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Smith's Bible Dictionary

(what is this') (Heb. man). The most important passages of the Old Testament on this topic are the following: (Exodus 16:14-36; Numbers 11:7-9; 11:5,16; Joshua 5:12; Psalms 78:24; 25) From these passages we learn that the manna came every morning except the Sabbath, in the form of a small round seed resembling the hear frost that it must be gathered early, before the sun became so hot as to melt it; that it must be gathered every day except the Sabbath; that the attempt to lay aside for a succeeding day, except on the clay immediately preceding the Sabbath, failed by the substance becoming wormy and offensive; that it was prepared for food by grinding and baking; that its taste was like fresh oil, and like wafers made with honey, equally agreeable to all palates; that the whole nation, of at least 2,000,000, subsisted upon it for forty years; that it suddenly ceased when they first got the new corn of the land of Canaan; and that it was always regarded as a miraculous gift directly from God, and not as a product of nature. The natural products of the Arabian deserts and other Oriental regions which bear the name of manna have not the qualities or uses ascribed to the manna of Scripture. The latter substance was undoubtedly wholly miraculous, and not in any respect a product of nature, though its name may have come from its resemblance to the natural manna The substance now called manna in the Arabian desert through which the Israelites passed is collected in the month of June from the tarfa or tamarisk shrub (Tamarix gallica). According to Burckhardt it drops from the thorns on the sticks and leaves with which the ground is covered, and must be gathered early in the day or it will be melted by the sun. The Arabs cleanse and boil it, strain it through a cloth and put it in leathern bottles; and in this way it can be kept uninjured for several years. They use it like honey or butter with their unleavened bread, but never make it into cakes or eat it by itself. The whole harvest, which amounts to only five or six hundred pounds, is consumed by the Bedouins, "who," says Schaff consider it the greatest dainty their country affords." The manna of European commerce conies mostly from Calabria and Sicily. It's gathered during the months of June and July from some species of ash (Ornus europaea and O. rotundifolia), from which it drops in consequence of a puncture by an insect resembling the locust, but distinguished from it by having a sting under its body. The substance is fluid at night and resembles the dew but in the morning it begins to harden.

ATS Bible Dictionary

The miraculous food given by God to the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert. It was a small grain, white like hoarfrost, round, and of the size of coriander-seed, Exodus 16:1-36 Numbers 11:1-35. It fell every morning, with the dew, about the camp of the Israelites, and in so great quantities during the whole forty years of their journey in the wilderness, that it was sufficient to serve the entire multitude instead of bread, Exodus 16:35 De 29:5,6 Joshua 5:12. It is nowhere said that the Israelites had no other food, that numerous flocks and herds accompanied the camp of Israel is clear from many passages. Certainly the daily sacrifices were offered, and no doubt to her offerings affording animal food on which the priests and Levites subsisted, according to their offices.

When manna was first sent the Israelites "knew not what it was," and "said one to another", MAN-HU, which means, What is it- Most interpreters think that form the frequent repetition of this inquiry the name MAN or manna arose. Burckhardt says, that in the valleys around Sinai a species of manna is still found, dropping from the sprigs of several trees, but principally from the tamarisk, in the month of June. It is collected by the Arabs, who make cakes of it, and call it honey of betrouk. See Exodus 16:31. Since his time it has been ascertained by Dr. Ehrenburg that the exudation of this manna is occasioned by an insect, which he has particularly described. Besides this substance and the manna of commerce, which is used as a laxative medicine, and is produced by the ash-trees of southern Europe, several other vegetable products in Arabia, Persia, etc., of similar origin and qualities, are known by the same name. It is in vain, however, to seek to identify with any of these the manna of the Israelites, which was evidently a special provision for them, beginning and terminating with their need of it. It was found, not on trees and shrubs, but on "the face of the wilderness" wherever they went; and was different in its qualities from any now known by that name, being dry enough to grind and bake like grain, but breeding worms on the second day. It was miraculous in the amount that fell, for the supply of millions; in not falling on the Sabbath; in falling in double quantities the previous day; and in remaining fresh during the Sabbath. By these last three peculiarities God miraculously attested the sanctity of the Sabbath, as dating from the creation and not from Mount Sinai. Moreover, a specimen of manna as laid up in a golden vase in the ark of the covenant in memory of a substance which would otherwise have perished, Hebrews 9:4.

