Exodus Chapter 16: 2-4, 11-15, 18, 32-34 Antique Commentary Quotes

John Calvin
Exo 16:11
11.And the Lord spoke unto Moses Moses here shows that he had done nothing without God’s command, but had faithfully and modestly discharged the office of a minister. And, surely, unless he had spoken according to God’s word, he would have been rash in promising what we have already seen. Therefore, this is put last in order, though it happened first; and, consequently, I have used the causal particle instead of the copula. The sum is, as before, that God will vindicate His own glory, which the people had impiously impugned, and that He would do good to them, unworthy as they were, in order to glorify His name; as if He had said, After you shall have been convicted of ingratitude, you will then be obliged to confess that I am really the only God, and at the same time your Father.

Keil and Delitzch
Exo 16:9-12
But before Jehovah manifested Himself to the people in His glory, by relieving their distress, He gave them to behold His glory in the cloud, and by speaking out of the cloud, confirmed both the reproaches and promises of His servants. In the murmuring of the people, their unbelief in the actual presence of God had been clearly manifested. “It was a deep unbelief,” says Luther, “that they had thus fallen back, letting go the word and promise of God, and forgetting His former miracles and aid.” Even the pillar of cloud, this constant sign of the gracious guidance of God, had lost its meaning in the eyes of the people; so that it was needful to inspire the murmuring multitude with a salutary fear of the majesty of Jehovah, not only that their rebellion against the God who had watched them with a father’s care might be brought to mind, but also that the fact might be deeply impressed upon their hearts, that the food about to be sent was a gift of His grace. “Coming near before Jehovah” (Exo_16:9), was coming out of the tents to the place where the cloud was standing. On thus coming out, “they turned towards the desert” (Exo_16:10), i.e., their faces were directed towards the desert of Sin; “and, behold, the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud,” i.e., in a flash of light bursting forth from the cloud, and revealing the majesty of God. This extraordinary sign of the glory of God appeared in the desert, partly to show the estrangement of the murmuring nation from its God, but still more to show to the people, that God could glorify Himself by bestowing gifts upon His people even in the barren wilderness. For Jehovah spoke to Moses out of this sign, and confirmed to the people what Moses had promised them (Exo_16:11, Exo_16:12).

John Gill
Exo 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel,…. This Moses and Aaron had often affirmed, and now the Lord confirms what they had said, and lets them know that he took notice of their murmurings, and disapproved of them, and was displeased with them; though he did not think fit to resent them in an angry way, but dealt kindly and graciously with them; and since he had brought them into a wilderness, which was his own act, he would take care of them, and provide for them; which they might reasonably conclude he would, since he had done so many great and good things for them, in bringing them out of Egypt, and through the Red sea, and had slain all their enemies, and had given them water when in distress, and therefore need not have murmured nor have doubted but that he would give them bread also:

speak unto them, saying, at even ye shall eat flesh; meaning that very evening, when the quails came up, as the following verse shows:

and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; the next morning, when the manna fell around their camp, so that they had bread, and fulness of it:

and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God; good and gracious, kind and merciful, ever mindful of his covenant and promises, able to supply their wants, and provide them with everything necessary and sufficient for them.

John Calvin
Exo 16:13
13.And it came to pass.We shall afterwards see, that, when from weariness of the manna they began to desire meat, quails were again given them; but, while they were yet in their mouths, a terrible punishment was inflicted upon their gluttony. When here they had only complained of their want of food, God for once satiated them with flesh, that He might show them that He has in His hand all kinds and quantity of meats. Yet, it was His will that they should be content with one single sort; for, although they had complained that they were deprived of flesh, at the pots of which they had formerly sat, yet it was not reasonable that He should comply altogether with their unholy desires. Besides, it was profitable for them that certain bounds should be set, that they might learn dependence on His will.

