New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary


Exo 16:1 They took their journey from Elim-
After one stop over to camp by the Red Sea (Num. 33:10,11). This stop next to the Red Sea was perhaps to help them reflect further upon the wonder of their deliverance through that sea.

This is the time of Jer. 2:2, when God saw Israel as following after Him in love into the wilderness. Yet at this very time the entire congregation murmured against Moses (:2). So this was His desire to see them positively because they still had their idols and were rebellious against Him from the day He knew them. Because He was so in love with them He was eager to interpret any move from them as love for Him. He likewise does not behold iniquity in Jacob, in us, His love imputes righteousness to us. He sees the positive and not the negative, and this is how we should see each other who are in Christ.

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 departing out of the land of Egypt-
"All the congregation" could be stressing the totality of deliverance. Although it is possible some Israelites preferred Egypt and remained in Egypt, they were not now part of the congregation. Crossing the Red Sea, like baptism for us (1 Cor. 10:1,2), defined who was in the congregation.

Exo 16:2 The whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness-
Israel continually "murmured" against Moses (Ex. 15:24; 16:2,7,8; 17:3; Num. 14:2,27,29 cp. Dt. 1:27; Ps. 106:25; 1 Cor. 10:10). Nearly all these murmurings were related to Israel's disbelief that Moses really could bring them into the land. Likewise Israel disbelieved that eating Christ's words (Jn. 6:63) really could lead them to salvation; and their temptation to murmur in this way is ours too, especially in the last days (1 Cor. 10:10-12). The Hebrew for "murmur" is the word for "stop", and is usually translated in that way. The idea is that they didn't want to go further on the journey; they wanted to return to Egypt. Despite the wonder of the Red Sea deliverance. Their hearts truly were in Egypt. This sense of not wanting to go onwards towards the Kingdom, to put a brake on God's saving process, is the same temptation which in essence afflicts all God's people who have started the journey with Him.

Presumably the food taken with them from Egypt was now exhausted, and perhaps they had found fish to eat during their encampment by the Red Sea mentioned in Num. 33:10,11.

Exo 16:3 and the children of Israel said to them, We wish that we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger-
The number of firstborn males after Israel left Egypt was remarkably small (around 20,000, Num. 3:43). Women in most primitive societies have an average of 7 births. this would mean that given a total population of around 2,800,000 on leaving Egypt (Ex. 12:37), there should have been around 400,000 firstborn males. But instead, there is only a fraction of this number. Why? Did all Israel eat the Passover? Were many in fact slain. My suggestion- and this is well in the category of things you will never know for sure and can only ponder- is that many Hebrew firstborns died on Passover night. Israel were warned that if they did not properly keep the Passover, “the Destroyer” Angel would kill their firstborn (Ex. 12:23). “The Destroyer” is mentioned in 1 Cor. 10:10: “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the Destroyer” (olothreutes; this is a proper noun in the Greek). Who was the Destroyer? If Scripture interprets Scripture, it was the ‘Destroyer’ Angel of Passover night. In similar vein Heb. 11:28 speaks of “He (the Angel) that destroyed (Gk. olothreuo) the firstborn”. Very soon afterwards, the people reminded Moses of this incident: “Would to God we (maybe this is the emphasis) had (also) died by the hand of the Lord (a phrase often associated with Angel’s work at Passover: Josh. 4:24; Is. 11:11; 19:16; Dan. 9:15; Heb. 8:9) in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pot (Young’s Literal) and when we did eat bread” (Ex. 16:3). They weren’t just saying they wished they had died in Egypt; they wished they had died by the hand of the Lord. Sitting by the flesh pot and eating bread is perhaps a reference to eating Passover that night, when in (perhaps) 90% of Hebrew families the firstborn had slumped down in death. They wished they too had died that Passover night. They felt Moses was going to kill them as, by implication, they blamed him for killing the firstborn. 

Moses had been weak and discouraged in the same way, accusing God of wanting to do them evil rather than save them (Ex. 5:23). And now this was what the people concluded in the desert, when they complained Yahweh had brought them into the desert to slay them. Moses would have found patience with them, because he would have realized that this same desperate conclusion, in the heat of desperation, was what he too had been guilty of. It is awareness of our own failures which provides the basis for others in theirs. God is without that aspect; His patience with human sin is therefore the more wonderful than ours.

