Exodus 16 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
16:1 And they took their journey from Elim,
and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin
{ie., 'clay'},
which [is] between Elim and Sinai,
on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured
against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them,
Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt,
when we sat by the flesh pots, [and] when we did eat bread to the full;
for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
from Elim...- They were traveling south along the western side of the Sinai Peninsula.
A summary of Israel's journey from Egypt to the Jordan is given in Numbers ch. 33.
This point in the journey is noted at Num 33:9-11.
the whole congregation murmurred.- cp. Ex 14:11; 15:24; Psa 106:12-15
Unbelief is...
  • forgetful of God's deliverance, which leads to blaming Him for difficulty.
    To murmur against His representatives is to murmur against Him (v.7,8).
  • thankless for His provision, which leads to darkness about His Person & purpose. cp. Rom 1:21
  • blind to His hand upon them for good, which leads to imagining His hand upon them for evil. cp. Num 14:1-4
Contrast the perfect faith of "the true Israel" (Christ) in the wilderness, in Mat 4:1-11.
16:4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;
and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day,
that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
16:5 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.
16:6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel,
At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:
16:7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD;
for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD:
and what [are] we, that ye murmur against us?
16:8 And Moses said, [This shall be],
when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat,
and in the morning bread to the full;
for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him:
and what [are] we? your murmurings [are] not against us, but against the LORD.
16:9 And Moses spake unto Aaron,
Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel,
Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
16:10 And it came to pass,
as Aaron spake unto 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.
16:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying,
At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread;
and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD your God.
16:13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp:
and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
While they were yet in unbelief, the LORD made provision, so that they might know Him (v.6,7,12).
cp. Isa 43:10,11; Joh 10:37,38; 17:3; Eph 1:17-20
16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold,
upon the face of the wilderness [there lay] a small round thing,
[as] small as the hoar frost on the ground.
{cp. Psa 147:16}
16:15 And when the children of Israel saw [it], they said one to another,
It [is] manna: for they wist not what it [was].
And Moses said unto them, This [is] the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
16:16 This [is] the thing which the LORD hath commanded,
Gather of it every man according to his eating,
an omer
{a unit of measure, cp. v.36} for every man,
[according to] the number of your persons;
take ye every man for [them] which [are] in his tents.
16:17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
16:18 And when they did mete
{ie., measure} [it] with an omer,
he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack;
they gathered every man according to his eating.
16:19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
{cp. Ex 12:10}
16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses;
but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank:
and Moses was wroth
{ie., angry} with them.
16:21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating:
and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
an omer - The daily portion of manna for a man.
This unit of measure is 'the tenth part of an ephah' (v.36).
Elsewhere, an ephah is defined as the tenth part of an 'homer' (Eze 45:11).
An 'omer' was equivalent to about 2 liters (about 2 quarts).
An 'homer' was approximately 200 liters (about 50 gallons).
Manna - The name is composed of two HB words, which together mean: "What is it?" (cp. v.15).-
Manna was Israel's primary physical food until the end of their 40 years in the wilderness (cp. v.35; Num 11:5-8; Josh 5:10-12). Because it was supernaturally provided by God, manna also had a heavenly and spiritual character (cp. Psa 78:24,25; 105:40; 1Cor 10:3).
Manna is a type (or picture) of Christ...
  1. the 'bread of heaven,' upon the earth, cp. v.14,15; Joh 6:32-38,48-51
  2. 'a small thing' in the eyes of men -
    • He came in humility. cp. Isa 53:2
    • He suffered humiliation. ('What is it?') cp. Isa 53:3
  3. permeated with the taste of 'oil' and 'honey' (v.31; Num 11:8).
    • Oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. cp. Joh 3:34
    • Honey speaks of unmatched sweetness for the one who partakes of Him.
The appropriate response of Faith...
  1. 'Every man' must individually receive Him by faith, if he would be saved from death.
    (v.16; Joh 6:36-37,53-58; Also see the Notes at Joh 6:47-63.)
  2. Every man must gather this bread daily 'according to his eating,' without hoarding.
    To feed on Christ is to meditate on Him & to learn more of Him through God's Word.