Exo 16:13
At even the quails came – שלו selav, from שלה salah, to be quiet, easy, or secure; and hence the quail, from their remarkably living at ease and plenty among the corn. “An amazing number of these birds,” says Hasselquist, Travels, p. 209, “come to Egypt at this time, (March), for in this month the wheat ripens. They conceal themselves among the corn, but the Egyptians know that they are thieves, and when they imagine the field to be full of them they spread a net over the corn and make a noise, by which the birds, being frightened, and endeavoring to rise, are caught in the net in great numbers, and make a most delicate and agreeable dish.” The Abbé Pluche tells us, in his Histoire du Ciel, that the quail was among the ancient Egyptians the emblem of safety and security. “Several learned men, particularly the famous Ludolf, Bishop Patrick, and Scheuchzer, have supposed that the שלוים selavim eaten by the Israelites were locusts. But not to insist on other arguments against this interpretation, they are expressly called שאר sheer, flesh, Psa_78:27, which surely locusts are not; and the Hebrew word is constantly rendered by the Septuagint ορτυγομητρα, a large kind of quail, and by the Vulgate coturnices, quails. Compare The Wisdom of Solomon 16:2, 19:12; Num_11:31, Num_11:32; Psa_105:40; and on Numbers 11 observe that כאמתים keamathayim should be rendered, not two cubits high, but as Mr. Bate translates it, ‘two cubits distant, (i.e., one from the other), for quails do not settle like the locusts one upon another, but at small distances.’ And had the quails lain for a day’s journey round the camp, to the great height of two cubits, upwards of three feet, the people could not have been employed two days and a night in gathering them. The spreading them round the camp was in order to dry them in the burning sands for use, which is still practiced in Egypt.” See Parkhurst, sub voce שלה salah.

Harmer: “No interpreters, Bishop Patrick complains, supposing they were quails, account for the spreading them out in the sun. Perhaps they have not. Let me then translate a passage of Maillet, which relates to a little island which covers one of the ports of Alexandria: ‘It is on this island, which lies farther into the sea than the main land of Egypt, that the birds annually alight which come hither for refuge in autumn, in order to avoid the severity of the cold of our winters in Europe. There is so large a quantity of all sorts taken there, that after these little birds have been stripped of their feathers, and buried in the burning sands for about half a quarter of an hour, they are worth but two sols the pound. The crews of those vessels which in that season lie in the harbour of Alexandria, have no other meat allowed them.’ Among other refugees of that time, Maillet elsewhere expressly mentions quails, which are, therefore, I suppose, treated after this manner. This passage then does what, according to the bishop, no commentator has done; it explains the design of spreading these creatures, supposing they were quails, round about the camp; it was to dry them in the burning sands in order to preserve them for use. So Maillet tells us of their drying fish in the sun of Egypt, as well as of their preserving others by means of pickle. Other authors speak of the Arabs drying camel’s flesh in the sun and wind, which, though it be not at all salted, will if kept dry remain good a long while, and which oftentimes, to save themselves the trouble of dressing, they will eat raw. This is what St. Jerome may be supposed to refer to, when he calls the food of the Arabs carnes semicrudae. This drying then of flesh in the sun is not so preposterous as the bishop imagined….

…Their immense quantities also forbid the bishop’s believing they were quails; and in truth he represents this difficulty in all its force, perhaps too forcibly. A circle of forty miles in diameter, all covered with quails to the depth of more than forty-three inches, without doubt is a startling representation of this matter: and I would beg leave to add that the like quantity of locusts would have been very extraordinary: but then this is not the representation of Scripture; it does not even agree with it; for such a quantity of either quails or locusts would have made the clearing of places for spreading them out, and the passing of Israel up and down in the neighborhood of the camp, very fatiguing, which is not supposed.

“Josephus supposed they were quails, which he says are in greater numbers thereabouts than any other kinds of birds; and that, having crossed the sea to the camp of Israel, they who in common fly nearer the ground than most other birds, flew so low through the fatigue of their passage as to be within reach of the Israelites. This explains what he thought was meant by the two cubits from the face of the earth – their flying within three or four feet of the ground.

“And when I read Dr. Shaw’s account of the way in which the Arabs frequently catch birds that they have tired, that is, by running in upon them and knocking them down with their zerwattys, or bludgeons, as we should call them, I think I almost see the Israelites before me pursuing the poor, fatigued, and languid quails.

“This is indeed a laborious method of catching these birds, and not that which is now used in Egypt; for Egmont and Heyman tell us, that in a walk on the shore of Egypt they saw a sandy plain several leagues in extent, and covered with reeds without the least verdure; between which reeds they saw many nets laid for catching quails, which come over in large flights from Europe during the month of September. If the ancient Egyptians made use of the same method of catching quails that they now practice on those shores, yet Israel in the wilderness, without these conveniences, must of course make use of that more inartificial and laborious way of catching them. The Arabs of Barbary, who have not many conveniences, do the same thing still.

“Bishop Patrick supposes a day’s journey to be sixteen or twenty miles, and thence draws his circle with a radius of that length; but Dr. Shaw, on another occasion, makes a day’s journey but ten miles, which would make a circle but of twenty miles in diameter: and as the text evidently designs to express it very indeterminately, as it were a day’s journey, it might be much less.