It may seem incredible that the people so often assumed God was evil and not good, and wanted to destroy them. But we too are faced with these two choices- if we don't believe God is going to save us, then we are faced with the alternative of believing that He brought us out of the world just in order to condemn us. And it is unthinkable that God is evil. He is good and had already historically demonstrated that to Israel through the exodus and the plagues.

The test as to "What shall we drink?" in Ex. 17 was a repeat of that in Ex. 15 and Num. 20. The same basic test, although in regard to "What shall we eat?", was repeated in Ex. 16. The Lord alludes to this when warning us not to ask what we shall eat or drink but to live life trusting in God's provision. And this is how life goes- tests repeat, in essence, and we are intended to learn from how God provides and acts in earlier tests in our lives. And also from how He has provided historically, in the Biblical record. It's the same with how God had carefully instructed Moses how to use his rod, and therefore his failure with his rod was seen as so culpable.

The people complained they had had both bread and meat in Egypt. God gave them the manna every day,  but they were not satisfied. So He now gives them meat, but that didn't continue. By the time of Kibrothhattaavah in Num. 11, they were complaining that they had no meat and were bored of manna. It is the basic human feature of never feeling satisfied. The flesh is indeed insatiable. The quail were therefore only sent on two occasions. Unlike quail, manna was specially designed and created food for God's people. Verse 38 is clear that they ate manna 40 years, but no reference to eating quail. The simple message from the gifts of quail was that we do not in fact need extras beyond what God has provided. 

Exo 16:4 Then Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from the sky for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law, or not-
Ex. 5:13 speaks of the 'daily work quota' of Israel under Egyptian abuse. But the phrase is used of their daily work for Yahweh, in collecting manna (Ex. 16:4) and serving in the tabernacle (Lev. 23:37). They were being reminded that they had changed masters when they crossed the Red Sea, just as Paul says happens when we are baptized (Rom. 6). And the Red Sea crossing represented baptism into Jesus (1 Cor. 10:1,2). Like us, Israel were not radically free to do as they pleased. What happened was that they changed masters; hence the appeal to Pharaoh to let God's people go, that they may serve Him rather than Pharaoh. We too will only find ultimate freedom through this servitude to God's ways, and will finally emerge into the radical liberty of the children of God in the Kingdom age (Rom. 8:21).   

"A day's portion" is literally 'a word for a day'. "Portion" is dabar, the common word translated "word". Their obedience to the commandments relating to this gift of bread was to be a test of their obedience to God's word.  The Lord, quoting Dt. 8, taught that man does not live by bread alone but by every word from God. The idea was that the manna was not "bread alone", but was created by God's word. And in Jn. 6 He interprets the manna as Himself, in the sense that He was God's word and was begotten by that word.

The Hebrew is, "The thing / word of the day on its day ". The Lord alludes to this when teaching that we should allow the evil if each day to be dealt with on that day, not worry about the future, and just believe in God's daily provision. Truly it is in living life like this that "I will test you". The idea is to gather enough for the day. But I suggest the idea is also that whether or not they gathered less or more, it still worked out as an omer / person. And this was the test- a daily test, a test of their daily discipline in this matter, a test every day of whether they would put what they wanted over what they needed... wants over needs is the spirit of our age. Those who thought they were gathering more and thereby getting on better in life... found that for all their gathering more, it came out at the same. We need to learn that now, rather than learn it too late as we face our grave planks after a wasted life. For you can't keep any extra manna until the morning...

Ps. 78:18,19 gives us more insight- they tested God in their hearts by asking for bread, thinking "Will God be able to set a table in the desert?". Yet despite this, God graciously gave them the manna. And thereby, He tested them.

We need to imagine the tone of voice in which God spoke this, and how He felt as He provided food and drink for them:

He fed and watered them as a doting parent does a young child. Consider: "In the wilderness, you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place (Dt. 1.29–31). Or Hos. 11:1-4:
"When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and offering incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with bands of love.
I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks,
I bent down to them and fed them"

Note that last line: "I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks, I bent down to them and fed them". That was the spirit of love behind His feeding of them. And yet they demanded food and water like an ungrateful person assumes that the royal "they" must provide for me... and worshipped their idols more and more instead of being grateful. You could weep for God.

And yet God saw their very small love for Him, despite their idol worship, as wonderful: "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, How you followed me in the wilderness in a land not sown" (Jer. 2.2). "Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond to me as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt" (Hos. 2.14,15). This all sounds like the lover almost over eager to wildly over interpret any sign of love for him or even interest in his approaches. And we... love God. We thereby touch His heart, given His tragic experience with Israel.