In Psalm 78:24-25, manna is called "angels' food" and "corn of heaven," in token of its excellence, and that it came directly from the hand of God. The people gathered on an average about three quarts for each man. They who gathered more than they needed, shared it freely with others; it could not be hoarded up: and thus, as Paul teaches us, 2 1 Corinthians 8:13-15, it furnishes for all men a lesson against hoarding the earthly and perishable gifts of God, and in favor of freely imparting to our brethren in need.

This great boon of God to the Israelites also offers many striking analogies, illustrative of "the true Bead" which came down form heaven to rebellious and perishing man, John 6:31-58 Revelation 2:17. Like the manna, Christ descends from above around the camp of his church in daily abundant supplies, to meet the wants of every man.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hebrews man-hu, "What is that?" the name given by the Israelites to the food miraculously supplied to them during their wanderings in the wilderness (Exodus 16:15-35). The name is commonly taken as derived from man, an expression of surprise, "What is it?" but more probably it is derived from manan, meaning "to allot," and hence denoting an "allotment" or a "gift." This "gift" from God is described as "a small round thing," like the "hoar-frost on the ground," and "like coriander seed," "of the colour of bdellium," and in taste "like wafers made with honey." It was capable of being baked and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in a mortar (Exodus 16:23; Numbers 11:7). If any was kept over till the following morning, it became corrupt with worms; but as on the Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double portion was given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of the Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the gathering of it are fully given (Exodus 16:16-18, 33; Deuteronomy 8:3, 16). It fell for the first time after the eighth encampment in the desert of Sin, and was daily furnished, except on the Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings, till they encamped at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased, and where they "did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more" (Joshua 5:12). They now no longer needed the "bread of the wilderness."

This manna was evidently altogether a miraculous gift, wholly different from any natural product with which we are acquainted, and which bears this name. The manna of European commerce comes chiefly from Calabria and Sicily. It drops from the twigs of a species of ash during the months of June and July. At night it is fluid and resembles dew, but in the morning it begins to harden. The manna of the Sinaitic peninsula is an exudation from the "manna-tamarisk" tree (Tamarix mannifera), the el-tarfah of the Arabs. This tree is found at the present day in certain well-watered valleys in the peninsula of Sinai. The manna with which the people of Israel were fed for forty years differs in many particulars from all these natural products.

Our Lord refers to the manna when he calls himself the "true bread from heaven" (John 6:31-35; 48-51). He is also the "hidden manna" (Revelation 2:17; Comp. John 6:49, 51).

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) The food supplied to the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness of Arabia; hence, divinely supplied food.

2. (n.) A name given to lichens of the genus Lecanora, sometimes blown into heaps in the deserts of Arabia and Africa, and gathered and used as food.

3. (n.) A sweetish exudation in the form of pale yellow friable flakes, coming from several trees and shrubs and used in medicine as a gentle laxative, as the secretion of Fraxinus Ornus, and F. rotundifolia, the manna ashes of Southern Europe.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

man'-a (man; manna): The Hebrew man is probably derived, as Ebers suggests, from the Egyptian mennu, "food." In Exodus 16:15, we have a suggested source of the name, "They said one to another, What is it?" i.e. manhu, which also means, "It is manna" (see margin).

1. Old Testament References:

This substance is described as occurring in flakes or small round grains, literally, "hoax frost"; it fell with the dew (Numbers 11:9) and appeared when the dew left the ground (Exodus 16:14); "It was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey" (Exodus 16:31). In Numbers 11:8, its taste is described "as the taste of fresh oil," margin "cakes baked with oil." "And the children of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came.... unto the borders of the land of Canaan" (Exodus 16:35). It ceased the day after they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the plains of Jericho (Joshua 5:10-12). Although an important article of diet, it was by no means the sole one as seems implied in Numbers 21:15; there are plenty of references (e.g. Exodus 17:3; Exodus 24:5; Exodus 34:3 Leviticus 8:2, 26, 31; Leviticus 9:4; Leviticus 10:12; Leviticus 24:5 Numbers 7:13, 19, etc.) which show that they had other food besides. The food was gathered every morning, "every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted" (Exodus 16:21); a portion of the previous day's gathering bred worms and stank if kept (Exodus 16:20); on the 6th day a double amount was gathered, the Sabbath portion being miraculously preserved (Exodus 16:22-27). A pot-a golden one (Hebrews 9:4)-with an omer of manna was "laid up before Yahweh" in the tabernacle (Exodus 16:33). Manna is referred to in Nehemiah 9:20. It is described poetically as "food from heaven" and "bread of the mighty" (Psalm 78:24 f); as "bread of heaven" (Psalm 105:40); and as "angels' bread" (2 Esdras 1:19; The Wisdom of Solomon 16:20).

