Exodus 16:1-36


Verse 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.

I.   The traveling starts in Exodus 15:22.

A.     They had plenty by the Red Sea, but God called on them to move to Marah where there was bitter waters (15:23).

1.       When those waters were made sweet, God called on them to move again.

2.       This time to Elim, where they had everything heart could wish.

3.       God again called on them to move (16:1).

B.     This is a type of our lives.

1.       Just about the time things get settled down, God either changes something or calls on us to change something.

2.       He is wanting us to learn to trust Him and that we have no permanent dwelling on this earth, but we do have a continuing city in eternity.


II.   It is very interesting to note that Numbers 33:10 declares that Israel camped by the Red Sea after they left Elim.

A.     This shows there was no fear of Egypt coming back to destroy them.  Sometimes, God wants us to return to the place of trouble so we will understand He has destroyed those that would destroy us.

B.     Compare the places Israel visited in the book of Exodus and the book of Numbers.

1.       The schedule of places visited in the book of Exodus.

a.       Exodus 15:22 - They left the Red Sea going into the wilderness of Shur.  It is there they found the waters of Marah.

b.       Exodus 15:27 - They came to Elim where they found 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees.

c.       Exodus 16:1 - They left Elim and came to the wilderness of Sin between Elim and Sinai.

2.       The schedule of places visited in the book of Numbers.

a.       Numbers 33:3-5 - They left Rameses and pitched in Succoth.

b.       Numbers 33:6 - They left Succoth and pitched in Etham.

c.       Numbers 33:7 - They left Etham and pitched before Migdol.

d.       Numbers 33:8 - They left Migdol (Pihahiroth) and pitched in Marah.

e.       Numbers 33:9 - They left Marah and pitched in Elim where there was 12 wells and 70 palm trees.

f.        Numbers 33:10 - They left Elim and pitched by the Red Sea.

g.       Numbers 33:11 - They left the Red Sea and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.

3.       The places are different, not because of some mistake, but Numbers records the detail of travel, while Exodus records the general moving of Israel.

4.       It is also interesting to note that Numbers 33 doesn't record the lesson taught in Exodus 15.

a.       This is not a mistake, but rather another proof that Numbers 33 shows the daily traveling of Israel.

b.       Exodus not only shows some of the daily traveling, but many of the lessons God taught Israel along the way.


Verse 2, And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:

I.   Murmuring

A.     Definition.

1.       grumbling and complaining.

2.       The type of grumbling Israel is guilty of probably began with a person thinking they didn't have the food they deserved.

3.       It escalated from one person to another until the entire population was grumbling.

B.     They were murmuring against Moses and Aaron, but (verse 7,8), they confirmed that the people were actually murmuring against God and His plan for them.

C.     Moses and Aaron (and all of Israel) was following the pillar of fire and the cloud.

1.       All could see.

2.       Therefore they knew who they were murmuring against.

3.       Be careful who you direct your criticism toward.

4.       God knows who you are really complaining against.


II.   The reason for the murmuring - hunger.

A.     This is something we know nothing about, for we have never faced hunger.

1.       Our cupboards and deep freezes are full.

2.       We have assurance of future paydays.

B.     The Israelites had none of these things.

1.       They would need approximately 50 box cars full of food every day.

2.       They are facing an enormous problem.

3.       They had no gardens and there wasn't enough animals to feed them for any length of time.  (Num. 11:22)

C.     It also ought to be noted that Israel didn't know anything about real hunger either.

1.       God had not left them without food.

a.       There is no record that any Israelite ever died from starvation!

b.       Even those Israelites who rebelled against God.

2.       Numbers 11:31-35 - There is a record of those Israelites who rebelled against God and ate so much they died!

D.     Israel's problem is so very much like our own complaining.

1.       We don't complain because we are lacking anything.

2.       We complain because we don't have plenty stockpiled for future use.


Verse 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 ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

I.   Dying by the hand of the Lord in Egypt.

A.     Or dying by those plagues God sent upon Egypt, particularity the 10th plague.

1.       It would have been very easy for this wish to be fulfilled.

2.       All Israel would have had to do is not offer the Passover.

3.       But when it was time to offer the Passover, Israel was full of Egypt's food.

B.     It's easy to forget the problems of Egypt (Ex. 2:23).

1.       It's also easy for us to forget past problems (and blessings) when facing present problems.

2.       We should not concentrate so much on remembering the blessings of God as to remembering what a gracious and merciful God He is.

