Sunday, August 19, 2012

XLII - Exodus Chapter 16 - Manna and Quail

Exodus Chapter 16  -  Manna and Quail

The nation Israel is on its way.  They are no longer slaves in bondage.  They are free and are on their way to the promised land, "a land flowing with milk and honey".  They are faced with so many unknowns, which causes both excitement and fear.  They are following a proven leader in Moses and it has been proven beyond a doubt that this is the man that God has chosen to lead the new nation.  These people have seen God perform miracles that would not be believable if not seen with their own eyes.  God has chosen quite an indirect route for the Israelites to take, but these former slaves would not know that.  {Slaves were bound to a very small radius from their living quarters.  They were not educated beyond that which would be helpful to their Egyptian owners.  History tells us that slaves, however sometimes abused by their owners, adopt a sense of loyalty to them.  This is mainly due to the fact that throughout the life of the slave, the owners are the only source of anything and everything.  The slave received nothing without the direct consent of the owner, therefore there was a sense of security associated with the owner, no matter the conditions under which the slave existed.  Being released from the owner would, in most cases, result in an insecure and frightening feeling.  If you've ever seen the movie Shawshank Redemption, this is shown in a somewhat exagerated fashion.  In the movie, it is refered to as institutionalized.  A lifetime prisoner is released into society and suddenly dependant upon himself for everything.  He is unprepared mentally, physically, and emotionally.  As the movie showed, it was easier to be put back into prison where they would be taken care of, as they had become accustomed.  Being confined to the prison walls seemed to many to be a small price to pay, having everything provided and not being forced to make any decisions for survival.}

In yesterday's post we left Israel in Elim, which was a wonderful place to camp, rest, and gather their thoughts.  But it was only a temporary camp.  Vss1-3  -  It was now time to continue their journey.  They left Elim and headed south into the Desert of Sin.  This happened on the fifeenth day of the second month.  (They have their own calender now.)  I'm not certain how much time has passed, but enough time for them to grow weary of unkind elements and grumble to Moses.  They were hungry with no end in sight.  True to form, they told Moses that they would have been better off to have stayed in Egypt as slaves.  (Moses has heard this one before.)  They said that in Egypt they had meat and plenty to eat.  (Something of an exageration, but unhappy and desparate people are inclined to do that when making an appeal.)

Vss 4-->  God told Moses that He will rain bread from heaven.  Bread from heaven meant that God would furnish to food directly.  God would send down this food every day.  They were to collect what they needed for their families every day.  Whatever was extra would rot before the next day.  On the sixth day they were to collect double the amount because on the seventh day (the Sabboth) they were not to work in gathering of their food.  God wants His people to rest every seven days.  Note that God would provide their food, but only one day at a time.  Thus, they would be reminded daily of their dependance on God as their Provider.  Also, God provides a reminder every sixth day that the seventh day is to be set aside.  This marked the beginning of Israel observing the Sabboth.  Note in verse 9 that Moses scolds them for their grumbling and reminds them (this is important) that they are not grumbling about Moses, but rather they are they are grumbling about God.  This is a hard lesson for all of us to learn.  Vss 13-15  -  So God provided  two kinds of food:  meat and bread.  Quail came in the evenings and they found manna in the mornings.  They named it manna which
means "what is it?".   They were to gather about 2 quarts per person per day.  (vs 20) Some of course disobeyed and took too much, but found it rotten and full of maggots the next morning.  However, as promised, that which was collected extra on the sixth day stayed fresh over night.  Vs 27 - Some went out on the seventh day and found none.  {These were probably the people who were not obedient and did not gather double on the sixth day.}  Not only was this manna provided for sustanance, but it also tasted good as it says it was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 

Vss 32-36  -  This is interesting.  God instructs them (through Moses) to collect about six pounds of manna, seal it up in a jar so it will keep for generations to come.  {They had ceramic type of containers and they, having come from Egypt, knew how to permanently seal such containers.}  In vs 34 Moses (God's chosen author of Exodus) gave us a peek into the not-too-distant future.  He mentions the tablets, which will not exist until they reach Mt. Sinai.  He said the jar of manna was to be preserved with the tablets for future generations.  {These tablets are the two stones on which the Ten Commandments will be written.  These tablets, the manna, and the staff of Moses are the three items that are placed in the Ark of the Covenant.  This Ark of the Covenant will be a subject of much discussion later.}  This chapter ends with saying that they will eat manna for forty years until they reach the border Canaan, which would be in Palestine, where they would be able to raise their own food.  But this chapter ends somewhat jumping ahead.  There is so much more written about their forty year journey through the wilderness, at which we'll pick back up on the next post.

Next post - Exodus Chapter 17


  1. Why do you think the tablets are mentiond here? Does it really jump ahead here and then go back in the past? I'm a little confused.

    1. Moses authored Exodus. He might have just mentioned it without giving thought to chronologic accuracy. As mentioned in the blog posting, it is something of a peek into the near future, but harmless.