2. New Testament References:

In John 6:31-63, our Lord frequently refers to "the manna" or "bread from heaven" as typical of Himself. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:3) refers to it as "spiritual food," and in Revelation 2:17 we read, "To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna."

Manna, as might be expected, figures largely in rabbinical literature. It was, it is said, adapted to the taste of each individual who could by wishing taste in the manna anything he desired (compare The Wisdom of Solomon 16:21). Manna is reserved as the future food of the righteous (compare Revelation 2:17), for which purpose it is ground in a mill situated in the third heaven (Chag 12b; Tan. Beshallach 22).

3. Natural Explanations:

No substance is known which in any degree satisfies all the requirements of the Scriptural references, but several travelers in the wilderness have reported phenomena which suggest some of the features of the miraculous manna.

(1) In the Peninsula of Sinai, on the route of the children of Israel, a species of tamarisk, named in consequence by Ebers Tammaris mannifera, is found to exude a sweet, honey-like substance where its bark is pierced by an insect, Gossyparia mannifera. It collects upon the twigs and falls to the ground. The Arabs who gather it to sell to pilgrims call it mann-es-sama, "heavenly manna"; it is white at first but turns yellow; in the early morning it is of the consistency of wax but when the sun is hot it disappears. This substance occurs only after mid-summer and for a month or two at most.

(2) A second proposal is to identify manna with a lichen-Lecanora esculenta and allied species-which grows in the Arabian and other deserts upon the limestone. The older masses become detached and are rolled about by the wind. When swept together by sudden rain storms in the rainy season they may collect in large heaps. This lichen has been used by the Arabs in time of need for making bread. It is a quite reasonable form of nourishment in the desert, especially when eaten with the sugary manna from the trees.

E. W. G. Masterman

3131. manna -- manna
... 3130, 3131. manna. 3132 . manna. Part of Speech: Hebrew Form (Indclinable)
Transliteration: manna Phonetic Spelling: (man'-nah) Short ...
// - 7k
Strong's Hebrew
4478. man -- manna (a kind of bread)
... 4477, 4478. man. 4478a . manna (a kind of bread). Transliteration: man
Phonetic Spelling: (mawn) Short Definition: manna. manna ...
/hebrew/4478.htm - 5k

4478a. man -- manna (a kind of bread)
... 4478, 4478a. man. 4478b . manna (a kind of bread). Transliteration: man
Short Definition: manna. Word Origin of uncertain derivation ...
/hebrew/4478a.htm - 5k


The Manna
... THE MANNA. 'I am that bread of life.49. Your fathers did eat manna in
the wilderness, and are dead.50. This is the bread which ...
// of holy scripture i/the manna.htm

Hidden Manna
... Hidden Manna. A Sermon (No.980). Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, March 12th, 1871,
by. CH SPURGEON,. At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 17 1871/hidden manna.htm

Lii. Manna. Exodus xvi. 4.
... LII. MANNA. EXODUS xvi. 4. I."Manna like salvation, because undeserved.
The people murmured at the very first difficulty. If ...
// bread/lii manna exodus xvi 4.htm

Manna. Ex 16:18
... EXODUS Hymn 15 MANNA. Ex 16:18. John Newton 8,6,8,6. MANNA. Ex 16:18. Manna to Israel
well supplied. The want of other bread; While God is able to provide,. ...
// hymns/hymn 15 manna ex 16 18.htm

August the Fourth Hidden Manna
... AUGUST The Fourth HIDDEN MANNA. ... The Lord gives us to eat of the "hidden manna"
whenever we are seeking the refreshment of our fellows. ...
/.../my daily meditation for the circling year/august the fourth hidden manna.htm

The Hidden Manna and the White Stone
... XXXIX THE HIDDEN MANNA AND THE WHITE STONE. Revelation ii.12-17. Both of
these are Jewish symbols. One refers to that food which, as ...
/.../peabody/mornings in the college chapel/xxxix the hidden manna and.htm

