|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-12 The provisions of Israel, brought from Egypt, were spent by the middle of the second month, and they murmured. It is no new thing for the greatest kindness to be basely represented as the greatest injuries. They so far undervalue their deliverance, that they wished they had died in Egypt; and by the hand of the Lord, that is, by the plagues which cut off the Egyptians. We cannot suppose they had plenty in Egypt, nor could they fear dying for want in the wilderness, while they had flocks and herds: none talk more absurdly than murmurers. When we begin to fret, we ought to consider, that God hears all our murmurings. God promises a speedy and constant supply. He tried whether they would trust him, and rest satisfied with the bread of the day in its day. Thus he tried if they would serve him, and it appeared how ungrateful they were. When God plagued the Egyptians, it was to make them know he was their Lord; when he provided for the Israelites, it was to make them know he was their God.
Verses 9-21. - THE PROMISE FULFILLED. Moses had made a double promise to the Israelites in God's name. "The Lord shall give you," he had said," in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full" (ver. 8). And now the time for the fulfilment of the double promise approached. First, however, before they received the blessings, he required them to present themselves before the Lord. As they had rebelled in murmuring, an act of homage was proper; and as they had called in question the conduct of Moses and Aaron. some token that God approved the action of these his faithful servants, and would support them, was needed. Hence the appearance of the Lord to the congregation in the cloud (ver. 10). After this, when evening approached, the quails fell. A vast flight of this migratory bird, which often arrives in Arabia Petraea from the sea (Diod. Sic. 1:60), fell to the earth about the Hebrew camp, and, being quite exhausted, lay on the ground in a state which allowed of their being taken by the hand. The Israelites had thus abundant "flesh to eat" (ver. 8), for God "sent them meat enough" (Psalm 78:26). The next morning, the remainder of the promise was fulfilled. When they awoke, they found that the vegetation about the camp was covered with a sort of dew, resembling hoar-frost, which was capable of easy detachment from the leaves, and which proved to be an edible substance. While they were in doubt about the phenomenon, Moses informed them that this was the "bread from heaven" which they had been promised (ver. 15). At the same time he instructed them as to the quantity which they should gather, which he fixed at an omer for each member of their family (ver. 16). In attempting to carry out these instructions, mistakes were not unnaturally made; some exceeded the set quantity, others fell short of it. But the result was found to be the same. Whatever the quantity gathered, when it was brought home and measured, the amount was by miracle made to be exactly an omer for each (ver. 18). Afterwards, Moses gave another order. The whole of the manna was to be consumed (ordinarily) on the day on which it was gathered. When some wilfully disobeyed this command, the reserved manna was found on the next day to have become bad - it had bred worms, and gave out an offensive odour. This circumstance put a stop to the malpractice.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses spake unto Aaron,.... Who was his prophet and spokesman to the people:
say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel; to the heads of them, to as many as could conveniently hear him, and were to report what he said to the rest:
come near before the Lord; who was in the pillar of cloud, which from the first appearance of it never removed from them, nor the Lord from that; though some have thought, that before the tabernacle was built, there was some small tent or little tabernacle where the Shechinah was; but for this there is no foundation, there is for the other suggested:
for he hath heard your murmurings; which is repeated again and again, to observe to them the evil of it, and what notice the Lord took of it, though he indulged them in so gracious a manner he did.
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