Exodus 16

1 And they went on their way from Elim, and all the children of Israel came into the waste land of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they went out of the land of Egypt.
2 And all the children of Israel were crying out against Moses and Aaron in the waste land:
3 And the children of Israel said to them, It would have been better for the Lord to have put us to death in the land of Egypt, where we were seated by the flesh-pots and had bread enough for our needs; for you have taken us out to this waste of sand, to put all this people to death through need of food.
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, See, I will send down bread from heaven for you; and the people will go out every day and get enough for the day's needs; so that I may put them to the test to see if they will keep my laws or not.
5 And on the sixth day they are to make ready what they get in, and it will be twice as much as they get on the other days.
6 And Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, This evening it will be clear to you that it is the Lord who has taken you out of the land of Egypt:
7 And in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord; for your angry words against the Lord have come to his ears: and what are we that you are crying out against us?
8 And Moses said, The Lord will give you meat for your food at evening, and in the morning bread in full measure; for your outcry against the Lord has come to his ears: for what are we? your outcry is not against us but against the Lord.
9 And Moses said to Aaron, Say to all the people of Israel, Come near before the Lord for he has given ear to your outcry.
10 And while Aaron was talking to the children of Israel, their eyes were turned in the direction of the waste land, and they saw the glory of the Lord shining in the cloud.
11 And the Lord said to Moses,
12 The outcry of the children of Israel has come to my ears: say to them now, At nightfall you will have meat for your food, and in the morning bread in full measure; and you will see that I am the Lord your God.
13 And it came about that in the evening little birds came up and the place was covered with them: and in the morning there was dew all round about the tents.
14 And when the dew was gone, on the face of the earth was a small round thing, like small drops of ice on the earth.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, What is it? for they had no idea what it was. And Moses said to them, It is the bread which the Lord has given you for your food.
16 This is what the Lord has said, Let every man take up as much as he has need of; at the rate of one omer for every person, let every man take as much as is needed for his family.
17 And the children of Israel did so, and some took more and some less.
18 And when it was measured, he who had taken up much had nothing over, and he who had little had enough; every man had taken what he was able to make use of.
19 And Moses said to them, Let nothing be kept till the morning.
20 But they gave no attention to Moses, and some of them kept it till the morning and there were worms in it and it had an evil smell: and Moses was angry with them.
21 And they took it up morning by morning, every man as he had need: and when the sun was high it was gone.
22 And on the sixth day they took up twice as much of the bread, two omers for every person: and all the rulers of the people gave Moses word of it.
23 And he said, This is what the Lord has said, Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord: what has to be cooked may be cooked; and what is over, put on one side to be kept till the morning.
24 And they kept it till the morning as Moses had said: and no smell came from it, and it had no worms.
25 And Moses said, Make your meal today of what you have, for this day is a Sabbath to the Lord: today you will not get any in the fields.
26 For six days you will get it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.
27 But still on the seventh day some of the people went out to get it, and there was not any.
28 And the Lord said to Moses, How long will you go against my orders and my laws?
29 See, because the Lord has given you the Sabbath, he gives you on the sixth day bread enough for two days; let every man keep where he is; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
30 So the people took their rest on the seventh day.
31 And this bread was named manna by Israel: it was white, like a grain seed, and its taste was like cakes made with honey.
32 And Moses said, This is the order which the Lord has given: Let one omer of it be kept for future generations, so that they may see the bread which I gave you for your food in the waste land, when I took you out from the land of Egypt.
33 And Moses said to Aaron, Take a pot and put one omer of manna in it, and put it away before the Lord, to be kept for future generations.
34 So Aaron put it away in front of the holy chest to be kept, as the Lord gave orders to Moses.
35 And the children of Israel had manna for their food for forty years, till they came to a land with people in it, till they came to the edge of the land of Canaan.
36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.

Exodus 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

The Israelites come to the wilderness of Sin. They murmur for food, God promises bread from heaven. (1-12) God sends quails and manna. (13-21) Particulars respecting the manna. (22-31) An omer of manna to be preserved. (32-36)

Verses 1-12 The provisions of Israel, brought from Egypt, were spent by the middle of the second month, and they murmured. It is no new thing for the greatest kindness to be basely represented as the greatest injuries. They so far undervalue their deliverance, that they wished they had died in Egypt; and by the hand of the Lord, that is, by the plagues which cut off the Egyptians. We cannot suppose they had plenty in Egypt, nor could they fear dying for want in the wilderness, while they had flocks and herds: none talk more absurdly than murmurers. When we begin to fret, we ought to consider, that God hears all our murmurings. God promises a speedy and constant supply. He tried whether they would trust him, and rest satisfied with the bread of the day in its day. Thus he tried if they would serve him, and it appeared how ungrateful they were. When God plagued the Egyptians, it was to make them know he was their Lord; when he provided for the Israelites, it was to make them know he was their God.

