And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, on the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Was gone up—i.e., was drawn up by the heat of the sun.
A small round thing, as small as the hoar frost.—What the manna was has been much disputed. There are two natural substances, quite distinct, with which it has been compared, and by some persons identified. One is a deposit from the air, which falls indifferently on trees, stones, grass, &c, and is generally thick and sticky, like honey, but under certain circumstances is “concreted into small granular masses.” This bas been described by Aristotle (Hist. An., v. 22), Pliny (H. N., xi. 12), Avicenna(p. 212), Ǽlian (Hist. An., xv. 7), Shaw, Forskal, and others. It has been called ὰερόμελι or “air-honey” (Athen. Deipn, xi., p. 500). It is collected by the Arabs, and eaten with their unleavened cakes as a condiment. It so far resembles the manna that it comes with the dew, is spread upon the ground generally, and melts when the sun’s rays attain a certain power (Œdmann: Misc. Collect., vol. iv., p. 7). But it is never found in large quantities; it does not fall for more than two months in the year; and it is wholly unfit to serve as man’s principal food, being more like honey than anything else. The other substance is a gum which exudes from certain trees at certain seasons of the year, in consequence of the punctures made in their leaves by a small insect, the Coccus manniparus. It has been described at length by C. Niebuhr in his Description de l’ Arabie (pp. 128, 129); by Rauwolf (Travels, vol. I., p. 94); Gmelin (Travels through Russia to Persia, Part III., p. 28), and others. It is comparatively a dry substance, is readily shaken from the leaves, and consists of small yellowish – white grains, which are hard, and have been compared to coriander seed by moderns (Rauwolf, 50s.100). The name “manna” attaches in the East to this latter substance, which is employed both as a condiment, like the “air-honey,” and also as a laxative. The special points in which it differs from the manna of Scripture are its confinement to certain trees or bushes, its comparative permanency, for it “accumulates on the leaves” (Niebuhr, p. 129), and its unfitness for food. It has also, like the “air-honey,” only a short season—the months of July and August.
The manna of Scripture in certain respects resembles the one, and in certain other respects the other of these substances, but in its most important characteristics resembles neither, and is altogether sui generis. For (1) it was adapted to be men’s principal nourishment, and served the Israelites as such for forty years; (2) it was supplied in quantities far exceeding anything that is recorded of the natural substances compared with it; (3) it continued through the whole of the year; (4) for forty years it fell regularly for six nights following, and ceased upon the seventh night; (5) it “bred worms” if kept to a second day, when gathered on five days out of the six, but when gathered on the sixth day continued good throughout the seventh, and bred no worms. The manna of Scripture must therefore be regarded as a miraculous substance, created ad hoc, and not as a natural product. It pleased the Creator, however, to proceed on the lines of Nature, so to speak, and to assimilate His new to certain of His old creations.Exodus 16:14. When the dew was gone up — To wit, into the air; or was vanished, there lay a small round thing — According to Numbers 11:9, there was a dew which fell before the manna; for it is said, when the dew fell in the night, the manna fell upon it. But it appears here, that there was also a dew upon it, which went up when the sun rose. So that the manna lay as it were enclosed. This might be designed to keep it pure and clean.
and in the morning … a small round thing … manna—There is a gum of the same name distilled in this desert region from the tamarisk, which is much prized by the natives, and preserved carefully by those who gather it. It is collected early in the morning, melts under the heat of the sun, and is congealed by the cold of night. In taste it is as sweet as honey, and has been supposed by distinguished travellers, from its whitish color, time, and place of its appearance, to be the manna on which the Israelites were fed: so that, according to the views of some, it was a production indigenous to the desert; according to others, there was a miracle, which consisted, however, only in the preternatural arrangements regarding its supply. But more recent and accurate examination has proved this gum of the tarfa-tree to be wanting in all the principal characteristics of the Scripture manna. It exudes only in small quantities, and not every year; it does not admit of being baked (Nu 11:8) or boiled (Ex 16:23). Though it may be exhaled by the heat and afterwards fall with the dew, it is a medicine, not food—it is well known to the natives of the desert, while the Israelites were strangers to theirs; and in taste as well as in the appearance of double quantity on Friday, none on Sabbath, and in not breeding worms, it is essentially different from the manna furnished to the Israelites.When the dew was gone up, to wit, into the air; or, was vanished, as the word ascend is used Jeremiah 48:15.