Exo 16:5 It shall come to pass on the sixth day, that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily-
Israel's wilderness journey is a clear enough type of our own path after baptism. They were fed with manna one day at a time- this is so stressed (Ex. 16:4,19,20). There was to be no hoarding of manna- anything extra was to be shared with others (Ex. 16:8; 2 Cor. 8:15). But we live in a world where the financial challenges of retirement, housing, small family size [if any family at all]... mean that there appears no other option but to 'hoard manna' for the future. To some extent this may be a reflection of the way that life in these very last days is indeed quite different to anything previously known in history; but all the same, we face a very real challenge. Are we going to hoard manna, for our retirement, for our unknown futures? Or will we rise up to the challenge to trust in God's day by day provision, and share what's left over? "Give us this day our bread-for-today" really needs to be prayed by us daily.

The idea is that the same amount of manna was gathered on Fridays but when they came to use it, it was miraculously doubled. They lived with these daily and weekly miracles, let alone the water and cloud of fire... and still wanted to return to Egypt and eat their food. The believer experiences this kind of thing time and again. All basic needs are taken care of and we do not need to worry about how we shall live tomorrow. It is through the daily practice of this kind of life that we come to know / have relationship with Yahweh. 

Exo 16:6 Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, At evening, then you shall know that Yahweh has brought you out from the land of Egypt-
The stress is upon "Yahweh". The people wanted to perceive Moses as the one who had brought them out of Egypt, perhaps attributing the Red Sea deliverance to some ability to work magic which they supposed he had. Despite all the stress upon Yahweh as their deliverer, they preferred to think it was all due to a man. We have here a window onto the mindset which human nature so easily slips into; attributing God's clear action in our lives to human power.

It is living in this experience of daily provision and not worrying about tomorrow which makes us know / experience the Lord, and realize that indeed we were brought out of Egypt by baptism. No unbeliever has this amazing life experience. And knowing Him as our saviour, the One who brought us out of Egypt, is paralleled with seeing or perceiving His glory, just as powerful as Moses did on Sinai. For all Israel are called the men who saw His glory, although they turned away from it (Num. 14:22). They had His constant guidance in the cloud just as we do. But they didn't want to see it and perceive the wonder of it, whilst being technically aware of it.  

Exo 16:7 and in the morning, then you shall see the glory of Yahweh-
I will suggest on :14 that when the cloud of glory went up from them in the morning, the manna was revealed. The glory of Yahweh was therefore not simply a visible aura of Divine light, but His glory was revealed in providing food for them at the very time of their rebellion. For His glory is in His grace to sinners.

Because He hears your murmurings against Yahweh. Who are we, that you murmur against us?-
Israel’s rejection of Moses was a rejection of the God who was working through Moses to redeem them. Thus Korah and his followers “strove against Moses... when they strove against Yahweh” (Num. 26:9 cp. 16:11). Moses understood that when Israel murmured against him, they murmured against Yahweh (Ex. 16:2,7; Num. 17:5; 21:5). They thrust Moses away from them (Acts 7:27,39) - yet the same word is used in Rom. 11:2 concerning how God still has not cast away Israel; He has not treated them as they treated Him through their rejection of Moses and Jesus, who manifested Him. "Who are we...?" has the flavour of Moses' first response to his Divine commissioning: "Who am I?". Through the experience of their complaining and murmuring, he was further humbled.

Exo 16:8 Moses said, Now Yahweh shall give you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to fully satisfy you-
It's twice emphasized in Ex. 16:8,12 that the manna would completely fill them. In the morning, said Moses, you shall be filled. So the families were to have one big meal a day. Most rural African cultures likewise survive quite happily on one big meal in the morning. The manna gave complete satisfaction; and Jesus commented on this when He said that through His word we would be completely filled, we would eat and not hunger, drink and not thirst.

Because Yahweh hears your murmurings which you murmur against Him. And who are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against Yahweh-
Israel's murmurings about the lack of food did not discourage Moses, because he now better perceived the degree to which he was manifesting God. Here we see the beginnings of some real humility in Moses, due to his appreciation of God manifestation in him.