“But it does not appear to me at all necessary to suppose the text intended their covering a circular or nearly a circular spot of ground, but only that these creatures appeared on both sides of the camp of Israel, about a day’s journey. The same word is used Exo_7:24, where round about can mean only on each side of the Nile. And so it may be a little illustrated by what Dr. Shaw tells us of the three flights of storks which he saw, when at anchor under the Mount Carmel, some of which were more scattered, others more compact and close, each of which took up more than three hours in passing, and extended itself more than half a mile in breadth. Had this flight of quails been no greater than these, it might have been thought, like them, to have been accidental; but so unusual a flock as to extend fifteen or twenty miles in breadth, and to be two days and one night in passing, and this, in consequence of the declaration of Moses, plainly determined that the finger of God was there.

“A third thing which was a difficulty with the bishop was their being brought with the wind. A hot southerly wind, it is supposed, brings the locusts; and why quails might not be brought by the instrumentality of a like wind, or what difficulty there is in that supposition, I cannot imagine. As soon as the cold is felt in Europe, Maillet tells us, turtles, quails, and other birds come to Egypt in great numbers; but he observed that their numbers were not so large in those years in which the winters were favorable in Europe; from whence he conjectured that it is rather necessity than habit which causes them to change their climate: if so, it appears that it is the increasing heat that causes their return, and consequently that the hot sultry winds from the south must have a great effect upon them, to direct their flight northwards.

“It is certain that it is about the time that the south wind begins to blow in Egypt, which is in April, that many of these migratory birds return. Maillet, who joins quails and turtles together, and says that they appear in Egypt when the cold begins to be felt in Europe, does not indeed tell us when they return: but Thevenot may be said to do it; for after he had told his reader that they catch snipes in Egypt from January to March, he adds that in May they catch turtles, and that the turtlers return again in September; now as they go together southward in September, we may believe they return again northward much about the same time. Agreeably to which, Russel tells us that quails appear in abundance about Aleppo in spring and autumn.

“If natural history were more perfect we might speak to this point with great distinctness; at present, however, it is so far from being an objection to their being quails that their coming was caused by a wind, that nothing is more natural. The same wind would in course occasion sickness and mortality among the Israelites, at least it does so in Egypt. The miraculousness then in this story does not lie in their dying, but the prophet’s foretelling with exactness the coming of that wind, and in the prodigious numbers of the quails that came with it, together with the unusualness of the place, perhaps, where they alighted.

“Nothing more remains to be considered but the gathering so large a quantity as ten omers by those that gathered fewest. But till that quantity is more precisely ascertained, it is sufficient to remark that this is only affirmed of those expert sportsmen among the people, who pursued the game two whole days and a whole night without intermission; and of them, and of them only, I presume it is to be understood that he that gathered fewest gathered ten omers. Hasselquist, who frequently expresses himself in the most dubious manner in relation to these animals, at other times is very positive that, if they were birds at all, they were a species of the quail different from ours, which he describes as very much resembling the ‘red partridge, but as not being larger than the turtledove.’ To this he adds, that ‘the Arabians carry thousands of them to Jerusalem about Whitsuntide, to sell there,’ p. 442. In another place he tells us ‘It is found in Judea as well as in Arabia Petraea, and that he found it between Jordan and Jericho,’ p. 203. One would imagine that Hasselquist means the scata, which is described by Dr. Russel, vol. ii., p. 194, and which he represents as brought to market at Aleppo in great numbers in May and June, though they are to be met with in all seasons.

“A whole ass-load of them, he informs us, has often been taken at once shutting a clasping net, in the above-mentioned months, they are in such plenty.” – Harmer vol. iv., p. 367.

Albert Barnes
Exo 16:13
Quails – This bird migrates in immense numbers in spring from the south: it is nowhere more common than in the neighborhood of the Red Sea. In this passage we read of a single flight so dense that it covered the encampment. The miracle consisted in the precise time of the arrival and its coincidence with the announcement.

