Exodus 16

1 And they journey from Elim, and all the company of the sons of Israel come in unto the wilderness of Sin, which [is] between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month of their going out from the land of Egypt.
2 And all the company of the sons of Israel murmur against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness;
3 and the sons of Israel say unto them, `Oh that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, in our sitting by the flesh-pot, in our eating bread to satiety -- for ye have brought us out unto this wilderness to put all this assembly to death with hunger.'
4 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, `Lo, I am raining to you bread from the heavens -- and the people have gone out and gathered the matter of a day in its day -- so that I try them whether they walk in My law, or not;
5 and it hath been on the sixth day, that they have prepared that which they bring in, and it hath been double above that which they gather day [by] day.'
6 And Moses saith -- Aaron also -- unto all the sons of Israel, `Evening -- and ye have known that Jehovah hath brought you out from the land of Egypt;
7 and morning -- and ye have seen the honour of Jehovah, in His hearing your murmurings against Jehovah, and what [are] we, that ye murmur against us?'
8 And Moses saith, `In Jehovah's giving to you in the evening flesh to eat, and bread in the morning to satiety -- in Jehovah's hearing your murmurings, which ye are murmuring against Him, and what [are] we? your murmurings [are] not against us, but against Jehovah.'
9 And Moses saith unto Aaron, `Say unto all the company of the sons of Israel, Come ye near before Jehovah, for He hath heard your murmurings;'
10 and it cometh to pass, when Aaron is speaking unto all the company of the sons of Israel, that they turn towards the wilderness, and lo, the honour of Jehovah is seen in the cloud.
11 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
12 `I have heard the murmurings of the sons of Israel; speak unto them, saying, Between the evenings ye eat flesh, and in the morning ye are satisfied [with] bread, and ye have known that I [am] Jehovah your God.'
13 And it cometh to pass in the evening, that the quail cometh up, and covereth the camp, and in the morning there hath been the lying of dew round about the camp,
14 and the lying of the dew goeth up, and lo, on the face of the wilderness a thin, bare thing, thin as hoar-frost on the earth.
15 And the sons of Israel see, and say one unto another, `What [is] it?' for they have not known what it [is]; and Moses saith unto them, `It [is] the bread which Jehovah hath given to you for food.
16 `This [is] the thing which Jehovah hath commanded: Gather of it each according to his eating, an omer for a poll; and the number of your persons, take ye each for those in his tent.'
17 And the sons of Israel do so, and they gather, he who is [gathering] much, and he who is [gathering] little;
18 and they measure with an omer, and he who is [gathering] much hath nothing over, and he who is [gathering] little hath no lack, each according to his eating they have gathered.
19 And Moses saith unto them, `Let no man leave of it till morning;'
20 and they have not hearkened unto Moses, and some of them do leave of it till morning, and it bringeth up worms and stinketh; and Moses is wroth with them.
21 And they gather it morning by morning, each according to his eating; when the sun hath been warm, then it hath melted.
22 And it cometh to pass on the sixth day, they have gathered a second bread, two omers for one, and all the princes of the company come in, and declare to Moses.
23 And he saith unto them, `It [is] that which Jehovah hath spoken [of]; a rest -- a holy sabbath to Jehovah -- [is] to-morrow; that which ye bake, bake; and that which ye boil, boil; and all that is over, let rest for yourselves in charge till the morning.'
24 And they let it rest until the morning, as Moses hath commanded, and it hath not stank, and a worm hath not been in it.
25 And Moses saith, `Eat it to-day, for to-day [is] a sabbath to Jehovah; to-day ye find it not in the field:
26 six days ye do gather it, and in the seventh day -- the sabbath -- in it there is none.'
27 And it cometh to pass on the seventh day, some of the people have gone out to gather, and have not found.
28 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, `How long have ye refused to keep My commands, and My laws?
29 see, because Jehovah hath given to you the sabbath, therefore He is giving to you on the sixth day bread of two days; abide ye each [in] his place, no one doth go out from his place on the seventh day.'
30 And the people rest on the seventh day,
31 and the house of Israel call its name Manna, and it [is] as coriander seed, white; and its taste [is] as a cake with honey.
32 And Moses saith, `This [is] the thing which Jehovah hath commanded: Fill the omer with it, for a charge for your generations, so that they see the bread which I have caused you to eat in the wilderness, in My bringing you out from the land of Egypt.'
33 And Moses saith unto Aaron, `Take one pot, and put there the fulness of the omer of manna, and let it rest before Jehovah, for a charge for your generations;'
34 as Jehovah hath given commandment unto Moses, so doth Aaron let it rest before the Testimony, for a charge.
35 And the sons of Israel have eaten the manna forty years, until their coming in unto the land to be inhabited; the manna they have eaten till their coming in unto the extremity of the land of Canaan.
36 and the omer is a tenth of the 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