Exo 16:9 Moses said to Aaron, Tell all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come near before Yahweh, for He has heard your murmurings’-
"Come near before Yahweh" is usually translated "offer [sacrifice] before Yahweh", and is translated that way multiple times. Although rarely (Ex. 16:9; Lev. 9:5) it is used of the congregation coming near before Yahweh. But the congregation didn't generally want to come before Yahweh, and so He chose just the Levites to come before Yahweh (Num. 8:10; 16:9 s.w.). It was God's intention that all Israel should be His servants, a nation of priests. But He changed and ammended His approach, and chose just the Levites for this. We see here how open God is to change, so that by all means He may have relationship with His people. Under the new covenant, all believers are part of a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5) as He initially intended even under the old covenant. And yet there is always the tendency to leave the priestly work to specialists rather than perceiving our personal call to do it. 

Exo 16:10 It happened, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of Yahweh appeared in the cloud-
The Angel dwelt in the cloud, which at that time stood ahead of them in the surrounding desert. But it seems now that Angel revealed himself more, so that the glory of Yahweh visibly appeared through the cloud. But see on :14.

Exo 16:11 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying-
Moses wrote the Pentateuch, but there may well have been a Divinely inspired editor who added comments like this.

Exo 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At evening you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread: and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God’-
Israel were to be filled with the manna, so that they would know that "I am Yahweh your God" (Ex. 16:12). This was to be the meaning of the manna. There was a daily manifestation of God's glory along with the manna (Ex. 16:7 cp. 12). The daily sense of living with God's glory is so vital for each of us in our deeply personal spirituality. We know that faith comes from hearing God's word; so our feeding on God's word should lead us to know Yahweh. There was something intensely personal about the teaching of the manna: "He fed thee (singular- not "ye") with manna, that he might make thee know that (every) man (lives spiritually) by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Dt. 8:3).

Exo 16:13 It happened at evening that quail came up and covered the camp; and in the morning the dew lay around the camp-
"The quail was among the ancient Egyptians the emblem of safety and security". In which case we marvel at God's grace; assuring His rebellious people of their security at the very point of their rebellion against Him. Num. 11:31 says they were brought by a wind, and we have noted how Angel-winds had brought the plagues and driven back and forth the waters of the Red Sea. They were being taught how the essence of God's previous work for them (at their deliverance from the world and Red Sea baptism) was continuing for them. Ps. 78:28 stresses that God thoughtfully made the birds settle immediately around their tents- as if delivering food to their door, showing such grace at the very time of their murmuring against Him. The one off gift of quail at this time was to answer their desire for the meat of Egypt; they were fully satisfied by the manna, and were given quail to just demonstrate that actually, they didn't need it.

Exo 16:14 When the dew that lay had gone, behold, on the surface of the wilderness was a small round thing, small as the frost on the ground-
The dew would have come from a low lying cloud, and when it lifted the manna was revealed. The cloud of dew may have been part of the cloud of glory, through which the glory of God was to be revealed (:7). The glory of Yahweh was therefore not simply a visible aura of Divine light, the so called shekinah glory, but His glory was revealed in providing food for them at the very time of their rebellion. For His glory is in His grace to sinners.

Exo 16:15 When the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, What is it? For they didn’t know what it was. Moses said to them, It is the bread which Yahweh has given you to eat-
As noted on :14, the provision of manna was the revelation of God's glory, in that He was being gracious to sinners. But they didn't perceive His glory in providing food for their needs; just as they didn't perceive His glory in the Lord Jesus, who taught that the manna, the bread of God, represented Himself.

Exo 16:16 This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded: Gather of it everyone according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, you shall take it, every man for those who are in his tent-
An omer is three pints, about 1.5 liters. The Mosaic command to give, every man according to the blessing with which God had blessed him (Dt. 16:17), is purposely similar in phrasing to the command to eat of the Passover lamb, every man according to his need; and to partake of the manna (cp. the Lord Jesus), every man according to his need (Ex. 12:4; 16:6,16). According to the desperation of our need, so we partake of Christ; and in response, according to our blessing, we give, in response to the grace of His giving.  

This may not so much be a command, as a statement that no matter how much you try to gather, you only get what you need; it still came out at 1.5 liters, an omer. Theae profound truths are not just warnings for wealthy or materialistic. They are warnings for the poor, who may consider that wealth comes from abilities which they assume they lack. All of us in the end gather and get only what we need. Because beyond food, drink and shelter of God's provision, there is no further need.