John Calvin
Exo 16:14
14.And when the dew that lay was gone up. The shape of the manna is here briefly described, viz., that it was like the dew condensed into small round grains. Its taste will be also mentioned elsewhere; but here it was sufficient to show, that this fecundity was not natural, but miraculously given to the clouds, so that they should daily rain manna. For as to the idle talk of certain profane persons, that the manna falls naturally in certain countries, who would thus display the force of their genius, as if they convicted Moses of falsehood, because he mightily extols a mere trifle, — it! is all an absurdity which may be easily refuted. It is indeed true, that in certain parts of the world they collect white grains, to which the name of manna has been vulgarly given, but which one of the Rabbins will have to be Arabic; but it is neither a food, nor does it drop daily from the clouds, nor has it anything in common with this food, which the Prophet properly dignifies with the title of “angels’ food,” because God, who opens the bowels of the earth for the ordinary food of man, at that time made provision for the nourishment of His people from heaven. And that it may appear beyond a doubt that this food was then created miraculously, and contrary to the order of nature, these points are to be taken into consideration. First, It did not appear in the wilderness before the hour assigned by Moses in obedience to God’s command. Secondly, No change of weather prevented the manna from dropping in a regular measure; neither frost, nor rain, nor heat, nor winter, nor summer, interrupted the course of its distillation. Thirdly, A quantity sufficient for the immense multitude was found every day, when they took up an omer for every individual. Again, on the sixth day, the quantity was doubled, that they might lay by a second omer for their Sabbath food. Fifthly, If they preserved any beyond their due allowance, it was subject to putrefaction, whereas, on the Sabbath day, the second portion remained good. Sixthly, Wherever they were, this blessing of God always accompanied them, whilst the neighboring nations lived on corn, and the manna was only known in their camp. Seventhly, As soon as they entered a fruitful and corn-growing country, the manna ceased. Eighthly, That portion, which Moses was commanded to lay up in a vessel, did not grow corrupt. Let these points be well weighed, and the miracle will be more than sufficiently conspicuous, and will disperse all the clouds of objection by its intrinsic brightness.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
Exo 16:13-31
and in the morning … a small round thing … manna — There is a gum of the same name distilled in this desert region from the tamarisk, which is much prized by the natives, and preserved carefully by those who gather it. It is collected early in the morning, melts under the heat of the sun, and is congealed by the cold of night. In taste it is as sweet as honey, and has been supposed by distinguished travellers, from its whitish color, time, and place of its appearance, to be the manna on which the Israelites were fed: so that, according to the views of some, it was a production indigenous to the desert; according to others, there was a miracle, which consisted, however, only in the preternatural arrangements regarding its supply. But more recent and accurate examination has proved this gum of the tarfa-tree to be wanting in all the principal characteristics of the Scripture manna. It exudes only in small quantities, and not every year; it does not admit of being baked (Num_11:8) or boiled (Exo_16:23). Though it may be exhaled by the heat and afterwards fall with the dew, it is a medicine, not food – it is well known to the natives of the desert, while the Israelites were strangers to theirs; and in taste as well as in the appearance of double quantity on Friday, none on Sabbath, and in not breeding worms, it is essentially different from the manna furnished to the Israelites.

John Calvin
Exo 16:15
15.And when the children of Israel saw.The Israelites manifested some appearance of gratitude in calling the food given them from heaven, Man, which name means “something prepared;” but if any prefer their opinion who expound it, “a part or portion,” I do not debate the matter, although the former is more correct. Yet, whichever you choose, by this word they confessed that they were dealt with bountifully, because God presented them with food without their having to labor for it; and, therefore, they indirectly condemn their own perverse and wicked murmuring, since it is much better to gather food prepared for them, than to acquire it by the laborious and troublesome culture of the earth. For although this confession was extorted from them by the incredible novelty of the thing, yet at that particular moment their intention was to proclaim God’s loving-kindness. But, since unbelief had clouded their senses, so that they saw not clearly, Moses says that “they wist not what it was.” In these words he rebukes their slowness of heart, because, although previously advertised of the miracle, they were astonished at the sight, as if they had heard nothing of it before. We perceive, then, that they did but half acknowledge God’s mercy; for their gratitude was clouded with the darkness of ignorance, and they were compelled to confess that they did not altogether understand it; and therefore their stupidity is reproved not without bitterness, when Moses tells them that this was the food promised them by God. For, if they had recognized in it the fulfillment of the promise, there was no need of recalling it to their recollection. As to the words themselves, the answer of Moses has misled the Greek and Latin translators, into rendering them interrogatively, “What is this?” But their difficulty is easily removed; for Moses does not directly state that they inquired about it as of some unknown thing, but expresses their knowledge mixed with ignorance, for the matter was partly doubtful, partly clear; for the power of God was visibly manifest, but the veil of unbelief prevented them from apprehending God’s promised bounty.