       "As a man is not nourished by the 'memory' of food, so the [believer] cannot be spiritually sustained on past appropriations of Christ." [NewScofRB]
       God does not want us to be theorists, hoarding intellectual knowledge to ourselves. Scriptural knowledge, unapplied to life, breeds error and corruption. The manna from heaven (Christ) will strengthen us according to our needs, in life and service. He satisfies in proportion to our hunger for Him. Joh 6:35; 1Pet 2:2,3; 2Pet 3:18; Php 1:21; 3:7-10; Rev 3:20
16:22 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.
16:23 And he said unto them,
This [is that] which the LORD hath said,
To morrow [is] the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD:
bake [that] which ye will bake [to day], and seethe that ye will seethe;
and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade:
and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day [is] a sabbath unto the LORD:
to day ye shall not find it in the field.
16:26 Six days ye shall gather it;
but on the seventh day, [which is] the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
16:27 And it came to pass,
[that] there went out [some] of the people on the seventh day
for to gather, and they found none.
16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses,
How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath
therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days;
abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
16:30 So the people rested
{HB=shabath} on the seventh {HB=shebiyiy} day.
16:31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna:
and it [was] like coriander seed, white;
and the taste of it [was] like wafers [made] with honey.
The inappropriate responses of Unbelief...
  1. disregard of God's Word and His adequate provision. v.19,20
    By gathering more than needed today, I can assure myself of rest tomorrow.
    Such resources are stored up unto death, with its stench and worms (eg., Luk 12:19-21).
  2. ignorance of God's Word, causing misjudgment. v.22,23
    Even the elders failed to differentiate the Sabbath from other days.
    Ignorance, of God's Word, leads to error (eg., Mat 22:29).
  3. disregard of God's 'rest', making labor futile. v.27
    Their efforts produced no bread, but provoked God's displeasure. v.28
    Labor, even in Christ's name, is empty, if it does not rest on Him (eg., Mat 7:22,23).
the sabbath {HB=shabbath, an intermission, a repose}... rest {HB=shabath, to cease} - v.29,30
This is the first mention of the 'sabbath rest', since Gen 2:2,3.
Following man's sin, God could not rest, until He accomplished His work of redemption.
Since He had now redeemed His people from Egypt, they were to regularly remember the rest which He had provided from their enemies, in keeping with His Covenant with Israel (cp. Ex 31:13-17).
This sabbath rest foreshadowed...
  1. Israel's later rest in the promised land of Canaan (when "the manna 'ceased' {ie., 'rested', HB=shabath}", Josh 5:12).
  2. The believer's spiritual rest in the completed work of Christ, the true manna (Heb 4:1-11).
two omers... laid up till the morning... did not stink, neither was there any worm in it.-
The 'double measure' of manna, stored up for the Sabbath, did not go bad. v.22-25
Why not? - Because it was stored up...
  • in obedience to the Word of God,
  • in cessation from the work of the flesh, and
  • in appropriation of God's sabbath rest.
16:32 And Moses said, This [is] the thing which the LORD commandeth,
Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations;
that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness,
when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.
16:33 And Moses said unto 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.
16:34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
16:35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited;
they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
16:36 Now an omer [is] the tenth [part] of an ephah.
A full measure of manna was stored up in the 'Testimony' (ie., the Ark of the Covenant).
- - The Ark and its function will be discussed in detail in subsequent chapters. Briefly:
The Ark (an item of furniture in the Tabernacle) symbolized the holiness, justice and mercy of God. Within it, God's written 'Testimony' {ie., the Covenant, the Law} was eternally preserved, though men would break it (cp. Ex 25:16). Within it also, a pot of manna was a perpetual reminder of God's provision that man might live. The Ark's location, within the 'Holy of Holies,' symbolized God's throne in heaven.
Here also is a picture of Christ, the Bread of heaven...
  • who became the believer's Sabbath rest (by means of His death).
  • who is now (by means of His resurrection & ascension)...
    • in heaven, preserved in the presence of God, the believer's sustenance and security (Heb 4:14-16; 6:19,20; Rev 11:19).
    • hidden from the view of men, yet, continually nourishing those who feed on Him (Rev 2:17; 3:20).
    • the full measure of every believer's daily need (2Pet 1:2,3).

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