3.       If we would keep our minds on Him, and not on circumstances, we would be much better off.

C.     It is very dangerous to say to God that you ought to have died before he delivered you from sin.


Verse 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.

I.   There will be no punishment for the murmuring: this time!

A.     God desires to teach this people to trust him.

1.       He has great things in mind for them that they know nothing about (going into the land of Canaan).

2.       See my notes on verse 9.

B.     James 1:2,3 - This testing is for their benefit, not God's.

1.       God knows what Israel will do, because He knows everything.

2.       Israel believes they will be faithful to God in all things, but they don't understand their true nature.

3.       Their nature is exactly like ours.

4.       They, and us, are very likely to go astray from God's promises at any time.


Verse 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.

I.   Verse 4,5, The command for gathering manna that will be followed for the next 40 years (16:35).

A.     16:20 - Those that gathered more than needed and left it until the next morning found worms and stinking, except on the 7th day (verse 22), when it was perfectly preserved (verse 24)

B.     When the rulers saw some of the people collecting twice as much as needed, they told Moses.

1.       They simply didn't understand.

2.       Even some rulers don't understand.

C.     Verse 27 - When some of the people went out on the 7th day to gather they found none.

1.       This is the Sabbath of Rest unto the Lord.

2.       The conclusion of all this: Any time there is a change, there is confusion.

3.       Some will hear things that are not said and some won't hear anything that is said.

4.       Listen carefully!!

D.     This is a great promise to us, if we will only pay attention.

1.       God will always provide what we need, when we need it.

2.       The problem is: we want God to provide for us before we need it.

3.       We want to see what God will provide instead of having faith to believe He will supply daily.

4.       We want to have it all now, instead of trusting God now and receiving His blessings day by day.


Verse 6, And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:

I.   God will cause Israel to wait upon Him.

A.     The trial might be urgent to Israel, but it isn't to God.

1.       God knows exactly what He will do, and when He will do it.

2.       God isn't going to let Israel starve to death.

3.       As a matter of fact, it is very evident that Israel wasn't at the point of death, or God would have provided for them.

B.     This is a very good thing for Israel to do.

1.       It is not necessary for us to have things immediately, just because we think we ought to have it now.

2.       It is very good to learn to wait on God.


II.   How is it that God sending the quail at even causes Israel to believe He brought them out of Egypt?  Israel believed Moses and Aaron, not God delivered them out of Egypt.


Verse 7, And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?

It must be stated that Israel didn't murmur against Moses and Aaron, they were actually murmuring against God.  It may be they didn't intend to murmur against God's provisions, but this is exactly what they did.  When we murmur against the leadership God has placed over us, it is the same thing as us murmuring against God.   I personally don't like the present administration (Clinton), but I know God has placed this man over us.  Therefore, I must pray for him and his leadership to be lead of the Lord, and that the Lord would cause him to become the greatest president the United States of America has ever had.


Verse 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 heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

Moses repeats twice the fact that Israel has not murmured against Moses and Aaron, but against God.  He surely wants the people to understand.


Verse 9, And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.

This is a time to draw near to the Lord.  This is not a time for chastisement.  God wants to show Israel a great blessing in spite of their murmuring against Him.  Compare to my notes on Numbers 11, point # VI. for a comparison of the two times God sent quails to Israel.

I.   Compare the two times God sent quails to Israel.

A.     The first time was in Exodus 16:13.

1.       At this time God didn't send the quail as a judgment, but as a means of explaining to Israel that He could take excellent care of them.

2.       Israel did murmur against God and Moses and Aaron, but God is more interested in showing His mercy on them, rather than judgment.