Verses 13-21 At evening the quails came up, and the people caught with ease as many as they needed. The manna came down in dew. They called it "Manna, Manhu," which means, "What is this?" "It is a portion; it is that which our God has allotted us, and we will take it, and be thankful." It was pleasant food; it was wholesome food. The manna was rained from heaven; it appeared, when the dew was gone, as a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost, like coriander seed, in colour like pearls. The manna fell only six days in the week, and in double quantity on the sixth day; it bred worms and became offensive if kept more than one day, excepting on the sabbath. The people had never seen it before. It could be ground in a mill, or beaten in a mortar, and was then made into cakes and baked. It continued the forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, wherever they went, and ceased when they arrived in Canaan. All this shows how different it was from any thing found before, or found now. They were to gather the manna every morning. We are hereby taught, 1. To be prudent and diligent in providing food for ourselves and our households; with quietness working, and eating our own bread, not the bread of idleness or deceit. God's bounty leaves room for man's duty; it did so even when manna was rained; they must not eat till they have gathered. 2. To be content with enough. Those that have most, have for themselves but food and raiment; those that have least, generally have these; so that he who gathers much has nothing over, and he who gathers little has no lack. There is not such a disproportion between one and another in the enjoyment of the things of this life, as in the mere possession of them. 3. To depend upon Providence: let them sleep quietly, though they have no bread in their tents, nor in all their camp, trusting that God, with the following day, would bring them in their daily bread. It was surer and safer in God's storehouse than their own, and would come thence sweeter and fresher. See here the folly of hoarding. The manna laid up by some, who thought themselves wiser, and better managers, than their neighbours, and who would provide lest it should fail next day, bred worms, and became good for nothing. That will prove to be most wasted, which is covetously and distrustfully spared. Such riches are corrupted, ( james 5:2 james 5:3 ) . The same wisdom, power, and goodness that brought food daily from above for the Israelites in the wilderness, brings food yearly out of the earth in the constant course of nature, and gives us all things richly to enjoy.

Verses 22-31 Here is mention of a seventh-day sabbath. It was known, not only before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, but before the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, even from the beginning, ( Genesis 2:3 ) . The setting apart one day in seven for holy work, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was ever since God created man upon the earth, and is the most ancient of the Divine laws. Appointing them to rest on the seventh day, he took care that they should be no losers by it; and none ever will be losers by serving God. On that day they were to fetch in enough for two days, and to make it ready. This directs us to contrive family affairs, so that they may hinder us as little as possible in the work of the sabbath. Works of necessity are to be done on that day; but it is desirable to have as little as may be to do, that we may apply ourselves the more closely to prepare for the life that is to come. When they kept manna against a command, it stank; when they kept it by a command, it was sweet and good; every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. On the seventh day God did not send the manna, therefore they must not expect it, nor go out to gather. This showed that it was produced by miracle.

Verses 32-36 God having provided manna to be his people's food in the wilderness, the remembrance of it was to be preserved. Eaten bread must not be forgotten. God's miracles and mercies are to be had in remembrance. The word of God is the manna by which our souls are nourished, ( Matthew 4:4 ) . The comforts of the Spirit are hidden manna, ( Revelation 2:17 ) . These come from heaven, as the manna did, and are the support and comfort of the Divine life in the soul, while we are in the wilderness of this world. Christ in the word is to be applied to the soul, and the means of grace are to be used. We must every one of us gather for ourselves, and gather in the morning of our days, the morning of our opportunities; which if we let slip, it may be too late to gather. The manna must not be hoarded up, but eaten; those who have received Christ, must by faith live upon him, and not receive his grace in vain. There was manna enough for all, enough for each, and none had too much; so in Christ there is enough, but not more than we need. But those who ate manna, hungered again, died at last, and with many of them God was not well pleased; whereas they that feed on Christ by faith, shall never hunger, and shall die no more, and with them God will be for ever well pleased. Let us seek earnestly for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to turn all our knowledge of the doctrine of Christ crucified, into the spiritual nourishment of our souls by faith and love.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 16

This chapter begins with an account of the journeying of the children of Israel from Elim to the wilderness of Sin, where they murmured for want of bread, Ex 16:1-3, when the Lord told Moses that he would rain bread from heaven for them, which Moses informed them of; and withal, that the Lord took notice of their murmurings, Ex 16:4-12 which promise the Lord fulfilled; and a description of the bread, and the name of it, are given, Ex 16:13-15, and some instructions are delivered out concerning the quantity of it to be gathered, Ex 16:16-18, the time of gathering and keeping it, Ex 16:19-21, the gathering a double quantity on the sixth day for that and the seventh day, with the reason of it, Ex 16:22-30 and a further description of it, Ex 16:31, and an order to preserve an omer of it in a pot, to be kept for generations to come, that it might be seen by them, Ex 16:32-34, and the chapter is concluded with observing, that this bread was ate by the Israelites forty years, even till they came to the borders of the land of Canaan, and the quantity they ate every day is observed what it was, Ex 16:35,36.

Exodus 16 Commentaries