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Exodus Chapter 16
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Elim and Sin
16:1 They moved on from Elim, and the entire community of Israel came to the Sin Desert, between Elim and Sinai. It was the 15th of the second month after they had left Egypt.
16:2 There in the desert, the entire Israelite community began to complain against Moses and Aaron.
16:3 The Israelites said to them, 'If only we had died by God's hand in Egypt! There at least we could sit by pots of meat and eat our fill of bread! But you had to bring us out to this desert, to kill the entire community by starvation!'

Promise of Food
16:4 God said to Moses, 'I will make bread rain down to you from the sky. The people will go out and gather enough for each day. I will test them to see whether or not they will keep My law.
16:5 On Friday, they will have to prepare what they bring home. It will be twice as much as they gather every other day.'
16:6 Moses and Aaron said to the Israelites, 'When evening comes, you will know that it was God who took you out of Egypt;
16:7 and in the morning, you will see God's glory. He has heard your complaints, which are against God. After all, what are we that you should complain against us?'
16:8 Moses said, 'In the evening, God will give you meat to eat, and in the morning, there will be enough bread to fill you up. God has heard your complaints, which you are actually addressing against Him. What are we? Your complaints are not against us, but against God!'
16:9 Moses said to Aaron, 'Tell the entire Israelite community to gather before God, for He has heard your complaints.'
16:10 When Aaron spoke to the entire Israelite community, they turned toward the desert. God's glory was visible in the clouds.

The Manna
16:11 God spoke to Moses, saying
16:12 'I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Speak to them and say, 'In the afternoon you will eat meat, and in the morning, you will have your fill of bread. You will then know that I am God your Lord.' '
16:13 That evening, a flock of quail came and covered the camp. Then in the morning, there was a layer of dew around the camp.
16:14 When the layer of dew evaporated, there were little grains all over the surface of the desert. It looked like fine frost on the ground.
16:15 The Israelites looked at it, and had no idea what it was. 'What is it?' they asked one another.
16:16 God's instructions are that each man shall take as much as he needs. There shall be an omer for each person, according to the number of people each man has in his tent.'
16:17 When the Israelites went to do this, some gathered more and some less.
16:18 But when they measured it with an omer, the one who had taken more did not have any extra, and the one who had taken less did not have too little. They had gathered exactly enough for each one to eat.
16:19 Moses announced to them, 'Let no man leave any over until morning.'
16:20 Some men did not listen to Moses and left a portion over for the morning. It became putrid and maggoty with worms. Moses was angry with [these people].
16:21 [The people] gathered it each morning, according to what each person would eat. Then, when the sun became hot, it melted.
16:22 When Friday came, what they gathered turned out to be a double portion of food, two omers for each person. All the leaders of the community came and reported it to Moses.
16:23 [Moses] said to them, 'This is what God has said: Tomorrow is a day of rest, God's holy Sabbath. Bake what you want to bake, and cook what you want to cook [today]. Whatever you have left over, put aside carefully until morning.'
16:24 They put it away until [Saturday] morning, as Moses had instructed. It was not putrid, and there were no maggots in it.
16:25 Moses announced, 'Eat it today, for today is God's Sabbath. You will not find [anything] in the field today.
16:26 You are to gather [this food] during the six weekdays, but the seventh day is the Sabbath, and on that [day] there will not be any.'
16:27 Still, some people went out to gather [food] on Saturday, but they found nothing.

The Sabbath
16:28 God told Moses [to say to the Israelites], 'How long will you refuse to keep My commandments and My law?
16:29 You must realize that God has given you the Sabbath, and that is why I gave you food for two days on Friday. [On the Sabbath] every person must remain in his designated place. One may not leave his home [to gather food] on Saturday.'
16:30 The people rested on Saturday.
16:31 The family of Israel called [the food] manna. It looked like coriander seed, [except that it was] white. It tasted like a honey doughnut.
16:32 Moses said, 'This is what God has commanded: Fill an omer measure with [the manna] as a keepsake for your descendants. They will then see the food that I fed you in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.'
16:33 Moses said to Aaron, 'Take an urn and fill it with an omer of manna. Place it before God as a keepsake for your descendants.'
16:34 As God commanded Moses, Aaron [later] placed it before the [Ark of] Testimony as a keepsake.
16:35 The Israelites were to eat the manna for 40 years, until they came to inhabited territory. They ate the manna until they came to the edge of the land of Canaan.
16:36 An omer is a tenth of an ephah.



Commentary:

Sin Desert
  See note on Exodus 15:22; Numbers 11:33; Ezekiel 30:15,16. This is the plain along the edge of the Sinai plateau called Debbet er-Ramleh.

the 15th...
  This was 30 days after the Exodus (see Exodus 12:6). Some say that this occurred in Alush (Numbers 33:13; Seder Olam Rabbah 5; Ramban). See note on Exodus 17:1.

