Deuteronomy 8:3

3 And he humbled you and 1let you hunger and 2fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that 3man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word[a] that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 8:3 Meaning and Commentary

Deuteronomy 8:3

And he humbled thee
Or afflicted thee with want of bread:

and suffered thee to hunger;
that there might be an opportunity of showing his mercy, and exerting his power:

and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy
fathers know;
a sort of food they had never seen before, and when they saw it, knew not what it was, but asked, what is it? ( Exodus 16:15 ) . Thus the Lord humbles his people by his Spirit and grace, and brings them to see themselves to be in want, and creates in them desires after spiritual food, and feeds them with Christ the hidden manna, whose person, office, and grace, they were before ignorant of:

that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only;
which is the stay and staff of life, and which strengthens man's heart, and is the main support of it, being the ordinary and usual food man lives upon, and is put for all the rest:

but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth
man live:
not so much by the food he eats as by the blessing of God upon it, and who can make one sort of food as effectual for such a purpose as another; for every creature of God is good being received with thankfulness, and sanctified by the word and prayer; and particularly he could and did make such light food as manna was to answer all the purposes of solid bread for the space of forty years in the wilderness; the Targum of Jonathan is,

``but by all which is created by the Word of the Lord is the life of man;''

which seems to agree with 1Ti 4:3,4
for the meaning is not that the Israelites in the wilderness, and when come into the land of Canaan, should not live by corporeal food only, but by obedience to the commands of God, by means of which they should continue under his protection, which was indeed their case; nor that man does not live in his body only by bread, but in his soul also by the word of God, and the doctrines of it, which is certainly true; spiritual men live a spiritual life on Christ, the Word of God, and bread of life, and on the Gospel and the truths of it, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus, and are nourished up with the words of faith and sound doctrine, by means of which their spiritual life is supported and maintained; but this is not what is here intended.

Deuteronomy 8:3 In-Context

1 "The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers.
2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.
5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.

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Cross References 3

  • 1. Exodus 16:2, 3
  • 2. Ex. 16:12, 14, 15, 35; [Numbers 11:6-9; Numbers 21:5]
  • 3. Cited Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4; [John 6:49-51]

Footnotes 1

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.