Exodus 16

1 And they set forward from Elim, and all the multitude of the children of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai: the fifteenth day of the second month, after they came out of the land of Egypt.
2 And all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
3 And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the fleshpots, and ate bread to the full: Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine?
4 And the Lord said to Moses: Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; let the people go forth, and gather what is sufficient for every day: that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or not.
5 But the sixth day let them provide for to bring in: and let it be double to that they were wont to gather every day.
6 And Moses and Aaron said to the children of Israel In the evening you shall know that the Lord hath brought you forth out of the land of Egypt:
7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord: for he hath heard your murmuring against the Lord: but as for us, what are we, that you mutter against us?
8 And Moses said: In the evening the Lord will give you flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full: for he hath heard your murmurings, with which you have murmured against him, for what are we? your murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord.
9 Moses also said to Aaron: Say to the whole congregation of the children of Israel: Come before the Lord; for he hath heard your murmuring.
10 And when Aaron spoke to all the assembly of the children of Israel, they looked towards the wilderness; and behold the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud.
11 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
12 I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel, say to them: In the evening you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.
13 So it came to pass in the evening, that quails coming up, covered the camp: and in the morning a dew lay round about the camp.
14 And when it had covered the face of the earth, it appeared in the wilderness small, and as it were beaten with a pestle, like unto the hoar frost on the ground.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another: Manhu! which signifieth: What is this! for they knew not what it was. And Moses said to them: This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.
16 This is the word that the Lord hath commanded: Let every one gather of it as much as is enough to eat; a gomor for every man, according to the number of your souls that dwell in a tent, so shall you take of it.
17 And the children of Israel did so: and they gathered, one more, another less.
18 And they measured by the measure of a gomor: neither had he more that had gathered more; nor did he find less that had provided less: but every one had gathered, according to what they were able to eat.
19 And Moses said to them: Let no man leave thereof till the morning.
20 And they hearkened not to him, but some of them left until the morning, and it began to be full of worms, and it putrefied, and Moses was angry with them.
21 Now every one of them gathered in the morning, as much as might suffice to eat: and after the sun grew hot, it melted.
22 But on the sixth day they gathered twice as much, that is, two gomors every man: and all the rulers of the multitude came, and told Moses.
23 And he said to them: This is what the Lord hath spoken: To morrow is the rest of the sabbath sanctified to the Lord. Whatsoever work is to be done, do it; and the meats that are to be dressed, dress them; and whatsoever shall remain, lay it up until the morning.
24 And they did so as Moses had commanded, and it did not putrefy, neither was there worm found in it.
25 And Moses said: Eat it to day, because it is the sabbath of the Lord: to day it shall not be found in the field.
26 Gather it six days; but on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, therefore it shall not be found.
27 And the seventh day came; and some of the people going forth to gather, found none.
28 And the Lord said to Moses: How long will you refuse to keep my commandments, and my law?
29 See that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, and for this reason on the sixth day he giveth you a double provision: let each man stay at home, and let none go forth out of his place the seventh day.
30 And the people kept the sabbath on the seventh day.
31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste thereof like to flour with honey.
32 And Moses said: This is the word which the Lord hath commanded: Fill a gomor of it, and let it be kept unto generations to come hereafter; that they may know the bread, wherewith I fed you in the wilderness when you were brought forth out of the land of Egypt.
33 And Moses said to Aaron: Take a vessel, and put manna into it, as much as a gomor can hold; and lay it up before the Lord, to keep unto your generations,
34 As the Lord commanded Moses. And Aaron put it in the tabernacle to be kept.
35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land: with this meat were they fed, until they reached the borders of the land of Chanaan.
36 Now a gomor is the tenth part of an ephi.

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