Friday
  Literally, 'the sixth day.' There are no day names in Hebrew.

they will have to prepare...
  Since food cannot be prepared on the Sabbath; see Exodus 16:23 (cf. Betza 2b; Pesachim 74b).

gather before God
  See Exodus 16:33.

quail
  (Septuagint). Cf. Numbers 11:31,32, Psalms 105:40. The s'lav here is usually identified with Teturnix Xeturnix, the smallest member of the quail family, which is particularly abundant in the Red Sea area during the migratory season. They come up in immense numbers from Arabia and the other countries. Unlike the manna, the quails were only available this one time (Abarbanel).

grains
  Mechuspas in Hebrew. Or, 'small round balls' (Ibn Ezra; Saadia; Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim); see Exodus 16:31 (Sforno; Septuagint). Others, 'like hail-stones' (Rashbam; gresle in French); 'flakes' (Targum; Ramban); 'a sandwich' (Rashi); or 'something sticky' (Yoma 75b; Josephus 3:1:6).

fine frost
  Or fine chalky frost (Targum; Rashi). Cf. Psalms 147:16, Job 38:29.

What is it
  Man hu in Hebrew, which can also be translated, 'it is man,' or 'it is manna' (see Exodus 16:31). The word man here is taken to be a form of mah meaning what (Targum; Mekhilta; Ibn Janach s.v. Min; Josephus 3:1:6). Some say that it is an Egyptian expression (Rashbam; Ibn Ezra; Lekach Tov). Actually, in ancient Egyptian, 'what is this' would be ma nu, which would sound like man hu.

According to others the word man here means food (Rashi; Saadia; Ibn Ezra; Ibn Janach; cf. Sukkah 39b), possibly from the Egyptian (Sekhel Tov). The verse would then be translated, 'They did not know what it was, but when Moses said.... they said, 'It is food!' ' Others say that man is a gift, from the root manah (Radak, Sherashim).

In ancient Egyptian, the word man can mean a gift, something coming from the sky, or something coming every day. Significantly mem or man also denotes coriander (see Exodus 16:31).

omer
  A measure equal to around 2 quarts.

turned out to be
  (Mekhilta; Rashi).

leaders
  These were apparently the leaders of the tribes; see Exodus 35:27; Numbers 1:44, 2:3 ff.

Bake what you want...
  Since cooking is forbidden on the Sabbath (Rashi; Ramban; see Exodus 16:5).

Saturday
  Literally, 'the seventh day.'

to say...
  (Ibn Ezra).

designated place
  This indicates that it was forbidden to leave the environs of the camp and go more than 2000 cubits away from it (Cf. Eruvin 48a; Yerushalmi, Eruvin 1:10; Mekhilta on Exodus 21:13).

to gather food
  (Ibn Ezra; cf. Targum Yonathan). This is because carrying outdoors is considered a violation of the Sabbath (Eruvin 17b; cf. Numbers 15:32 f).

rested on Saturday
  This was the first Sabbath. It is from the manna that the Sabbath of creation became known.

family of Israel
  Or, literally, 'the house of Israel.' Some say that this designates the women (Hirsch; Targum Yonathan, Mekhilta, Rashi, on Exodus 19:3).

manna
  Man in Hebrew. See note on Exodus 16:15.

coriander
  (Rashi; Saadia; Ibn Janach; Ibn Ezra). Coriander is an old world herb, Coriandrum sativum of the carrot family. Its aromatic black seeds are used for seasoning. Others translate gad here to denote mustard seed (Ibn Ezra; cf. Sekhel Tov).

except that...
  (Rashi; Mekhilta; Radak, Sherashim). It looked like mother of pearl (Yoma 75a). See Numbers 11:7.

doughnut
  (Me'am Loez, Bilmuelos in Ladino) or pancake (Saadia; Ibn Janach; Abarbanel). Talmudic sources state that tzefichath was made from a poured batter rather than a dough (Makhshirin 5:9, Rashi, Bertenoro ad loc.; Rash on Challah 1:4; Sekhel Tov). Others, 'like dough prepared with honey' (Rashi), or 'honey wafers' (Saadia; Ibn Ezra; Septuagint). From other sources, however, it appears that tzefichath denotes a honeycomb (Rashi, Sotah 48b, s.v. Ha-tzefichath; Shabbath 43b, Betza 36a, s.v. Sh'tey Challoth). See Wisdom of Solomon 15:20,21.

urn
  A large clay jar (Mekhilta; Targum Yonathan; Rashi). According to others, the word tzintzeneth denotes a glass jar, so that the manna could be seen (Rabbenu Chananel; Abarbanel; HaGra on Mekhilta; Minchah Belulah). It might also have been a gold vessel (one possible translation of the Septuagint). In Egyptian, tzenat is a vase, and snu is a jar, while serbet is a vessel of silver-gold alloy. Sen is a kind of precious stone.

before God
  After the Tabernacle would be erected (Mekhilta; Rashi). But see Exodus 16:9).

later
  When the Tabernacle was made (see note verse 16:33 'before God').

Ark of Testimony
  (Rashi; see Exodus 25:10).

40 years
  See Numbers 14:33.

edge of land of Canaan
  Joshua 5:12.

ephah
  A measure, equal to 5 gallons or 22 liters.





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