Manna Hoarded. Ex 16:20
... EXODUS Hymn 16 Manna hoarded. Ex 16:20. John Newton 8,6,8,6. Manna hoarded. Ex
16:20. The manna favored Israel's meat,. Was gathered day by day; ...
// hymns/hymn 16 manna hoarded ex.htm

September the Twenty-Eighth the Daily Manna
... SEPTEMBER The Twenty-eighth THE DAILY MANNA. "I will rain bread from heaven
for you." "Exodus 16:11-18. And this gracious provision ...
/.../september the twenty-eighth the daily.htm

John vi. 28-30
... Ver.31. "Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness.". ... Does the manna now seem
wonderful to you? Your soul is not now [1253] parched up. ...
/.../homilies on the gospel of st john and hebrews/homily xlv john vi 28-30.htm

Book 3 Footnotes
... Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:15, and Josephus here say, compared together, that the quantity
of manna that fell daily, and did not putrefy, was just so much as came ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/book 3 footnotes.htm

Manna (19 Occurrences)
... after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased, and where they "did eat of the
old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more ...
/m/manna.htm - 21k

Coriander (2 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Hebrews gad, (Exodus 16:31; Numbers 11:7), seed
to which the manna is likened in its form and colour. ...
/c/coriander.htm - 8k

Fathers (572 Occurrences)
... John 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As ... John 6:49 Your fathers
ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. (WEB ...
/f/fathers.htm - 39k

Bdellium (2 Occurrences)
... Occurs only in Genesis 2:12, where it designates a product of the land of Havilah;
and in Numbers 11:7, where the manna is likened to it in colour. ...
/b/bdellium.htm - 8k

Pot (46 Occurrences)
... (4) tsintseneth (Exodus 16:33), the jar in which the manna was placed. This
jar or pot is mentioned in Hebrews 9:4 under the name stamnos. ...
/p/pot.htm - 25k

Ate (138 Occurrences)
... (WEB WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV). John 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the
wilderness. ... John 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. ...
/a/ate.htm - 37k

Settled (112 Occurrences)
... (See NAS RSV NIV). Exodus 16:35 The children of Israel ate the manna forty
years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate ...
/s/settled.htm - 36k

Cease (138 Occurrences)
... wicked (Job 3:17); anger (Psalm 37:8). The significance of shabhath lies in its
being the Hebrew for Sabbath, implying complete cessation: as of manna (Joshua 5 ...
/c/cease.htm - 40k

Inhabited (64 Occurrences)
... Exodus 16:35 The children of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they
came to an inhabited land. They ate the manna until they ...
/i/inhabited.htm - 26k

Frost (9 Occurrences)
... 4. Figurative Uses: The manna in the wilderness is compared to hoarfrost.
"A small round thing, small as the hoarfrost" (Exodus 16:14). ...
/f/frost.htm - 14k

Bible Concordance
Manna (19 Occurrences)

John 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written,'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'"

John 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

John 6:58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven-not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever."

Hebrews 9:4 having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which was a golden pot holding the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;

Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.

Exodus 16:15 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.

Exodus 16:31 The house of Israel called its name Manna, and it was like coriander seed, white; and its taste was like wafers with honey.

Exodus 16:32 And Moses said: 'This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded: Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.'
(See NIV)

Exodus 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, "Take a pot, and put an omer-full of manna in it, and lay it up before Yahweh, to be kept throughout your generations."

Exodus 16:34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
(See NIV)

Exodus 16:35 The children of Israel ate the manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate the manna until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan.

Numbers 11:6 but now we have lost our appetite. There is nothing at all except this manna to look at."

Numbers 11:7 The manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like the appearance of bdellium.

Numbers 11:9 When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.

Deuteronomy 8:3 He humbled you, and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you didn't know, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh does man live.

Deuteronomy 8:16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers didn't know; that he might humble you, and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end:

Joshua 5:12 The manna ceased on the next day, after they had eaten of the produce of the land. The children of Israel didn't have manna any more; but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Nehemiah 9:20 You gave also your good Spirit to instruct them, and didn't withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.

Psalms 78:24 He rained down manna on them to eat, and gave them food from the sky.



