|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:13-21 At evening the quails came up, and the people caught with ease as many as they needed. The manna came down in dew. They called it Manna, Manhu, which means, What is this? It is a portion; it is that which our God has allotted us, and we will take it, and be thankful. It was pleasant food; it was wholesome food. The manna was rained from heaven; it appeared, when the dew was gone, as a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost, like coriander seed, in colour like pearls. The manna fell only six days in the week, and in double quantity on the sixth day; it bred worms and became offensive if kept more than one day, excepting on the sabbath. The people had never seen it before. It could be ground in a mill, or beaten in a mortar, and was then made into cakes and baked. It continued the forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, wherever they went, and ceased when they arrived in Canaan. All this shows how different it was from any thing found before, or found now. They were to gather the manna every morning. We are hereby taught, 1. To be prudent and diligent in providing food for ourselves and our households; with quietness working, and eating our own bread, not the bread of idleness or deceit. God's bounty leaves room for man's duty; it did so even when manna was rained; they must not eat till they have gathered. 2. To be content with enough. Those that have most, have for themselves but food and raiment; those that have least, generally have these; so that he who gathers much has nothing over, and he who gathers little has no lack. There is not such a disproportion between one and another in the enjoyment of the things of this life, as in the mere possession of them. 3. To depend upon Providence: let them sleep quietly, though they have no bread in their tents, nor in all their camp, trusting that God, with the following day, would bring them in their daily bread. It was surer and safer in God's storehouse than their own, and would come thence sweeter and fresher. See here the folly of hoarding. The manna laid up by some, who thought themselves wiser, and better managers, than their neighbours, and who would provide lest it should fail next day, bred worms, and became good for nothing. That will prove to be most wasted, which is covetously and distrustfully spared. Such riches are corrupted, Jas 5:2,3. The same wisdom, power, and goodness that brought food daily from above for the Israelites in the wilderness, brings food yearly out of the earth in the constant course of nature, and gives us all things richly to enjoy.
Verse 16. - An omer for every man. According to Kalisch, the omer is about two quarts (English): but this estimate is probably in excess. Josephus makes the measure one equal to six cotyles, which would be about a quart and a half, or three pints. In his tents. Rather, "in his tent."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded,.... Respecting the gathering of it, the rule or rules he would have observed concerning that, as follows:
gather of it every man according to his eating; according to his appetite, and according to the appetites of those that were in his family, as much as they can all eat; and that they may have enough, the particular quantity is fixed for each of them. This act of gathering, in the mystical sense, may respect the exercise of faith on Christ, laying hold of him as he is held forth in the word, receiving him, and feeding upon him with a spiritual appetite, and that freely, largely, plentifully, and encouraging others to do the same:
an omer for every man; or head, or by poll (p); they were to take the poll of their families, the number of them, and reckon to every head, or assign to every man, such a measure of the manna, and which was sufficient for a man of the keenest appetite; what this measure was; see Gill on Exodus 16:36 This must be understood not of sucking infants, and such that were sick and infirm, and of poor appetites, that could not feed upon and digest such sort of food, only of those that could:
according to the number of your persons, take ye every man for them which are in his tent: this was to be done after it was gathered and brought in, either by certain overseers of this affair, or heads of families, who, according to the number of those that were in their tents, who were eaters of such sort of food, was to take an omer of it for everyone of them.
(p) "ad caput", Montanus; "pro capite", Fagius, Drusius, Cartwright; so Ainsworth.
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