Adam Clarke
Exo 16:15
They said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was – This is a most unfortunate translation, because it not only gives no sense, but it contradicts itself. The Hebrew מן הוא man hu, literally signifies, What is this? for, says the text, they wist not what it was, and therefore they could not give it a name. Moses immediately answers the question, and says, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. From Exo_16:31 we learn that this substance was afterwards called מן man, probably in commemoration of the question they had asked on its first appearance. Almost all our own ancient versions translate the words, What is this?

What this substance was we know not. It was nothing that was common to the wilderness. It is evident the Israelites never saw it before, for Moses says, Deu_8:3, Deu_8:16 : He fed thee with manna which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; and it is very likely that nothing of the kind had ever been seen before; and by a pot of it being laid up in the ark, it is as likely that nothing of the kind ever appeared more, after the miraculous supply in the wilderness had ceased. It seems to have been created for the present occasion, and, like Him whom it typified, to have been the only thing of the kind, the only bread from heaven, which God ever gave to preserve the life of man, as Christ is the true bread that came down from heaven, and was given for the life of the world. See John 6:31-58.

John Calvin
Exo 16:17
17.And the children of Israel did so.I do not think that the obedience of the people is here greatly praised; since soon afterwards Moses adds that some, not contented with their due allowance, collected more than was permitted them, and that others also transgressed what was enjoined them as to the Sabbath day. But I thus paraphrase the passage, that, when they had applied themselves to the gathering of it, the whole amount was found sufficient to fill an omer for every individual. For they did not each of them collect a private store; but, when all had assisted, at length. they took their prescribed portion from the common heap Thus, as each was more especially diligent, the more he bone. flied his slower and less industrious neighbor, without any loss to himself. This is aptly applied by Paul to almsgiving, (2Co_8:14,) wherein every one bestows of what he possesses on his poor brethren, only let us remember that this is done figuratively; for though there be some likeness between the manna and our daily food, yet there is a distinction between them to be observed, on which we shall elsewhere remark. Since, then, the manna was a food differing from what we commonly use, and was given daily without tillage or labor almost into their hands, it is not to be wondered that God should have called each one of the people to partake of it equally, and forbade any one to take more than another. The case of ordinary food is different; for it is necessary for the preservation of human society that each should possess what is his own; that some should acquire property by purchase, that to others it should come by hereditary right, to others by the title of presentation, that each should increase his means in proportion to his diligence, or bodily strength, or other qualifications. In fine, political government requires, that each should enjoy what belongs to him; and hence it would be absurd to prescribe, as to our common food, the law which is here laid down as to the manna. And Paul, also, wisely makes the distinction, in enjoining that there should be an equality, not arising from a promiscuous and confused use of property, but by the rich spontaneously and liberally relieving the wants of their brethren, and not grudgingly or of necessity. In this way he reminds us, that whatever goods we possess, flow from the bounty of God, like the manna; but, since each now possesses privately and separately whatever is given them, the same law is not in force for the mutual communication of property, whereby God bound His ancient people. Thence it appears that the distribution of the manna, as it is related by Moses, is properly applied to almsgiving. This doctrine, too, extends still further; for Paul warns believers not to be over-anxious lest they should exhaust themselves by their bounty, because no man’s provision failed, when the Israelites by God’s command divided the manna among them.

Adam Clarke
Exo 16:18
He that gathered much had nothing over – Because his gathering was in proportion to the number of persons for whom he had to provide. And some having fewer, others more in family, and the gathering being in proportion to the persons who were to eat of it, therefore he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack. Probably every man gathered as much as he could; and then when brought home and measured by an omer, if he had a surplus, it went to supply the wants of some other family that had not been able to collect a sufficiency, the family being large, and the time in which the manna might be gathered, before the heat of the day, not being sufficient to collect enough for so numerous a household, several of whom might be so confined as not to be able to collect for themselves. Thus there was an equality, and in this light the words of St. Paul, 2Co_8:15, lead us to view the passage. Here the 36th verse should come in: Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.