behold, upon the face of the wilderness; upon the surface of it, all around the camp of Israel:
there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground; which is what is in the next verse called "manna". Before the sun rose there was nothing but a dew to be seen; when that was gone off through the force of the sun, then the manna appeared; which was but a "small thing", and very unpromising for food, and especially for such a vast number of people; and a "round" thing, for which it is after compared to a coriander seed, as is thought; though the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan do not interpret the word of the round form, but rather refer to its smallness; and which is expressed in the Vulgate Latin version,"small, and as if beat with a pestle;''and for its white colour, as well as its smallness, it looked like hoar frost on the ground. Jarchi says there were two dews, within which it lay as something covered in a box, and he seems to be right; for it is certain from Numbers 11:9, that there was a dew which fell first, and then the manna fell upon it; and from hence it is plain also, that there was a dew over the manna, which went up from it when the sun rose: and the design of this seems to be to keep this heavenly bread pure and clean for the Israelites, that it might neither partake of the dust nor sand of the wilderness where it fell, and that nothing might light upon it until the time of gathering it came. The Jews, in memory of this, will sometimes put bread upon the table between two table cloths (n); and it is highly probable, that to this the allusion is of the "hidden manna" in Revelation 2:17, by which is meant our Lord Jesus Christ, the antitype of this manna, as will be observed as we pass on, in all the circumstances of it; the manna came with the dew, and was covered with it, and hid in it; Christ is the gift of God's free grace to the sons of men, and is exhibited in the word of grace, where he lies hid to men in the glory of his person and the fulness of his grace, until revealed and made known. The figure of the manna being "round", which is a perfect figure, may denote the perfection of Christ in his person, natures, and office; he being perfectly God and perfectly man, having all the essential perfections both of the divine and human natures in him, as well as all fulness of grace; and being made perfect through sufferings, is become a complete Saviour, and by his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, has perfected for ever his sanctified ones: and the manna being "small", may signify the meanness of Christ in the eyes of men in his state of humiliation, and the unpromising appearance he made of being the Saviour and King of Israel; the white colour of it may direct to the purity of Christ, to the holiness of his natures, and the beauty of his person, being white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousands.And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. The Hebrews conceived dew to fall from heaven (Deuteronomy 33:13; Deuteronomy 33:28, Proverbs 3:20 al.); and the manna falls with it (so Numbers 11:9): cf. v. 4, where it is said to be rained ‘from heaven.’
