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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Exodus

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FRAMEWORKS: Exodus 16: Manna and Quail


v.1-3 Israel grumble because of lack of food

v.4-7 Bread from Heaven promised

v.8-10 Grumbling & Glory

v.11,12 Meat & Bread Promised

v.13-15 Quail and Manna Appear

v.16-27 Instructions & Disobedience in respect of the Manna

v.28-31 Keeping the Sabbath

v.32-36 Saving some Manna



v.1-3 Israel grumble because of lack of food (SECOND Test)


v.1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt.

v.2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

v.3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”


[Notes: They have been traipsing through more desert and again start complaining. Now the truth is that they left Egypt with all their flocks and herds but they don't seem to contemplate killing their own meat. Again they grumble at Moses.]



v.4-7 Bread from Heaven promised


v.4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

v.5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

v.6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt,

v.7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?”


[Notes: The Lord's response is one of grace. He will provide for them but note that He will do it in a way that tests their obedience. God will provide ‘bread from heaven' but note the specific instructions:

•  for each day they are to collect only what they will need for that day.

•  on the sixth day they are to collect twice as much and prepare it.]



v.8-10 Grumbling & Glory


v.8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

v.9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.'”

v.10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.


[Notes: Moses challenges the people, pointing out that their grumbling is not so much at him but at the Lord. He will provide for them.]



v.11,12 Meat & Bread Promised


v.11 The Lord said to Moses,

v.12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.'”


[Notes: The Lord tells Moses to tell the people that by the evening they will have the meat they want and by the next morning the bread they want.]



v.13-15 Quail and Manna Appear

v.13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.

v.14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.

v.15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.


[Notes: As stated, in the evening quail came and fell on the camp and next morning a flaky material appeared all around them – the ‘bread from heaven' soon to be identified as Manna.]



v.16-27 Instructions & Disobedience in respect of the Manna


v.16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'”

v.17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.

v.18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

v.19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”

v.20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

v.21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.

v.22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses.

v.23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'”

v.24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it.

v.25  Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today.

v.26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

v.27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.


[Notes: Now note the instructions that were given before but are now expanded:

i] they are to collect sufficient for each person in their tent [v.16]. Note an ‘omer' is thought to have been about three pounds or 1.4 kilograms.

ii] they were not to keep today's supplies until tomorrow [v.19]

iii] On the sixth day they were to collect double the amount to be used up tomorrow which was to be a sabbath [v.22,23]

Typically, with a grumbling people, some disobeyed and collected more than was needed but the extra soon went moldy and became full of maggots [v.20]. The extra they collected on the sixth day did not go off though [v.24]. Some foolish people went out to collect on the seventh day but there was none on the ground [v.27].

A consideration of this provision that lasted throughout their time in the desert, suggests a truly miraculous provision – six days of provision, none on the seventh, extra taken went off except on the sabbath. Amazing!]




v.28-31 Keeping the Sabbath


v.28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?

v.29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.”

v.30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

v.31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.


[Notes: Note the institution of the sabbath even before the arrival of the Law. v.23 is the first mention of the sabbath in the Bible. It is a day of rest.]



v.32-36 Saving some Manna


v.32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.'”

v.33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

v.34 As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved.

v.35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

v.36 (An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.)


[Notes: The Lord commanded they keep a portion of this manna that, presumably, would not go off, so future generations when they were in the Land would see it. Eventually it was kept with the stone tablets of the Law. This provision carried on until the moment they entered the Land (see Josh 5:12)]



Continue to Chapter 17