Unlike the quail, the manna was miraculously in various ways. No matter how much was gathered, it was an omer per person. Those with greater appetites or need for food intake were all the same satisfied by an omer of manna. This was miraculous. Whatever gender or age, their needs were met by it. Again, our perceived needs are all equally met by God's daily provision. For the daily provision of manna is the basis for the Lord's teaching about trusting God's provision for our needs, and the manna likewise becomes the symbol for God's spiritual provision in the Lord crucified. The lesson of the manna is a radical attack upon consumerism and the quest for luxury living which has become the heartbeat of our society. Over consumption, obsession with expensive luxury food, chocolates, clothes, homes, holidays... is what wrecks society and dehumanizes individuals to deform the image of God. And it breeds pride. Yet "He humbled you... feeding you with manna" (Dt. 8:3); to trust on Him daily and seek for nothing else is indeed humbling, and yet human pride seeks for so much more. This is no call to asceticism, but to 'gathering enough' and trusting in Divine provision.

Exo 16:17 The children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some less-
They failed the test of simple obedience to the regulations given. They were to gather enough for their families. But some gathered more than that. See on :18.

We may think that some men gather more than others in this life, because some generate more wealth than others. The challenge of the manna story is to believe that actually we all gather the same. God provides for His rich and poor people alike. Those who worked harder to gether still found they had an omer of it / person.  

Exo 16:18 When they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack. They gathered every man according to his eating-
This states that the Israelites in the wilderness went out and gathered manna, they returned and measured it with an omer measure, and found that each person had the same omer of manna. The Jewish Midrash strayed from the Bible text, claiming that the stronger men gathered more manna and gave to the weaker, so that everyone had the same. This is a twist of the actual Biblical text; and yet Paul alludes to the idea in 2 Cor. 8:15 in order to make a point to his audience- that the wealthy should support the poorer. He does so in the same spirit as a Christian might quote the Koran in order to make a point to a Moslem- but this doesn’t mean that the Christian believes the Koran is God’s word. Paul and the Bible writers weren’t so on the back foot all the time that they as it were footnoted their allusions to incorrect beliefs with comments to the effect that “Now this is not actually what happened”.

Exo 16:19 Moses said to them, Let no one leave of it until the morning-
The Lord alludes to this in bidding us take no anxious thought for tomorrow (Mt. 6:34). They were not to store it up for the next day, but trust in God's provision each day. And again, the Lord's prayer alludes to this, in asking for the bread of today to be given us. The implications of these principles are huge, larger for us than for any other generation- living as we do in an age where we generally have no personal agricultural provision for our food, and must plan our savings in order to survive. Nothing was to be left until morning, just as with the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:10 s.w.). See on :24,29.

This could mean that they were to eat the entire omer. Because by a miracle this would satisfy their needs. They were not to eat just part of the omer. The supernatural nature of the manna is shown by the way it stunk and bred worms in the hours between midnight and morning if not eaten on the day it was given (:20). And yet this didn't happen on the sabbath (:24), again reflecting the supernatural nature of this food. Indeed some of the manna was as it were eternal in that it was kept in the ark for future generations.  It was Angels' food (Ps. 78:25). This is why it was called manna, 'What is it?', because it was so outside their experience.


Exo 16:20 Notwithstanding they didn’t listen to Moses, but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and became foul: and Moses was angry with them-
"Foul" is s.w. "stink", used of the results of some of the plagues upon Egypt (Ex. 7:18,21; 8:14). Again we see the theme of a disobedient Israel being treated as Egypt, and experiencing their judgments. For their hearts were in Egypt.

Exo 16:21 They gathered it morning by morning, everyone according to his eating. When the sun grew hot, it melted-
As discussed on :22, it could be that this means that when they measured what they had gathered, they found it was just enough for their needs. We note too that they were encouraged to be morning people, to gather the food in the morning, before the sun was high in the sky.

Exo 16:22 It happened that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one, and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses-
There is an apparent confusion as to whether Moses had told them on the sixth day to gather twice as much. I suggest that when they measured what they had gathered, they found it came to two and not one omer. And Moses then explained why this was the case (:23).

