Exodus 16

1 And they went forth from Elim, and all the multitude of the sons of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is betwixt Elim and Sinai, in the fifteenth day of the second month, after that they went out of the land of Egypt. (And they went forth from Elim, and all the multitude of the Israelites came into the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month, after that they went out of the land of Egypt.)
2 And all the congregation of the sons of Israel grouched against Moses (And all the Israelites grumbled against Moses), and against Aaron, in the wilderness.
3 And the sons of Israel said to them, We would that we had been dead by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat on the flesh pots, and ate loaves in plenty; why led ye us into this desert, that ye should slay all the multitude with hunger? (And the Israelites said to them, We wish that we had died by the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and had plenty of loaves to eat; why did ye lead us into this wilderness, so that ye could kill all the multitude with hunger?)
4 Forsooth the Lord said to Moses, Lo! I shall rain to you loaves from heaven; the people go out, that it gather those things that suffice by each day; that I assay the people, whether it go in my law, or not. (And the Lord said to Moses, Lo! I shall rain down loaves from the heavens for you; have the people go out, and gather those things that suffice for each day; and I shall test, or shall prove, the people, and see if they go in my law, or not.)
5 Soothly in the sixth day, make they ready that that they shall bear in, and be it double over that they were wont to gather by each (other) day. (And on the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it shall be double over what they were wont to gather on the other days.)
6 And Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, At eventide ye shall know that the Lord [hath] led you out of the land of Egypt;
7 and in the morrowtide ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for I heard your grouching against the Lord; soothly what be we, for ye grouch against us? (and in the morning ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for he hath heard your grumbling against him; and who be we, that ye grumble against us?)
8 And Moses said, The Lord shall give to you at eventide flesh to eat, and loaves in the morrowtide in plenty, for he [hath] heard your grouchings, by which ye grouched against him; for why, what be we? your grouching is not against us, but against the Lord. (And Moses said, The Lord shall give you flesh to eat in the evening, and plenty of loaves in the morning, for he hath heard your grumbling, by which ye grumbled against him; for who be we? yea, your grumbling is not against us, but against the Lord.)
9 And Moses said to Aaron, Say thou to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, Nigh ye before the Lord, for he [hath] heard your grouching (for he hath heard your grumbling).
10 And when Aaron spake to all the company of the sons of Israel, they beheld to the wilderness, and lo! the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud.
11 Forsooth the Lord spake to Moses, and said,
12 I heard the grouchings of the sons of Israel (I heard the grumbling of the Israelites); speak thou to them, (and say,) At eventide ye shall eat flesh, and in the morrowtide ye shall be filled with loaves, and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.
13 Therefore eventide was made, and curlews went up, and covered the castles; and in the morrowtide dew came before the face of the castles. (And so the evening came, and curlews flew in, and covered the tents; and in the morning dew lay all around the tents.)
14 And when it had covered the earth, a little thing, and as pounded with a pestle, in the likeness of an hoarfrost on the earth, appeared in the wilderness. (And when it had covered all the ground, there appeared in the wilderness a little thing, as if it was pounded with a pestle, and like hoarfrost on the ground.)
15 And when the sons of Israel had seen that, they said together, Man na? which signifieth, What is this? for they wist not what it was (And when the Israelites had seen it, they said to each other, Manna? which meaneth, What is this? for they did not know what it was). To whom Moses said, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.
16 This is the word which the Lord commanded, Each man gather thereof as much as it sufficeth to be eaten, omer by each head, by the number of your souls that dwell in the tabernacle, so ye shall take. (This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Each of you gather as much of it as sufficeth to be eaten, yea, an omer for each soul, such ye shall gather by the number of souls who live in your tent.)
17 And the sons of Israel did so, and they gathered (it), one more, and another less;
18 and they meted [it] at the measure of omer; neither he that gathered more had more, neither he that made ready less found less, but all gathered by that that they might eat. (and they measured it at the measure of an omer per person, and he who gathered more did not have too much, nor he who gathered less had not enough, but they all gathered just what they could eat.)
19 And Moses said to them, No man leave thereof into the morrowtide; (And Moses said to them, No one leave any of it until the next morning;)
20 which heard not him, but some of them left thereof till to the morrowtide, and it began to boil with worms, and it was rotten; and Moses was wroth against them. (but some of them did not listen to him, and saved some of it for the next day, and it began to boil with worms, and it was rotten; and Moses was angry at them.)
21 Forsooth all they gathered in the morrowtide as much as sufficed to be eaten; and when the sun was hot, it was molten. (So every morning they all gathered as much as sufficed to be eaten; and when the sun was risen, it melted away.)
22 Soothly in the sixth day they gathered double meats, that is, two omers each man (And on the sixth day they gathered double the amount, that is, two omers for each person). Forsooth all the princes of the multitude came, and told (that) to Moses,
23 which said to them, This it is that the Lord spake, The rest of the sabbath is hallowed to the Lord; do ye whatever thing (that) shall be wrought tomorrow, and seethe ye those things that shall be sodden; soothly whatever thing is residue, or left over, keep ye it till into the morrow. (and he said to them, This is what the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the sabbath, that is holy, or is dedicated, to the Lord; so do ye today whatever needeth to be done, and boil ye those things that need to be boiled; and whatever is left over, keep ye it for tomorrow.)
24 And they did so as Moses commanded (And so they did as Moses commanded), and it was not rotten, neither a worm was found therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat ye that in this day, for it is the sabbath of the Lord, it shall not be found today in the field; (And Moses said, Eat ye it today, for this is the sabbath of the Lord, and no food shall be found in the field today;)
26 gather ye it in six days, forsooth the sabbath of the Lord is in the seventh day, therefore in that day it shall not be found. (gather ye it for six days, but the sabbath of the Lord is on the seventh day, and so on that day it shall not be found.)
27 The seventh day came, and some of the people went out to gather, and they found not. (But the seventh day came, and some people went out to gather food, but they found it not.)
28 Forsooth the Lord said to Moses, How long will ye not keep my commandments, and my law?
29 See ye that the Lord gave to you the sabbath, and for that he hath given to you in the sixth day double meats; each man dwell at himself, no man go out of his place in the seventh day. (See ye that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, and for that he hath given you double the food on the sixth day; so everyone should stay at home, and no one should go out of their place on the seventh day.)
30 And the people kept sabbath in the seventh day. (And so the people kept the sabbath on the seventh day.)
31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof man(na), which was white, as the seed of coriander, and the taste thereof was as of flour (mixed) with honey.
32 Forsooth Moses said, This is the word which the Lord commanded, Fill thou an omer thereof, and be it kept into generations to coming afterward (and let it be kept for the generations to come later), (so) that they know (of) the bread with which I fed you in (the) wilderness, when ye were led out of the land of Egypt.
33 And Moses said to Aaron, Take thou a vessel, and put therein man(na), as much as an omer may take, and put it before the Lord, to be kept into your generations, (And Moses said to Aaron, Take thou a vessel, and put manna in it, an omer of it, and put it before the Lord, to be kept for all generations to come;)
34 as the Lord commanded to Moses; and Aaron put that to be kept in the tabernacle. (so as the Lord commanded to Moses, Aaron put the vessel of manna in the Ark with the stone tablets, to be kept there forever.)
35 Forsooth the sons of Israel ate manna forty years, till they came into the land habitable, that is, able to be inhabited; they were fed with this meat, till they touched the coasts of the land of Canaan. (And the Israelites ate manna for forty years, until they came to the land where they could live; yea, they were fed with this food, until they reached the land of Canaan.)
36 Forsooth (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


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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.