The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 16

The Israelites come to Sin and murmur for lack of bread, 1-3. God promises them bread and flesh from heaven, and they are rebuked, 4-12. Quails and manna are sent, 13-15. The ordering of manna, 16-24. It was not to be found on the sabbath, 25-31. An omer of it is preserved, 32-36.

1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, "O that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt when we sat by the flesh-pots and when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day so that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or not. 5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in. And it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." 6 And Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, "At evening you shall know that the LORD has brought you out from the land of Egypt, 7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, for he hears your murmurings against the LORD. And what are we that you murmur against us?"

8 And Moses said, "This shall be when the LORD gives you flesh to eat in the evening and bread to the full in the morning, for the LORD hears your murmurings which you murmur against him. And what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD."

9 And Moses spoke to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, 'Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your murmurings.'" 10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12 "I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At evening you shall eat flesh and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'"

13 And it came to pass, that at evening the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay around the host. 14 And when the dew that lay had gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "It is manna," for they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: 'Gather of it every man according to his eating. You shall take an omer for every man according to the number of your persons, each for those who are in his tent.'" 17 And the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had nothing left over and he who gathered little had no lack. They each gathered according to his eating. 19 And Moses said, "No man is to let any of it remain until the morning." 20 But they did not listen to Moses. Some of them let it remain until the morning, and it bred worms and became offensive. And Moses was angry with them. 21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating. And when the sun became hot, it melted.

22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said to them, "This is that which the LORD has said, 'Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake that which you will bake today and boil that which you will boil. And that which is left over, lay up for yourselves to be kept until the morning.'" 24 And they laid it up until the morning as Moses ordered, and it did not putrefy, neither was there any worm therein. 25 And Moses said, "Eat that today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD. Today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there will be none."

27 And it came to pass, that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather and they found none. 28 And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you [all] refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 Behold, because the LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore he gives to you on the sixth day the bread for two days. Each of you abide 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 And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like coriander-seed, white, and its taste was like wafers made with honey. 32 And Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD commanded, 'Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.'" 33 And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a pot and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD to be kept for your generations." 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony to be kept. 35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years until they came to a land inhabited. They ate manna until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan. 36 (Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.)


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 16[➚]


[v.4-5] - The Israelites were to gather of the bread only what they needed for a day. Then, on the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much so that they may take rest on the seventh day. This seventh day rest is a precursor to the sabbath day, a day observed because God rested from His work of creation on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 20:8-11). The sabbath day is a type and shadow of the eternal rest in heaven (Hebrews 4:9-10). This rest is of course made possible through the redeeming work of Christ (Matthew 11:28).

[v.13] - "quails" - John Gill cites Josephus, the Jewish historian, as saying that this area of the Arabian gulf has the most abundance of this sort of bird. Reference, Psalm 78:27.

[v.14-15] - God delivers the manna from heaven, which is a type and shadow of Christ. Christ had revealed to the Jews and His disciples that He is the bread sent from heaven. Jesus explained, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses did not give you that bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world... I am the bread of life. He who comes to me, shall never hunger, and he who believes in me, shall never thirst... I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world... This is that bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate manna, and are dead. He who eats of this bread shall live forever." (For the full explanation, read John 6:28-58.)

[v.15a] - LXX: "And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, 'What is this?' For they knew not what it was. And Moses said to them..."

[v.15b] - "It is manna" - Hebrew: מן הוא. From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "'Manna,' or as it is, 'Man-hu,' that is, 'What is it?' A nameless, great mercy, sweet and pleasant to the taste, and probably from its qualities medicinal also."

[v.17-18] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Is there not a sweet spiritual sense here, respecting the measure of the gospel? He that gathers most of Jesus, has nothing over, nothing to spare. And the soul that has the least of Jesus, can lack nothing beside." Reference, 2nd Corinthians 8:7-15; Ephesians 4:7.

[v.18] - Quoted in 2nd Corinthians 8:15.

[v.19a] - "Let no man leave of it until the morning" - This text may also be read as, "Let no man reserve any of it for use on the next day."

[v.19b] - Reference, Matthew 6:19.

[v.20-21] - Reference, Matthew 6:25-26, 31-33.

[v.28] - Text in square brackets added for implied meaning. This text was added to emphasize that the pronoun you is in the plural form and that God is not speaking only of Moses. From the Pulpit Commentary: "Though Moses is addressed, it is the people who are blamed. Hence the plural verb, 'refuse ye.'"

[v.32-34] - Some of the manna is to be kept for a memorial to the great work of God in providing the people of Israel manna to eat in the wilderness. This memorial was to be kept for all of the following generations. When Christ came, He revealed Himself to be the reason of this memorial (See John 6:28-58).

[v.32a] - "to be kept" - Reference, Hebrews 9:4.

[v.32b] - "the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness" - Reference, John 6:31-35.