Again this is not describing what they did, but the miraculous way that manna gathered on a Friday became two omer worth per person. They told Moses about this experience because he had not previously explained to them what would happen. He wanted them to experience how God provides and that provision means we never have to sin (in this case to break the sabbath by collecting manna) in order to survive. It is in the context of the manna that Israel are formally told for the first time to keep the sabbath, :23, which is likewise a command about trusting in God's provision rather than our own  works. Remember that the ten commandments, which include the sabbath, had not yet been given. The sabbath is therefore a gift from God to man, :29, and not a chain nor burden. The Sabbath is not so much a command to rest from work because we all need a break; but rather a mechanism to stop people working all the time because they think this can lead them to success. It was a mechanism to stop materialism and the pursuit of wealth by work. And this is why it is introduced to man in the same context as the manna, inculcating trust in God's provision rather than trust in our own works. And it is therefore God's gift to man. The principle was to "gather enough", for you and your family. And if you gathered more in disobedience, it still didn't come to anything ultimately more.


Exo 16:23 He said to them, This is that which Yahweh has spoken, ‘Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to Yahweh. Bake that which you want to bake, and boil that which you want to boil; and all that remains over lay up for yourselves to be kept until the morning’-
This was so that they did not bake nor boil on the Sabbath- even though the legislation about the Sabbath had not yet formally been given. But clearly the law of Moses was a codification of previously existing conceptions and Divine requirements. 

Exo 16:24 They laid it up until the morning, as Moses asked, and it didn’t become foul, neither was there any worm in it-
I suggested on :19 that not storing manna for the next day was the basis of the Lord's command to not worry about tomorrow, and not to think we must prepare against it. But what we are to do is instead store up against the eternal tomorrow of God's Kingdom, which was represented by the Sabbath of rest, the seventh day of the creation week (Heb. 4:9).

Exo 16:25 Moses said, Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to Yahweh. Today you shall not find it in the field-
These were the words of Moses on the first Sabbath after the manna was given. That morning, they were told to eat "that" which they had gathered on the previous day.

Exo 16:26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day is the Sabbath. In it there shall be none-
The concept of the Sabbath may have been around prior to the time of Moses. But Israel in Egypt had not kept it, and so they are now being helped to get into the rhythm of keeping it- through the manna being given in double rate on the sixth day. We note how gentle God is in preparing the way towards obedience.

Exo 16:27 It happened on the seventh day, that some of the people went out to gather, and they found none-
Their disbelief and disobedience is quite astonishing. The miracle of the Red Sea obviously meant little to them; and Pentecostalism needs to note that it is simply not Bible teaching that dramatic miracles are required in order to believe. Israel had such miracles, and clearly were unaffected beyond an initial "Praise God!", no matter how sincerely that was felt at that moment.

The manna represented the word of God and the salvation which comes through its revelation of Christ (Jn. 6). Israel could gather it on six days of the week, but not on the seventh. The seventh day represents the Kingdom of God (Heb. 4:9; cp. how the manna ceased as soon as they entered Canaan, representing the Kingdom). Yet on the seventh day Israel sought to collect manna (Ex. 16:27), but found none- as the foolish virgins of the new Israel will seek the oil of the word when it is no longer available.

Exo 16:28 Yahweh said to Moses, How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?-
See on :27. Again, their disobedience is presented in terms of how Pharaoh and the Egyptians had sinned. For it was Pharaoh who had "refused" to obey God's commandment to let Israel go (s.w. Ex. 4:23; 7:14). Indeed, "How long do you refuse...?" was the very phrase addressed to Pharaoh (Ex. 10:3). Israel never left Egypt in their hearts, and acted as Egyptians, worshipping their gods still (Ez. 20:8).And so they are spoken to as the Egyptians they really were. 

Despite having been given double bread on the Friday, they still wanted more. The manna shows God's provision contrasted with man's tendency to never be satisfied by it. 


Exo 16:29 Behold, because Yahweh has given you the Sabbath, therefore He gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days. Everyone stay in his place. Let no one go out of his place on the seventh day-
There are a number of similarities between the record of the gathering of the manna and that of the Passover. They were to gather the manna according to the size of their families, and the collection was to be organized by the head of the house. Nothing was to be left until morning (Ex. 12:10 = Ex. 16:19,20). They were to not go out of their houses [to get manna] on the seventh day, as Israel had to remain at home on Passover night. This is all the language of the Passover. The lamb represented Jesus, and so did the manna. In John 6 the Lord says that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life; and He says the same about eating His words, which He has likened to the manna (Jn. 6:63). The idea may also be that they were to keep every seventh day as if it were a mini Passover, a celebration of the exodus deliverance. No wonder Paul compares the weekly breaking of bread service in Corinth to the Passover (1 Cor. 5:8).

