Exodus 16

The LORD Provides Manna

1 Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of 1Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on 2the fifteenth * day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.
2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel 3grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
3 The sons of Israel said to them, "4Would * that we had died by the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, 5when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, 6I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may 7test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.
5 "8On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily."
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, "At evening 9you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt;
7 and in the morning you will see 10the glory of the LORD, for 11He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and 12what are we, that you grumble against us?"

The LORD Provides Meat

8 Moses said, "This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are 13not against us but against the LORD."
9 Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, '14Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your grumblings.' "
10 It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, 15the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
12 "16I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and 17you shall know that I am the LORD your God.' "
13 So it came about at evening that 18the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning 19there was a layer of dew around the camp.
14 20When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness 21there 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, "22It 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 23an 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, 24he 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, "25Let 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.

The Sabbath Observed

22 26Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the 27leaders of the congregation came and told Moses,
23 then he said to them, "This is what the LORD meant: 28Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and 29all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning."
24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and 30it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it.
25 Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field.
26 "31Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none."
27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none.
28 Then the LORD said to Moses, "32How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?
29 "See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore * He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
31 The house of 33Israel named * it manna, and it was like 34coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey.
32 Then Moses said, "This is what * the LORD has commanded, 'Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.' "
33 Moses said to Aaron, "35Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations."
34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before 36the Testimony, to be kept.
35 37The sons of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
36 (Now 38an omer is a tenth 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.

Cross References 38

  • 1. Numbers 33:10, 11; Ezekiel 30:15
  • 2. Exodus 12:6, 51; Exodus 19:1
  • 3. Exodus 14:11; Exodus 15:24; Psalms 106:25; 1 Corinthians 10:10
  • 4. Exodus 17:3; Numbers 14:2, 3; Numbers 20:3; Lamentations 4:9
  • 5. Numbers 11:4, 5
  • 6. Nehemiah 9:15; Psalms 78:23-25; Psalms 105:40; John 6:31; 1 Corinthians 10:3
  • 7. Exodus 15:25; Deuteronomy 8:2, 16
  • 8. Exodus 16:22
  • 9. Exodus 6:7
  • 10. Exodus 16:10, 12; Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 40:5; John 11:4, 40
  • 11. Numbers 14:27; Numbers 17:5
  • 12. Numbers 16:11
  • 13. 1 Samuel 8:7; Luke 10:16; Romans 13:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:8
  • 14. Numbers 16:16
  • 15. Exodus 13:21; Exodus 16:7; Numbers 16:19; 1 Kings 8:10
  • 16. Exodus 16:8; Numbers 14:27
  • 17. Exodus 6:7; Exodus 16:7; 1 Kings 20:28; Joel 3:17
  • 18. Numbers 11:31; Psalms 78:27-29; Psalms 105:40
  • 19. Numbers 11:9
  • 20. Numbers 11:7-9
  • 21. Exodus 16:31; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalms 78:24; Psalms 105:40
  • 22. Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalms 78:24; John 6:31; 1 Corinthians 10:3
  • 23. Exodus 16:32, 36
  • 24. 2 Corinthians 8:15
  • 25. Exodus 12:10; Exodus 16:23; Exodus 23:18
  • 26. Exodus 16:5
  • 27. Exodus 34:31
  • 28. Genesis 2:3; Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 23:12; Exodus 31:15; Exodus 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Nehemiah 9:13, 14
  • 29. Exodus 16:19
  • 30. Exodus 16:20
  • 31. Exodus 20:9, 10
  • 32. 2 Kings 17:14; Psalms 78:10; Psalms 106:13
  • 33. Numbers 11:7-9; Deuteronomy 8:3, 16
  • 34. Exodus 16:14
  • 35. Hebrews 9:4; Revelation 2:17
  • 36. Exodus 25:16, 21; Exodus 27:21; Exodus 40:20; Numbers 17:10
  • 37. Deuteronomy 8:2; Joshua 5:12; Nehemiah 9:20, 21
  • 38. Exodus 16:16

Footnotes 25

Chapter Summary


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

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