|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:22-31 Here is mention of a seventh-day sabbath. It was known, not only before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, but before the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, even from the beginning, Ge 2:3. The setting apart one day in seven for holy work, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was ever since God created man upon the earth, and is the most ancient of the Divine laws. Appointing them to rest on the seventh day, he took care that they should be no losers by it; and none ever will be losers by serving God. On that day they were to fetch in enough for two days, and to make it ready. This directs us to contrive family affairs, so that they may hinder us as little as possible in the work of the sabbath. Works of necessity are to be done on that day; but it is desirable to have as little as may be to do, that we may apply ourselves the more closely to prepare for the life that is to come. When they kept manna against a command, it stank; when they kept it by a command, it was sweet and good; every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. On the seventh day God did not send the manna, therefore they must not expect it, nor go out to gather. This showed that it was produced by miracle.
Verses 22-30. - THE GATHERING OF THE SIXTH DAY. When the Israelites, having collected what seemed to them the usual quantity of manna on the sixth day, brought it home and measured it, they found the yield to be, not an omer a head for each member of the family, but two omers. The result was a surprise and a difficulty. They could not consume more than an omer a-piece. What was to be done with the remainder? Was it to be destroyed, or kept? If kept, would it not "breed worms"? To resolve their doubts, the elders brought the matter before Moses, who replied - "This is that which the Lord hath said." It is to be supposed that, in his original announcement to the elders of God's purposes as to the manna, Moses had informed them that the quantity would be double on the sixth day (ver. 5); but his statement had not made any deep impression at the time, and now they had forgotten it. So he recalls it to their recollection. "This is no strange thing - nothing that should have surprised you - it is only what God said would happen. And the reason of it is, that to-morrow, the seventh day is, by God's ordinance, the rest of the Holy Sabbath," - or rather "a rest of a holy Sabbath to the Lord." Whether or no the Sabbath was a primeval institution, given to our first parents in Paradise (Genesis 2:3), may be doubted: at any rate, it had not been maintained as an institution by the Hebrews during their sojourn in Egypt; and this was, practically, to them, the first promulgation of it. (See Hessey's Bampton Lectures, p. 149.) Hence, in the original, it is not called "the sabbath," as if already known, but "a sabbath," - i.e., a rest - until verse 29. Verse 22. - This is that which the Lord hath said. Rather, "said," i.e., declared to me when he announced the manna. See verse 5. It has been supposed that Moses had not communicated the declaration to the elders; but this seems unlikely. The rest of the holy sabbath. If this translation were correct, the previous institution of the sabbath, and the knowledge of its obligation by the Hebrews, would follow; but the absence of the article is a strong indication that the whole idea was new, at any rate to those whom Moses was addressing. Bake that which ye will bake, etc. "Do," i.e., "as you have done on other days - bake some and seethe some - but also reserve a portion to be your food and sustenance to-morrow."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass, that on the sixth day,.... Of the week, or from the first raining of the manna, which was the same:
they gathered twice as much bread; as they had used to do on other days, a greater quantity falling, and which was more easily taken up:
two omers for one man; or, "instead of one" (t) of one omer; so it turned out when they came to measure what they had gathered; otherwise they had no intention in gathering it, but lying in a great quantity, they gathered as much as they could, or could well carry, and upon measuring it so it proved; for it does not appear that Moses had as yet acquainted them what was to be, or would be gathered on this day; nor had he any orders so to do from the Lord, only he was told by him that so it would be, and accordingly it came to pass, see Exodus 16:5.
and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses; what had happened, that the people that day had gathered as much more as they had used to do on other days: these seem to be the overseers of this affair, before whom what was gathered was brought, and in whose presence it was measured, and who took care that everyone should have his omer and no more: this makes it plain that the people acted without design, and knew not that they were to gather on this day double to other days; since the rulers knew nothing of it, nor of the reason of it, and it can hardly be imagined that the people should know and the rulers be ignorant.
(t) "pro uno", Tigurine version.
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