a thin flake (RVm.)] properly, it seems, from the Arabic, ‘a thin scab or scale-like thing’ (see Di., and Lex.). The word is a peculiar one, and occurs only here: but ‘round’ (Saad., Kimchi, EVV.) has no philological support.Verse 14. - When the dew that lay was gone up. The moisture which lay upon the herbage soon evaporated, drawn up by the sun; and then the miracle revealed itself. There remained upon each leaf and each blade of grass a delicate small substance, compared here to hoar frost, and elsewhere (Numbers 11:7) to "coriander seed," which was easily detached and collected in bags or baskets. The thing was altogether a novelty to the Israelites, though analogous in some degree to natural processes still occurring in the country. These processes are of two kinds. At certain times of the year there is a deposit of a glutinous substance from the air upon leaves and even upon stones, which may be scraped off, and which resembles thick honey. There is also an exudation from various trees and shrubs, especially the tamarisk, which is moderately hard, and is found both on the growing plant and on the fallen leaves beneath it, in the shape of small, round, white or greyish grains. It is this last which is the manna of commerce. The Biblical manna cannot be identified with either of these two substances. In some points it resembled the one, in other points the other; in some, it differed from both. It came out of the air like the "air-honey," and did not exude from shrubs; but it was hard, like the manna of commerce, and could be "ground in mills" and "beaten in mortars," which the "air-honey" cannot. It was not a medicament, like the one, nor a condiment, like the other, but a substance suited to be a substitute for bread, and to become the main sustenance of the Israelitish people. It was produced in quantities far exceeding anything that is recorded of either manna proper, or air honey. It accompanied the Israelites wherever they went during the space of forty years, whereas the natural substances, which in certain points resemble it, are confined to certain districts, and to certain seasons of the year. During the whole space of forty years it fell regularly during six consecutive days, and then ceased on the seventh. It "bred worms" if kept till the morrow on all days of the week except one; on that one - the Sabbath - it bred no worms, but was sweet and good. Thus, it must be regarded as a peculiar substance, miraculously created for a special purpose, but similar in certain respects to certain known substances which are still produced in the Sinaitic region. Exodus 16:1). In their vexation the people expressed the wish that they had died in Egypt by the flesh-pot, in the midst of plenty, "by the hand of Jehovah," i.e., by the last plague which Jehovah sent upon Egypt, rather than here in the desert of slow starvation. The form ויּלּינוּ is a Hiphil according to the consonants, and should be pointed ילּינוּ, from הלּין for הלין (see Ges. 72, Anm. 9, and Ewald, 114c.). As the want really existed, Jehovah promised them help (Exodus 16:4). He would rain bread from heaven, which the Israelites should gather every day for their daily need, to try the people, whether they would walk in His law or not. In what the trial was to consist, is briefly indicated in Exodus 16:5 : "And it will come to pass on the sixth day (of the week), that they will prepare what they have brought, and it will be double what they gather daily." The meaning is, that what they gathered and brought into their tents on the sixth day of the week, and made ready for eating, would be twice as much as what they gathered on every other day; not that Jehovah would miraculously double what was brought home on the sixth day, as Knobel interprets the words in order to make out a discrepancy between Exodus 16:5 and Exodus 16:22. הכין, to prepare, is to be understood as applying partly to the measuring of what had been gathered (Exodus 16:18), and partly to the pounding and grinding of the grains of manna into meal (Numbers 11:8). In what respect this was a test for the people, is pointed out in Exodus 16:16. Here, in Exodus 16:4 and Exodus 16:5, the promise of God is only briefly noticed, and its leading points referred to; it is described in detail afterwards, in the communications which Moses and Aaron make to the people. In Exodus 16:6, Exodus 16:7, they first tell the people, "At even, then shall ye know that Jehovah hath brought you out of Egypt; and in the morning, then shall ye see the glory of the Lord." Bearing in mind the parallelism of the clauses, we obtain this meaning, that in the evening and in the morning the Israelites would perceive the glory of the Lord, who had brought them out of Egypt. "Seeing" is synonymous with "knowing." Seeing the glory of Jehovah did not consist in the sight of the glory of the Lord which appeared in the cloud, as mentioned in Exodus 16:10, but in their perception or experience of that glory in the miraculous gift of flesh and bread (Exodus 16:8, cf. Numbers 14:22). "By His hearing" (בּשׁמעו), i.e., because He has heard, "your murmuring against Jehovah ("Against Him" in Exodus 16:8, as in Genesis 19:24); for what are we, that ye murmur against us?" The murmuring of the people against Moses and Aaron as their leaders really affected Jehovah as the actual guide, and not Moses and Aaron, who had only executed His will. Jehovah would therefore manifest His glory to the people, to prove to them that He had heard their murmuring. The announcement of this manifestation of God is more fully explained to the people by Moses in Exodus 16:8, and the explanation is linked on to the leading clause in Exodus 16:7 by the words, "when He giveth," etc. Ye shall see the glory of Jehovah, when Jehovah shall give you, etc.
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