Exo 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day-
The Divine record is being very generous to them. Because some of them didn't rest that seventh day (:27). 

Exo 16:31 The house of Israel called its name Manna, and it was like coriander seed, white; and its taste was like wafers with honey-
"Manna", literally "What is it?", suggests they never really grasped what it was. It was the revelation of Yahweh's grace to them, in that despite their deep apostacy and unbelief, He was daily feeding and saving them. And so the Lord Jesus likens Himself to the manna in Jn. 6, seeing that He was likewise not comprehended by Israel. The taste was as of "fresh oil" (Num. 11:8). The freshness of the taste was to demonstrate that it had been created specifically for them every morning.

One possible meaning of the Hebrew word for manna is "gift", that which is given as a present for no hope of return. Just like the Sabbath was a gift from God,  and is mentioned in the very same context. Our pride recoils against grace because we don't like pure gifts. We prefer to work for them. The amazing manna was amazing grace, but it was not satisfying to Israel. They preferred the hard labour and flesh pots of Egypt. The amazing grace of manna is therefore applied by the Lord to Himself. To His word and specifically to the gift of Himself on the cross.  

The manna was "what you knew not, neither you nor your fathers" (Dt. 8:3,16). Those who literally received it did not know or perceive the amazing grace behind it. And neither did "you", i.e. subsequent generations. This is our challenge, to know the manna. It is not simply a challenge to believe in God's material provision, but also in His spiritual provision in the Lord, the true bread from Heaven. We eat this even we break bread, for the Lord's words about drinking and eating Him in Jn. 6 are clearly John's version of the breaking of bread teaching.  The simple truth is that God provides for us spiritually every day. His word, His spirit, His salvation assured, are daily experiences. As a result we live with no fear nor worry of tomorrow.  

Exo 16:32 Moses said, This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded, ‘Let an omer-full of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt’-
"An omer" is LXX "the omer", suggesting that the pot in which it was placed contained an omer in volume. If the pot of manna was to be kept "hidden" within the ark in the most holy place, briefly visited once / year by the High Priest alone, we wonder how this could be 'seen' by subsequent generations. Was the high priest on their behalf to report back to them about it each year? I suggest however that God's purpose is open, and He changes the details as the Divine-human encounter progresses. Maybe it was initially His view that the pot of manna be kept in a more openly accessible place, but He withdrew the witness into the ark in the most Holy, as He perceived Israel's hardness of heart.

Exo 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer-full of manna in it, and lay it up before Yahweh, to be kept throughout your generations-
The manna, which went bad after only 12 hours, was miraculously preserved. It was a testimony to God's grace. He gave them manna at the very time that they rebelled against Him; and had as it were immortalized this piece of very temporary manna. The message was that His grace can likewise immortalize the weak human beings whom His grace engages with.   

Exo 16:34 As Yahweh commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept-
It was to be "before the Testimony" and yet somehow visible to all Israel (:32). I suggest that God's primary intention was that the place of "the testimony" was to be regularly opened to the common people, or the pot of manna regularly displayed to them. It was intended to be in front of the ark, or the tables of the covenant [both of which could be termed "the Testimony"], perhaps not even in the Most Holy Place; but it ended up being placed inside the ark (Heb. 9:4), and became known as the "hidden manna" (Rev. 2:17), when it was intended to be a public, openly beheld witness. But as Israel retreated from God, so it seems to me did Yahweh as it were retreat from His people, hiding Himself  ever deeper within the ark, the Most Holy place etc.  

Before the testimony meant before the tables of testimony, bearing the 10 commandments. Those stone tables are called the testimony in Ex. 25:16. The principles behind the manna, of living day by day in trust in God's provision and.not seeking more, were to be before God's law, they are the essence of all Divine law about human life. 

Exo 16:35 The children of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate the manna until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan-
This could suggest that we feed on the Lord Jesus and His word throughout our journey to the Kingdom, but then there will spiritual sustenance of a completely different nature. We will have no need of spiritual nutrition in the sense we required it during the journey there. The Bible is often not precise with figures and numerics, as was the case with all Semitic writings. God didn't feel the need to defend Himself against petty critics. And so here, the actual period was one month less than 40 years (Ex. 16:1 cp. Josh. 5:10-12). 

Exo 16:36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah-
Roughly 1.5 liters or three pints. Here and :35 would be examples of where a later, Divinely inspired editor [Ezra?] added explanatory words to the Pentateuch.