B.     The next time is in this chapter, Numbers 11.

1.       At this time, God isn't interested in showing Israel mercy.

2.       He has already showed them mercy in Exodus 16.

3.       If my calculation of time is correct, Exodus 16 occurs approximately 1 year before Numbers 11.

4.       Israel didn't learn the lesson God intended them to learn one year previously, therefore God will judge them this time.

C.     This is an important lesson for us to learn.

1.       God doesn't hurt us when He wants to teach us how great He is.

2.       When we don't learn that He is able to take care of us, then He might hurt us so we can understand His absolute greatness.


Verse 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.


Verse 11, And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,


Verse 12, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.


Verse 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.


Verse 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.


Verse 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 hath given you to eat.


Verse 16, This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

An omer is approximately 2 liters, or a dry measure of 1/10 ephah.  An ephah is approximately ½ bushel.  [1]


Verse 17, And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.


Verse 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.

The word "mete" means to measure.  The Israelites measured the manna to see if God's Word was true or not.  It is not wrong to see if what God said would work or not, that is good. 


Verse 19, And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.


Verse 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.


Verse 21, And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.


Verse 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.

It is amazing to me how little the rulers of Israel understand about God's commandments.  They are supposed to be teaching the people and they have need to be taught the first oracles of the principles of God.


Verse 23, And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.


Verse 24, And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.


Verse 25, And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.


Verse 26, Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.


Verse 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.


Verse 28, And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?


Verse 29, See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.


Verse 30, So the people rested on the seventh day.


Verse 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.


Studying History is Scriptural!


Verse 32, And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth, 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.

I.   It is very important to study history.

A.     God set aside some of the manna so future generations could understand what manna was.

1.       Future generations could understand what Israel ate during the time they came out of Egypt and the time they came into Canaan.

2.       Seeing the manna would make it more real to the future generations.

B.     I Cor. 10:6-11 - It is very clear that God intended us to study the history of Israel.

1.       He wants us to learn from their mistakes, and benefit from their blessings.

2.       You will be unable to see clearly where you are going if you don't know where you came from.

C.     I wish I had been more interested in history when I was in school.

1.       I thought history was very boring, when in fact, it was the most important subject I took.

2.       It teaches me how to properly look at the world, and the things that affect me.

3.       Now, I like going through museums, looking at the way people used to dress, the tools and weapons they used, and understanding their way of life.

D.     History is being changed today to reflect the proper "political viewpoint".

1.       The sexual exploits of Martin Luther King are not told because that would ruin the message he preached.

2.       The history of the Civil War was not one about slavery, but states rights.  Abraham Lincoln brought the issue of slavery into the Civil War in order to unite the northern states against the south.

3.       In many "modern" history books:

a.       The period of the reformation is completely left out.

b.       Religion is completely ignored, even to the point of defining pilgrims as "rural people who traveled".

c.       The religious reasons America was created is completely ignored.


Verse 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.

It is very interesting to note that the manna lasted as long as God intended.

A.     When the manna was to last one day, it lasted one day.

B.     When the manna was to last two days (the day before the Sabbath and the Sabbath) it lasted two days.

C.     When the manna was to last indefinitely, it lasted indefinitely.


Verse 34, As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.

I.   The memorial - put some manna in a golden pot (Heb. 9:4), to be kept as a memorial for all generations.

A.     The manna was placed in a golden pot.

1.       It was to be placed in the Holy of Holiest where other articles of gold were found.

2.       Gold is a symbol of the glory of God, thus this pot should be made out of gold.

3.       If we properly reflect the glory of God, we will also be a vessel unto honor and placed in a place of importance before God.

B.     The Testimony appears to be the law God gave to Moses.

1.       Exodus 25:16-22 - God commanded the testimony to be put in the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat to be placed on top of the ark.  The ark of the covenant was to be placed under the wings of the cherubims.

2.       Exodus 31:18 - God gave Moses two tables of stone which contained the laws of God, written with the finger of God.


Verse 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.


Verse 36, Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.

An omer is about 2 liters.

[1] Holman’s Bible Dictionary, article “Ephah.”