John Calvin Exo 16:32
32.And Moses said.Moses does not proceed with the history in order, but by interposing these circumstances by anticipation, he the more confirms the fact that this food was then created for the people by God’s special bounty, because He desired an omer of it to be preserved as a memorial, which, undergoing no putrefaction, handed down to posterity the gloriousness of the miracle. And first, he propounds generally God’s command, and then, in the next verse, describes the manner in which it was done, viz., that Aaron put it in a bottle or pot, and laid it up by the Ark of the Covenant. Whence, too, it appears how high importance God would have attached to this His bounty, since he wished its memorial to exist in the sanctuary together with the tables of His covenant. The two expressions, conveying the same meaning, “before the Lord,” and “before the Testimony,” are used in commendation of the worship of the Law, that the people might know God’s power to be near them in the sanctuary, not as if he were shut up in that place, or wished their minds to be fixed upon the visible sign, but, desiring to provide against their weakness, He in a manner descends to them, when he testified to the presence of His power by external images. He descends to them, therefore, not to occupy their minds with a gross superstition, but to raise them up by degrees to spiritual worship.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Exo 16:32-36
Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations — The mere fact of such a multitude being fed for forty years in the wilderness, where no food of any kind is to be obtained, will show the utter impossibility of their subsisting on a natural production of the kind and quantity as this tarfa-gum [see on Exo_16:13]; and, as if for the purpose of removing all such groundless speculations, Aaron was commanded to put a sample of it in a pot – a golden pot (Heb_9:4) – to be laid before the Testimony, to be kept for future generations, that they might see the bread on which the Lord fed their fathers in the wilderness. But we have the bread of which that was merely typical (1Co_10:3; Joh_6:32).

John Gill Exo 16:33
And Moses said unto Aaron, take a pot,…. The Targum of Jonathan calls it an earthen pot; and so Jarchi; which, if it could be supported, might be considered as an emblem of the ministers of the word, in whom, as in earthen vessels, the Gospel of Christ is put: Aben Ezra says, it was a vessel either of earth or brass, which latter is more likely for duration; since an earthen vessel can hardly be supposed to continue so long as this did, and much less a glass pot, as others take it to be: but the Septuagint version renders it a golden pot; and so it is said to be by Philo the Jew, and which is confirmed by the apostle, Heb_9:4 and which puts the thing out of question; and this may denote the word and ordinances which retain and hold forth Christ as the bread of life, and are a memorial of him, as evidently set forth, crucified, and slain, to future ages, comparable to gold; both for the preciousness of them, being more to be desired than gold, yea, than fine gold, and for the duration of them, they being to continue until the second coming of Christ:

and put an omer full of manna therein; the manna, and the full measure of it, according to a man’s eating, was to be put into it, denoting that a full Christ, or Christ in all the fulness of his person and grace, is to be held forth in the word and ordinances to the eye of faith:

and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations; in a place where the Lord would hereafter fix the symbol of his presence, the ark, cherubim, and mercy seat; and may signify the presence of Christ with his Father, the efficacy of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, his mediation and intercession; for he is not only held forth in the word, for faith to look at, but he is before the throne as though he had been slain, Rev_5:6.

Adam Clarke Exo 16:34
Laid it up before the testimony – The עדות eduth or testimony belonged properly to the tabernacle, but that was not yet built. Some are of opinion that the tabernacle, built under the direction of Moses, was only a renewal of one that had existed in the patriarchal times. See Clarke’s note on Exo_16:9. The word signifies reference to something beyond itself; thus the tabernacle, the manna, the tables of stone, Aaron’s rod, etc., all bore reference and testimony to that spiritual good which was yet to come, viz., Jesus Christ and his salvation.

John Wesley
Exo 16:34 An omer of this manna was laid up in a golden pot as we are told, Heb_9:4, and kept before the testimony, or the ark, when it was afterwards made, The preservation of this manna from waste and corruption, was a standing miracle; and therefore the more proper memorial of this miraculous food. The manna is called spiritual meat, 1Co_10:3, because it was typical of spiritual blessings. Christ himself is the true manna, the bread of life, of which that was a figure, Joh_6:49-51. The word of God is the manna by which our souls are nourished, Mat_4:4. The comforts of the Spirit are hidden manna, Rev_2:17. These comforts from heaven as the manna did, are the support of the divine life in the soul while we are in the wilderness of this world: it is food for Israelites, for those only that follow the pillar of cloud and fire: it is to be gathered; Christ in the word is to be applied to the soul, and the means of grace used: we must every one of us gather for ourselves. There was manna enough for all, enough for each, and none had too much; so in Christ there is a compleat sufficiency, and no superfluity. But they that did eat manna hungered again, died at last, and with many of them God was not well pleased: whereas they that feed on Christ by faith shall never hunger, and shall die no more, and with them God will be for ever well pleased. The Lord evermore give us this bread!


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