Manna: A Golden Pot of, Laid up in the Holiest for a Memorial

Manna: An Omer of, Gathered for Each Person

Manna: Blessedness Given to Saints

Manna: Called: Angel's Food

Manna: Called: Bread from Heaven

Manna: Called: Bread of Heaven

Manna: Called: Corn of Heaven

Manna: Called: God's Manna

Manna: Called: Spiritual Meat

Manna: Ceased when Israel Entered Canaan

Manna: Christ

Manna: Fell After the Evening Dew

Manna: Figurative

Manna: Gathered Every Morning

Manna: General Scriptures Concerning

Manna: Given for Forty Years

Manna: Given in Answer to Prayer

Manna: Given: As a Sign of Moses's Divine Mission

Manna: Given: As a Test of Obedience

Manna: Given: Through Moses

Manna: Given: To Exhibit God's Glory

Manna: Given: To Humble and Prove Israel

Manna: Given: To Teach That Man Does not Live by Bread Only

Manna: Given: when Israel Murmured for Bread

Manna: He That Gathered Much or Little had Sufficient and Nothing

Manna: Kept Longer than a Day (Except on the Sabbath) Became Corrupt

Manna: Like Coriander Seed

Manna: Like Hoar Frost

Manna: Like in Colour to Bdellium

Manna: Like in Taste to Oil

Manna: Like in Taste to Wafers Made With Honey

Manna: Melted Away by the Sun

Manna: Miraculously Given to Israel for Food in the Wilderness

Manna: None Fell on the Sabbath Day

Manna: Preserved in the Ark of the Testimony

Manna: Previously Unknown

Manna: The Israelites: At First Covetous of

Manna: The Israelites: Counted Inferior to Food of Egypt

Manna: The Israelites: Ground, Made Into Cakes and Baked in Pans

Manna: The Israelites: Loathed

Manna: The Israelites: Punished for Despising

Manna: The Israelites: Punished for Loathing

Manna: Two Portions of, Gathered the Sixth Day on Account of The

Manna: White

Related Terms

Coriander (2 Occurrences)

Fathers (572 Occurrences)

Bdellium (2 Occurrences)

Pot (46 Occurrences)

Ate (138 Occurrences)

Settled (112 Occurrences)

Cease (138 Occurrences)

Inhabited (64 Occurrences)

Frost (9 Occurrences)

Forefathers (135 Occurrences)

Extremity (46 Occurrences)

Mortar (16 Occurrences)

Capernaum (16 Occurrences)

Coriander-seed (2 Occurrences)

Died (348 Occurrences)

Habitable (19 Occurrences)

Fed (62 Occurrences)

Jar (45 Occurrences)

Border (233 Occurrences)

Borders (104 Occurrences)

Sabbath (126 Occurrences)

Ceased (80 Occurrences)

Wilderness (304 Occurrences)

Desert (322 Occurrences)

Dew (35 Occurrences)

Forty (142 Occurrences)

Produce (140 Occurrences)

Yield (78 Occurrences)

Waste (668 Occurrences)

Eaten (211 Occurrences)

Stopped (134 Occurrences)

Eat (690 Occurrences)

Corn (107 Occurrences)

Eating (151 Occurrences)

Reached (152 Occurrences)

Pride (277 Occurrences)

Causing (248 Occurrences)

Morrow (113 Occurrences)


Vase (3 Occurrences)

Knewest (11 Occurrences)

Kibroth-hattaavah (5 Occurrences)

Kibrothhattaavah (5 Occurrences)

Urn (1 Occurrence)

Overcometh (12 Occurrences)

Omer-full (2 Occurrences)

Overcoming (14 Occurrences)

Overcomes (21 Occurrences)

Omerful (2 Occurrences)

Omer (5 Occurrences)

Overlaid (50 Occurrences)

Laws (184 Occurrences)

Lined (6 Occurrences)

Gilgal (39 Occurrences)

Gold-covered (1 Occurrence)

Wasted (106 Occurrences)

Worm (22 Occurrences)

Wist (13 Occurrences)

Wafers (6 Occurrences)

Withheldest (1 Occurrence)

Withheld (32 Occurrences)

Withhold (32 Occurrences)

Instruct (34 Occurrences)

Forever (426 Occurrences)

Fresh (41 Occurrences)

Feeds (14 Occurrences)

Food (2953 Occurrences)

Four (3139 Occurrences)

Tables (41 Occurrences)

Tabernacle (333 Occurrences)

Tasted (18 Occurrences)

Tamarisk (5 Occurrences)

Rained (11 Occurrences)

Raineth (5 Occurrences)

Resin (4 Occurrences)

Excepted (2 Occurrences)

Eats (57 Occurrences)

Eateth (81 Occurrences)

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