|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:4-9 Man, having forsaken his proper rest, feels uneasy and wretched, though prosperous. They were weary of the provision God had made for them, although wholesome food and nourishing. It cost no money or care, and the labour of gathering it was very little indeed; yet they talked of Egypt's cheapness, and the fish they ate there freely; as if that cost them nothing, when they paid dearly for it with hard service! While they lived on manna, they seemed exempt from the curse sin has brought on man, that in the sweat of his face he should eat bread; yet they speak of it with scorn. Peevish, discontented minds will find fault with that which has no fault in it, but that it is too good for them. Those who might be happy, often make themselves miserable by discontent. They could not be satisfied unless they had flesh to eat. It is evidence of the dominion of the carnal mind, when we want to have the delights and satisfaction of sense. We should not indulge in any desire which we cannot in faith turn into prayer, as we cannot when we ask meat for our lust. What is lawful of itself becomes evil, when God does not allot it to us, yet we desire it.
Verse 6. - Our soul is dried away. This exaggerated statement expressed their craving for the juicy and savoury food of which they had been thinking, and which was obviously unattainable in the wilderness. There is a physical craving in man for variety of diet, and especially for such condiments and flavours as he has been used to all his life, which makes the lack of them a real hardship. It is not necessary to condemn the Israelites for feeling very keenly the loss of their accustomed food, which is notoriously the one thing which the poorest classes are least able to bear; it is only necessary to condemn them for making this one loss of more account than all their gain. There is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. Rather, "we have nothing (אֵין כֹּל) except that our eye (falls) upon this manna." These graphic words speak of the longing looks which turned in every direction after the accustomed dainties, only to fall with disgust upon the inevitable manna. It was very ungrateful of them to speak disparagingly of the manna, which was good and wholesome food, and sufficient to keep them in health and strength; but it is useless to deny that manna only for people who had been accustomed to a rich and varied diet must have been exceedingly trying both to the palate and the stomach (cf. Numbers 21:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But now our soul is dried away,.... Meaning their bodies, which, for want of flesh food, they pretended had no moisture in them, or they were half starved, and in wasting and consuming circumstances:
there is nothing at all besides this manna before our eyes; which in itself was a truth and matter of fact; they had nothing to look to, and live upon but the manna, and that was enough, and with which, no doubt, many of them were contented, and satisfied and thankful for it, though the greater part were not; and therefore this, though a truth, was foolishly and wickedly spoken, being said in disdain and contempt of the manna: so Christ, the heavenly manna, the antitype of this, of which See Gill on Exodus 16:14; See Gill on Exodus 16:15; See Gill on Exodus 16:16; See Gill on Exodus 16:17; See Gill on Exodus 16:18; is indeed the only food that is set before us in the Gospel to feed and live upon; nor is there anything at all besides him, nor do true believers in him desire any other, but pray that evermore this bread may be given them; but carnal men and carnal professors slight the Gospel feast, of which Christ is the sum and substance; and at least would have something besides him, something along with him, something of their own in justification for him, or to give them a right unto him, or to trust in along with him; they cannot bear to have nothing at all but Christ; or that he, and he alone, should be exalted, and be all in all, as he is justification and salvation, and in the Gospel provision, in which nothing is set before us but him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6-9. But now … there is nothing … beside this manna—Daily familiarity had disgusted them with the sight and taste of the monotonous food; and, ungrateful for the heavenly gift, they longed for a change of fare. It may be noticed that the resemblance of the manna to coriander seed was not in the color, but in the size and figure; and from its comparison to bdellium, which is either a drop of white gum or a white pearl, we are enabled to form a better idea of it. Moreover, it is evident, from the process of baking into cakes, that it could not have been the natural manna of the Arabian desert, for that is too gummy or unctuous to admit of being ground into meal. In taste it is said to have been like "wafers made with honey" (Ex 16:31), and here to have the taste of fresh oil. The discrepancy in these statements is only apparent; for in the latter the manna is described in its raw state; in the former, after it was ground and baked. The minute description given here of its nature and use was designed to show the great sinfulness of the people, in being dissatisfied with such excellent food, furnished so plentifully and gratuitously.
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