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Exodus 16:16-36

Context

16:16 “This is what 1  the Lord has commanded: 2  ‘Each person is to gather 3  from it what he can eat, an omer 4  per person 5  according to the number 6  of your people; 7  each one will pick it up 8  for whoever lives 9  in his tent.’” 16:17 The Israelites did so, and they gathered – some more, some less. 16:18 When 10  they measured with an omer, the one who gathered much had nothing left over, and the one who gathered little lacked nothing; each one had gathered what he could eat.

16:19 Moses said to them, “No one 11  is to keep any of it 12  until morning.” 16:20 But they did not listen to Moses; some 13  kept part of it until morning, and it was full 14  of worms and began to stink, and Moses was angry with them. 16:21 So they gathered it each morning, 15  each person according to what he could eat, and when the sun got hot, it would melt. 16  16:22 And 17  on the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers 18  per person; 19  and all the leaders 20  of the community 21  came and told 22  Moses. 16:23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a time of cessation from work, 23  a holy Sabbath 24  to the Lord. Whatever you want to 25  bake, bake today; 26  whatever you want to boil, boil today; whatever is left put aside for yourselves to be kept until morning.’”

16:24 So they put it aside until the morning, just as Moses had commanded, and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. 16:25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the area. 27  16:26 Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

16:27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, but they found nothing. 16:28 So the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse 28  to obey my commandments and my instructions? 16:29 See, because the Lord has given you the Sabbath, that is why 29  he is giving you food for two days on the sixth day. Each of you stay where you are; 30  let no one 31  go out of his place on the seventh day.” 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

16:31 The house of Israel 32  called its name “manna.” 33  It was like coriander seed and was white, and it tasted 34  like wafers with honey.

16:32 Moses said, “This is what 35  the Lord has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it to be kept 36  for generations to come, 37  so that they may see 38  the food I fed you in the desert when I brought you out from the land of Egypt.’” 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put in it an omer full of manna, and place it before the Lord to be kept for generations to come.” 16:34 Just as the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony 39  for safekeeping. 40 

16:35 Now the Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was inhabited; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 16:36 (Now an omer is one tenth of an ephah.) 41 

1 tn Heb “the thing that.”

2 tn The perfect tense could be taken as a definite past with Moses now reporting it. In this case a very recent past. But in declaring the word from Yahweh it could be instantaneous, and receive a present tense translation – “here and now he commands you.”

3 tn The form is the plural imperative: “Gather [you] each man according to his eating.”

4 sn The omer is an amount mentioned only in this chapter, and its size is unknown, except by comparison with the ephah (v. 36). A number of recent English versions approximate the omer as “two quarts” (cf. NCV, CEV, NLT); TEV “two litres.”

5 tn Heb “for a head.”

6 tn The word “number” is an accusative that defines more precisely how much was to be gathered (see GKC 374 §118.h).

7 tn Traditionally “souls.”

8 tn Heb “will take.”

9 tn “lives” has been supplied.

10 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is subordinated here as a temporal clause.

11 tn The address now is for “man” (אִישׁ, ’ish), “each one”; here the instruction seems to be focused on the individual heads of the households.

12 tn Or “some of it,” “from it.”

13 tn Heb “men”; this usage is designed to mean “some” (see GKC 447 §138.h, n. 1).

14 tn The verb וַיָּרֻם (vayyarum) is equivalent to a passive – “it was changed” – to which “worms” is added as an accusative of result (GKC 388-89 §121.d, n. 2).

15 tn Heb “morning by morning.” This is an example of the repetition of words to express the distributive sense; here the meaning is “every morning” (see GKC 388 §121.c).

16 tn The perfect tenses here with vav (ו) consecutives have the frequentative sense; they function in a protasis-apodosis relationship (GKC 494 §159.g).

17 tn Heb “and it happened/was.”

18 tn This construction is an exception to the normal rule for the numbers 2 through 10 taking the object numbered in the plural. Here it is “two of the omer” or “the double of the omer” (see GKC 433 §134.e).

19 tn Heb “for one.”

20 tn The word suggests “the ones lifted up” above others, and therefore the rulers or the chiefs of the people.

21 tn Or “congregation” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV).

22 sn The meaning here is probably that these leaders, the natural heads of the families in the clans, saw that people were gathering twice as much and they reported this to Moses, perhaps afraid it would stink again (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 197).

23 tn The noun שַׁבָּתוֹן (shabbaton) has the abstract ending on it: “resting, ceasing.” The root word means “cease” from something, more than “to rest.” The Law would make it clear that they were to cease from their normal occupations and do no common work.

24 tn The technical expression is now used: שַׁבַּת־קֹדֶשׁ (shabbat-qodesh, “a holy Sabbath”) meaning a “cessation of/for holiness” for Yahweh. The rest was to be characterized by holiness.

25 tn The two verbs in these objective noun clauses are desiderative imperfects – “bake whatever you want to bake.”

26 tn The word “today” is implied from the context.

27 tn Heb “in the field” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, NRSV); NAB, NIV, NLT “on the ground.”

28 tn The verb is plural, and so it is addressed to the nation and not to Moses. The perfect tense in this sentence is the characteristic perfect, denoting action characteristic, or typical, of the past and the present.

29 sn Noting the rabbinic teaching that the giving of the Sabbath was a sign of God’s love – it was accomplished through the double portion on the sixth day – B. Jacob says, “God made no request unless He provided the means for its execution” (Exodus, 461).

30 tn Heb “remain, a man where he is.”

31 tn Or “Let not anyone go” (see GKC 445 §138.d).

32 sn The name “house of Israel” is unusual in this context.

33 tn Hebrew מָן (man).

34 tn Heb “like seed of coriander, white, its taste was.”

35 tn Heb “This is the thing that.”

36 tn Heb “for keeping.”

37 tn Heb “according to your generations” (see Exod 12:14).

38 tn In this construction after the particle expressing purpose or result, the imperfect tense has the nuance of final imperfect, equal to a subjunctive in the classical languages.

39 sn The “Testimony” is a reference to the Ark of the Covenant; so the pot of manna would be placed before Yahweh in the tabernacle. W. C. Kaiser says that this later instruction came from a time after the tabernacle had been built (see Exod 25:10-22; W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:405). This is not a problem since the final part of this chapter had to have been included at the end of the forty years in the desert.

40 tn “for keeping.”

41 tn The words “omer” and “ephah” are transliterated Hebrew words. The omer is mentioned only in this passage. (It is different from a “homer” [cf. Ezek 45:11-14].) An ephah was a dry measure whose capacity is uncertain: “Quotations given for the ephah vary from ca. 45 to 20 liters” (C. Houtman, Exodus, 2:340-41).

sn The point of this chapter, with all its instructions and reports included, is God’s miraculous provision of food for his people. This is a display of sovereign power that differs from the display of military power. Once again the story calls for faith, but here it is faith in Yahweh to provide for his people. The provision is also a test to see if they will obey the instructions of God. Deut 8 explains this. The point, then, is that God provides for the needs of his people that they may demonstrate their dependence on him by obeying him. The exposition of this passage must also correlate to John 6. God’s providing manna from heaven to meet the needs of his people takes on new significance in the application that Jesus makes of the subject to himself. There the requirement is the same – will they believe and obey? But at the end of the event John explains that they murmured about Jesus.



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