The Book of Exodus, Chapter 16

This chapter is about the manna falling from Heaven. Plus what a lot of people forget: Quail. The Israelites got to eat the manna in the morning. Then in the evening, they got to eat quail. Well, this chapter is pretty straight-forward. Enjoy!

All of the Israelites set out from Elim & came to the Desert of Sin. (Yes, that’s what the text calls it! Now why it’s called this is not stated in the Christian/Jewish bible. If anyone knows why this desert is called Sin, let me know in the comments. We’ll be more than happy to edit this part & gave you a shout-out for helpin’ us out!) This desert was between Elim & Sinai. This happened on the 15th day of the 2nd month after the Israelites left Egypt.

The Israelites start complaining about food. Or the lack thereof. God then told Moses: “I’ll make it rain manna down from Heaven. The people are to go get enough for that day. No more, no less. In this way, I’m gonna test them (the Israelites). Only on the 6th day can they get a double helping of manna.”

So Moses & Aaron told all the Israelites that they would see the glory of God in the morning. Then Moses tells off the Israelites a little bit. “”Why are complaining at us for? You’re really complaining against God. God is the one who is feeding us right now. So really guys?!”

Moses told Aaron to tell the Israelites to come before God because He has heard all of your complaining. While Aaron was speaking to the people, they looked toward the desert. There was the glory of God appearing in the cloud. God says to Moses that He’s heard the complaining of the people. Then the game of telephone begins: God wants Moses to tell the Israelites: “At twilight you’ll eat meat. In the morning, you’ll be filled with manna. Then you’ll know I’m God.”

That evening, quail came & covered the camp. In the morning, there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground showed up. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What IS it?!’ They didn’t know what it was.

Moses tells them that it’s the bread God has given you. He then tells them to take an omer (this is a unit of measurement. An omar is probably about 2 quarts or about 2 liters.) for each person in the household. The Israelites did as Moses says. Some got a bunch of manna, others gathered not so much. They measured the gathered manna, by the omar, & no one had too much or too little.

Moses told them not to keep it till morning. Some didn’t listen to Moses & kept some until the morning. The manna was full of maggots & began to smell. Moses gets mad at them.

Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed. When the sun grew hot (I’m assuming this would noontime.), the manna “melted away.” On the 6th day (I would assume that in our modern calendar this “6th day” would be Friday. Because modern followers of Judaism’s Sabbath is on Saturday.), they collected twice as much manna. Because of the Sabbath was the next day & you don’t work on the Sabbath. Not even to feed yourself. They had to work the manna (bake it, cook it, whatever.) on the 6th day. This was the only day that the manna wouldn’t melt away or become full of maggots/become smelly.

However, there were some who didn’t listen to Moses, again! They went out on the 7th day (the Sabbath) to collect manna. But they didn’t find any. God says to Moses: “How long will y’all keep disobeying my commands/instructions?! I’ve given y’all the Sabbath! No one is to do ANYTHING! That’s why I’ve given you the double manna the day before.” So the people relaxed/rested on the 7th day (the Sabbath).

The Israelites ended up calling the “bread from Heaven,” manna (Manna means “What is it?”). The manna was white like coriander seed. It tasted like wafers made with honey. (So to me, it sounds like a communion wafer.)

Moses told the Israelites to take some of the manna (an omar) & keep it for generations to come. (The manna ends up in the Ark of the Covenant, along with the Ten Commandments.) So that the generations to come can see the bread that God gave us in the desert, when God brought us out of Egypt. So Moses told Aaron to take a jar & put the manna into it.

God commanded Moses to put the jar of manna IN FRONT of “the Testimony,” so that it could be kept. (The Testimony is the Ark.) The Israelites ate manna for 40 years. Until they came to a land that was settled. They ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

This chapter ends weirdly. (I think.) Verse 36 says: “An omer is one tenth of an ephah.” Why it would end like this…who knows?


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