should read the Bible and learn that on a still, clear night in the desert, if one dug a shallow hole, lined the cavity with straw and placed a ceramic pan with a thin layer of water into the straw-lined nest, then there would be minimum conduction, little or no convection, and radiant heat transfer to outer space would control. Since outer space has an equivalent temperature of minus 400 degrees F, and radiation is governed by the difference between the absolute temperatures to the fourth power, you can truly make ice in the desert.

Maybe I'll be proved wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure there is no Bible verse that describes such a procedure. I don't know know of one, and I can't believe that it wouldn't have come up in the evangelical apologetics classes of my youth. Those guys would wrench any Bible verse way out of context to make the Bible look impossibly advanced. Since I can't find a version of the story that includes a verse, I'm chalking it up as an urban legend until someone comes up with one.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:52 PM on April 28, 2009

Bible Gateway has a nice online concordance but I really can't find any verse like what you are describing, unless the steps for making ice are something like "have God do it" in which case see Job chapters 37-8 and Psalm 147.
posted by phoenixy at 6:54 PM on April 28, 2009

Yeah, I just ran searches for the words "ice" "hole" and "straw" individually, and got nothing.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:56 PM on April 28, 2009

Response by poster: I was hoping I could summon you up with this one, Pater. I'll wait till brer betachat gets on the line before I chalk it up to a false memory. Thanks for thinking this one over.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:01 PM on April 28, 2009

I have read the bible through cover to cover more than once and have never seen what you are looking for-but I vaguely remember some kind of trick question or joke question that would apply... but can't remember what it was.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:17 PM on April 28, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, I think this story--seemingly widespread over the internet yet not actually cited anywhere--stems from an exercise like this one, attempting to explain what the Bible portrays as miraculous events in purely materialistic terms. It's actually a pretty common higher critical move, as it shows up all over the place.

I don't think many people take it all that seriously, as though yes, it is at least theoretically possible to make ice in this way, does anyone really think that's what the Bible is talking about in Exodus? I'd venture to guess that even most skeptics would find "I don't know what that's talking about" or "Clearly they were just gathering food" to be more compelling than "Obviously they were all making ice all that time!"
posted by valkyryn at 7:40 PM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I don't want to be offensive, but read the passage again very carefully. Think about the connection (*cough* causal relationship *cough*) between the first sentence and the second one. OR: What's going foul and melting in the sun isn't ice.

For what it's worth, people have used quail manure as a source of protein for livestock for years.

Quail Manure Fed as Protein Source to Post-Weaning Goat Kids
posted by aquafortis at 8:54 PM on April 28, 2009

Are you mis-remembering the movie "Kingdom of Heaven". There's an "ice in the desert" scene, which if I recall had some biblical dialogue at the same time (which if the above answers, plus my own checking, are of any merit, would appear to be made up)
posted by devbrain at 9:12 PM on April 28, 2009

Response by poster: Well, thanks anyway everyone. I musta been thinkin about my other bible. ugaritic texts or somethin.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:22 AM on April 29, 2009

Response by poster: aquafortis! That's hilarious! I'd never actually heard that one. I've read everything from mushrooms to acatia sap to certain kinds of bugs but never quail shit. Where did you hear that?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:24 AM on April 29, 2009

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