Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Exodus 16- Manna is Given


1 And they continued 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 departing out of the land of Egypt.

“And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law.” Galatians 4:25

Paul says that Mount Sinai is in Arabia, which is not the Sinai Peninsula.

There is a mountain in North Western Saudi Arabia today called “Jebel al Laws” or (in English) “The Mountain of The Law.” The locals also call it “Jebel Musa,” or “Moses’ Mountain.” Gee, think this might be Sinai?

Actually, there are 13 different proposed sites for Sinai. Though I think most are inconsistent with the Bible and archaeological evidence, we just really don’t know which is the right one for sure. It does sound in the Bible like they were not far from Moses’ father-in-law (the priest of Midian), and Moses would certainly have been familiar with Midian (modern North Saudi Arabia), having been a shepherd there for forty years. It makes sense he would have brought his people there, or more accurately, that God would have sent him ahead forty years before to become familiar with where God would lead Israel.

So, I think Jebel al Laws is probably the right location (and our doubting may have a bit of western superiority complex to it), but wouldn’t be surprised for a couple of other places to be identified as the right location, either. But certainly not those on the Sinai Peninsula.

Just west of Jebel al Lawz is a community still called Elim that has (today) 12 springs/wells and a palm grove. In this land with little rain, things seldom change, even over hundreds (or thousands) of years.

2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained to Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

3 And the children of Israel said to them, “We wish we would have died by the hand of the I AM 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 into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

It is believed these flesh pots were large caldrons of meat the Egyptians kept cooking so anyone who was hungry could get all they wanted. It was in the Egyptian’s best interest to keep their slaves well fed and strong. Half-starved weaklings can’t do a lot of work.

Israel is now saying they would rather have been in slavery, or even been killed in the plagues, but at least had their fast food.

And it’s not like they were actually without food. They still had their herds with them, though to eat all they wanted would likely have required butchering most of them.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” –Benjamin Franklin

Unfortunately, America has made the choice to go the way of “safety” (subsidies, bailouts, price controls, wage controls, welfare, etc) instead of liberty. We have traded our freedom to control our own lives for the safety net of slavery to the government, just like Israel wanted to do.

4 Then said the I AM to Moses, “See, I will rain bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or not.”

God chooses to meet their need in a miraculous way. He gave them bread from heaven.

God wanted Israel to depend on Him, not their own skills at hunting, gathering, trading or conquering. He wanted them (us) as dependent on Him as a small baby is on his mother.

Though there has been a lot of speculation on what exactly manna was, we don’t really know.

Was it the fruit or flowers of some kind of tree that God made to shed every morning for forty years (except on Saturdays)? Fruit and flowers don’t generally melt in sunshine, though locals in Arabia have been known to sell jars of the fruit of the Tamarisk tree to tourists as Manna.

It may have been some sort of lichen that God caused to grow up six days of the week in exactly the right amount, and then to melt/dissolve in the sunshine. We know of lichens that behave sort of like this.

Or the disturbance from that comet passing so near may have somehow caused large amounts of bread-like substances to be swept into the sky and then fall on Israel. There are a few very minor mentions of something similar to Manna happening in other places with the description of what sounded like what we would expect the affects of a near passing comet to be.

Of course, God may have simply created grain from “thin air,” as it were, every morning, too. I don’t think of one as any less miraculous than the other, and we just don’t have enough science to know for sure which mechanism He used. Or more accurately, God hasn’t chosen to actually show us how He did this particular miracle yet.

5 “And it will come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they collect. And it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”

God performed several miracles here. We will read that exactly one omer (9.3 cups) of manna fell per person, it melted in the sunshine, so had to be gathered in a timely fashion first thing in the morning, and if they tried to keep it overnight, it spoiled…except on Friday. On Friday twice as much would fall and be gathered and it would last overnight. This would be such obvious control by God it makes it hard to understand how any of the Israelites ever doubted.

6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, “At evening, then ye will know that the I AM has brought you out from the land of Egypt.”

But God’s not even going to wait until the morning to prove Himself (like the plagues and parting the Red Sea weren’t proof enough.)

7 “And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the I AM, because He hears your complaints against the Him. And what are we, that ye complain against us?”

Moses and Aaron are taking this just a bit personally.

8 And Moses said, “This will happen, when the I AM will give you in the evening meat to eat, and in the morning bread until you are full. Because the I AM hears your complaints which ye complain against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us, but against the I AM.”

God tells them exactly what is going to happen; they will have meat in the evening and bread in the morning.

You know, these things might have just been coincidences, except God told Moses who told Israel ahead of time. Only the Lord God Almighty can predict the future with absolute accuracy. Each of these things that have happened in this entire book, happened just as God said they would, just when He said they would.

9 And Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, 'Come near before the I AM,  for He has heard your complaints.”

10 And 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 the I AM appeared in the cloud.

In the Hebrew language it is obvious this is the same cloud that has been leading them. Evidently it lit up in an unusual manner

11 And the I AM spoke to Moses, saying,

12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At evening ye will eat meat, and in the morning ye will be filled with bread, and ye will know that I am the I AM your God.’”

