This time, though, Moses wrestles with the people of Israel, who still hold on to memories of what life used to be like in Egypt.
1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto 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.
Another play on words: Wilderness of Sin– we can sure wonder off from God sometimes, can’t we?
2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for you have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
After all the miracles that transpired to get them to this point, they are fearful again. That’s what makes us complain and murmur, I believe. They’re not speaking faith-filled words, like “I can’t wait to see what God does next.” Nope, they are complaining and murmuring against Moses and Aaron.
They are hungry. We all tend to get grumpy when we are hungry, don’t we? “If we stayed home, we would be eating a big meal. You brought us all the way out here just to starve us!”
Yes, Moses had nothing better to do, than to leave his home and family, Arm Wrestle with Pharaoh, convince you to follow him as he follows the Lord, part the Red Sea, and wander around in the wilderness just to starve you. Yes, that was the plan all along.
Okay, so they had one point: they did have lots of food in Egypt, remember, because GOD had blessed them, so that even in their slavery, GOD had prospered their herds. It was still GOD providing for them.
4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
God says he will send bread from heaven. Should be no complaints there! God also says he will test them, to see whether they will walk in His law or not. They are supposed to gather only as much as they will eat in one day, and on the sixth day, bring in twice as much, so that the Sabbath will still be honored.
6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then you shall know that the LORD has brought you out from the land of Egypt:
7 And in the morning, then you shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he hears your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that you murmur against us?
Moses and Aaron tell the people again, “You will know that the LORD has brought you out of Egypt, and to prove it, you will see the glory of the LORD in the morning. He hears your murmurings, and by the way, who do you think we are, that you murmur against us? It’s not us, it’s God who is providing.
8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD hears your murmurings which you murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
Moses repeats himself, but it seems they needed to hear it again.
9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he has heard your murmurings.
10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
The LORD kept His word, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God.
The LORD promises to send them flesh to eat for dinner in the evening, and it shows up in the form of quails.
13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon 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 wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.
Manna, roughly translated means: “What is it?” This is the bread from the LORD.
16 This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take you every man for them which are in his tents.
Now I confess, I don’t really understand what an omer is, or an ephah for that matter, I tried reading dictionaries and concordances, but I am still clueless. But I’m guessing it was a known manner of measurement at the time, and that the children of Israel were familiar with it.
17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
Every man was to gather the correct amount for his family.
19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
Don’t leave any until morning. I don’t believe these were simple leftovers, as in “I’m full”. It was disobedience/unbelief that God would supply again tomorrow. In the morning it was gross and had worms. Moses was mad at them for not obeying.
21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
22 And it came to pass, 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.
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD has said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which you will bake to day, and seethe that you will seethe; and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
Only on the sixth day were they to gather the extra, in preparation for the Sabbath.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day you shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
The manna kept until the Sabbath did not stink, and did not have worms. Again, God shows that the Sabbath day is to be set apart.
27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
Some did not keep extra manna, and went out on the Sabbath in disobedience, and did not find any manna.
28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws?
“You” here is in the plural sense. He meant the whole group. Even while some obeyed, some did not, and the whole group suffered as a result. This principle shows up many times in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Remember the story of Joshua at Ai?)
29 See, for that the LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
Rest is a commandment. Everyone needs a day off.
31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
32 And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commands, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.
33 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.
34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
Here again, the LORD tells them to keep some separate and special, this time for a testimony to their descendants.
35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
For forty years, God provided manna for them to eat. This is a long time to learn a lesson of obedience.
36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.
Again, I really don’t know about those measurements. What I do know is that I am hungry; I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today I am on liquids only. Oh, and that lovely gray stuff they make you drink that cleans you out. So even though quail don’t normally sound good, I’m kind of imagining it tastes like turkey or chicken. Even so, I can’t eat any!