God repeats Himself to make sure they know it is Him doing this.

13 And it happened, that at evening the quails came up, and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

A flock of quail flew into the camp in the evening, giving the people all the meat they wanted. No more comment is made about this flock of quail, though God will repeat this miracle later.

14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, Wow! on 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 one to another, “It is manna.” for they didn't know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the I AM has given you to eat.”

“Manna” is believed to mean “What is it?” though we don’t know for sure.

16 “This is what the I AM has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for everyone, according to the number of people in your family. Take ye every man for them which are in his tents.’”

An omer was about 3.64 liters, or 2.3 quarts (a little more than a half-gallon). If this was wheat flour, it would be about the amount of flour necessary to make three dozen tortillas, plenty of food for a person for a day. I would assume God included all the nutrients necessary for good health.

Most of the time when history accounts say people didn’t have food, they mean meat and grains. What we call vegetables, especially salad greens just weren’t counted, though they were eaten (not enough calories to keep you alive, though they contain essential vitamins we don’t get from meat and grains). However, this is desert country Israel is in, and if it is at all like the desert area I live in, there wasn’t a lot of veggies growing anywhere around them.

17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.

The sick, elderly, and young children wouldn’t have been able to do as much gathering as, say, a twenty year old man.

18 And when they did measure it with an omer, he that gathered a lot had nothing over an omer, and he that gathered a little had no lack. They gathered every man according to his eating.

God made sure everyone had the same amount, no matter their ability.

19 And Moses said, “Let no one leave of it until the morning.”

God didn’t want anyone to horde this food or to try to be self-sufficient by saving it up. He knew how much they needed to be healthy and wanted to make sure they ate that much.

20 However they didn't listen to Moses, but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank. And Moses was angry with them.

Any leftovers spoiled. No “prepping” here.

21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating. And when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

22 And it happened, 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.

After any stores had spoiled they were concerned that there was twice as much as usual in everyone’s container, no matter who gathered what.

God had already warned them this would happen, but they obviously didn’t believe.

23 And he said to them, “This is what the I AM has said, ‘Tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath to the I AM. Bake that which ye will bake today, and boil what ye will boil, and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”

It is healthiest for the human body to rest one day out of seven, so God is enforcing that through His provision of the manna; two days’ worth falls on Friday and none will fall on Saturday.

It is good for our souls to take a day a week to concentrate on God, too, though the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus is our “Sabbath.” The spiritual part of the Sabbath commands were fulfilled through Christ. “Sabbath” means “too cease from work.” Jesus paid the price for our sins, so when we accept Him, we “cease from our work” of trying to save ourselves.

Hebrews 4:9 “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His.” (Read all of Hebrews 4.)

The Sabbath, from the time of Creation in Genesis 1, has been an “object lesson” to us of God’s provision of salvation through Christ. He made our bodies to need this rest to remind us of our need for Him.

24 And they kept it till the morning, as Moses told them, and it did not stink, neither was there any worm in it.

Six days a week, any extra gather spoiled. Miraculously, the extra gathered on Friday did NOT spoil.

25 And Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the I AM. Today ye will not find it in the field.

26 “Six days ye will gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there won't be any.”

27 And it happened, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day to gather, and they didn't find any.

Some people just refuse to listen.

28 And the I AM said to Moses, “How long will ye refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?”

God’s a bit frustrated.

29 “See, the I AM has given you the Sabbath, that's why He gives you on the sixth day the bread for two days. Stay ye everyone in his home. Don't let anyone go out of his home on the seventh day.”

God was serious about this resting on Saturday thing.

Of course, if He hadn’t been;

1. The people wouldn’t have gotten the rest the physically needed to be healthy, and

2. They may have become workaholics, letting their family life suffer and setting themselves up for burnout, and 

3. We wouldn’t be serious about Jesus being our rest now. If they could have “cheated” on the Sabbath, we could “cheat” now and find a way to work our way to Heaven. It’s just not possible.

30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

31 And the house of Israel called the name of it “Manna.” And it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Coriander seed is often used in cooking. It is a fairly small, yellow seed, .12-.20 inches, about the size of a large grain of sand. When sprouted and grown it is called cilantro (a hot, spicy herb).

This Manna looked like coriander seed except it was white and tasted sweet.

32 And Moses said, “This is what the I AM commands, ‘Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations, so they may see the bread that I have fed you with in the wilderness, when I brought you out from the land of Egypt. ‘”

God wanted a memorial kept.

33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna in it, and put it up before the I AM, to be kept for your generations.”

34 As the I AM commanded Moses, so Aaron put it in the Ark of the Testimony, to be kept.

We haven’t got to the building of the Tabernacle or Ark yet, but when we do, they will place this pot in the Ark. God will miraculously keep it from spoiling.

35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to an  inhabited land. They ate manna until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan.

Manna will be their main food source for forty years.

36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.

Like that helps the modern American.

An ephah is about 4.8 gallons.