Exodus 16:16
This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
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(16) Every man according to his eating.—Comp. Exodus 12:4. Each man was to gather according to his immediate need and that of his family. No one was to seek to accumulate a store.

An omer-About three pints English.

For every man.—Literally, for every head. As families would average four members, each man would have to gather, on an average, six quarts. If even 500,000 men gathered this amount, the daily supply must have been 93,500 bushels.

His tents.—Heb., his tent.

Exodus 16:16. According to his eating — As much as is sufficient. An omer is the tenth part of an ephah: about six pints, wine measure. This was certainly a very liberal allowance, and such as might abundantly satisfy a man of the greatest strength and appetite. Indeed, it would seem too much, were it not that it was very light food, and easy of digestion.

16:13-21 At evening the quails came up, and the people caught with ease as many as they needed. The manna came down in dew. They called it Manna, Manhu, which means, What is this? It is a portion; it is that which our God has allotted us, and we will take it, and be thankful. It was pleasant food; it was wholesome food. The manna was rained from heaven; it appeared, when the dew was gone, as a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost, like coriander seed, in colour like pearls. The manna fell only six days in the week, and in double quantity on the sixth day; it bred worms and became offensive if kept more than one day, excepting on the sabbath. The people had never seen it before. It could be ground in a mill, or beaten in a mortar, and was then made into cakes and baked. It continued the forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, wherever they went, and ceased when they arrived in Canaan. All this shows how different it was from any thing found before, or found now. They were to gather the manna every morning. We are hereby taught, 1. To be prudent and diligent in providing food for ourselves and our households; with quietness working, and eating our own bread, not the bread of idleness or deceit. God's bounty leaves room for man's duty; it did so even when manna was rained; they must not eat till they have gathered. 2. To be content with enough. Those that have most, have for themselves but food and raiment; those that have least, generally have these; so that he who gathers much has nothing over, and he who gathers little has no lack. There is not such a disproportion between one and another in the enjoyment of the things of this life, as in the mere possession of them. 3. To depend upon Providence: let them sleep quietly, though they have no bread in their tents, nor in all their camp, trusting that God, with the following day, would bring them in their daily bread. It was surer and safer in God's storehouse than their own, and would come thence sweeter and fresher. See here the folly of hoarding. The manna laid up by some, who thought themselves wiser, and better managers, than their neighbours, and who would provide lest it should fail next day, bred worms, and became good for nothing. That will prove to be most wasted, which is covetously and distrustfully spared. Such riches are corrupted, Jas 5:2,3. The same wisdom, power, and goodness that brought food daily from above for the Israelites in the wilderness, brings food yearly out of the earth in the constant course of nature, and gives us all things richly to enjoy.An omer - i. e. the tenth part of an Ephah, see Exodus 16:36. The exact quantity cannot be determined, since the measures varied at different times. Josephus makes the omer equal to six half-pints. The ephah was an Egyptian measure, supposed to be about a bushel or one-third of a hin. The word omer, in this sense, occurs in no other passage. It was probably not used at a later period, belonging, like many other words, to the time of Moses. It is found in Old Egyptian. See Leviticus 19:36. 13-31. at even the quails came up, and covered the camp—This bird is of the gallinaceous kind [that is, relating to the order of heavy-bodied, largely terrestrial birds], resembling the red partridge, but not larger than the turtledove. They are found in certain seasons in the places through which the Israelites passed, being migratory birds, and they were probably brought to the camp by "a wind from the Lord" as on another occasion (Nu 11:31).

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.

According to his eating, i.e. as much as is sufficient for his eating.

An omer contains the tenth part of an ephah, and therefore was a very liberal allowance, and such as might abundantly suffice a man of greatest strength and stomach. It might seem too much, but it must be remembered that it was a very light meat, and easy of digestion; nor was every one obliged to eat up his whole portion, as we shall see.

This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded,.... Respecting the gathering of it, the rule or rules he would have observed concerning that, as follows:

gather of it every man according to his eating; according to his appetite, and according to the appetites of those that were in his family, as much as they can all eat; and that they may have enough, the particular quantity is fixed for each of them. This act of gathering, in the mystical sense, may respect the exercise of faith on Christ, laying hold of him as he is held forth in the word, receiving him, and feeding upon him with a spiritual appetite, and that freely, largely, plentifully, and encouraging others to do the same:

an omer for every man; or head, or by poll (p); they were to take the poll of their families, the number of them, and reckon to every head, or assign to every man, such a measure of the manna, and which was sufficient for a man of the keenest appetite; what this measure was; see Gill on Exodus 16:36 This must be understood not of sucking infants, and such that were sick and infirm, and of poor appetites, that could not feed upon and digest such sort of food, only of those that could:

according to the number of your persons, take ye every man for them which are in his tent: this was to be done after it was gathered and brought in, either by certain overseers of this affair, or heads of families, who, according to the number of those that were in their tents, who were eaters of such sort of food, was to take an omer of it for everyone of them.

(p) "ad caput", Montanus; "pro capite", Fagius, Drusius, Cartwright; so Ainsworth.

This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, {g} an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

(g) Which contains about half a gallon in our measure.

16. This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded] so v. 32. One of P’s standing formulae: Exodus 35:4, Leviticus 8:5; Leviticus 9:6; Leviticus 17:2, Numbers 30:2; Numbers 36:6†.

according to his eating] as Exodus 12:4. So vv. 18, 21. This, the rest of the verse goes on to state, would amount on an average to an omer a head in a family.

an omer] only found in this chapter. The Arab. ghumar is a small drinking-cup or bowl, said to be used by Arabs when travelling in the desert: in Heb., it seems, the corresponding word was specialized to denote a measure. The tenth of an ephah (v. 36) would be about 6½ pints (Kennedy, DB. iv. 912). It is remarkable that everywhere else, even in the same source P, the expression used is ‘the tenth part of an ephah’ (4 times), or the special word ‘issârôn (28 times [all P]). Perhaps ‘omer was an old word handed down with the story; the use in P of other expressions in its place seems to imply that when P was written, it was not in general use. Cf. v. 36 (though this might be an explanatory gloss, added afterwards).

a head] Heb. a skull (gulgóleth; cf. ‘Golgotha’). Used similarly in enumerations, by P (Exodus 38:26, Numbers 1:2; Numbers 1:18; Numbers 1:20; Numbers 1:22; Numbers 3:47 [EVV. polls]), and in 1 Chronicles 23:3; 1 Chronicles 23:24.

persons] Heb. souls (see on Exo Exodus 1:5): cf. the same phrase in Exodus 12:4 (P).

Verse 16. - An omer for every man. According to Kalisch, the omer is about two quarts (English): but this estimate is probably in excess. Josephus makes the measure one equal to six cotyles, which would be about a quart and a half, or three pints. In his tents. Rather, "in his tent." Exodus 16:16After explaining the object of the manna, Moses made known to them at once the directions of God about gathering it. In the first place, every one was to gather according to the necessities of his family, a bowl a head, which held, according to Exodus 16:36, the tenth part of an ephah. Accordingly they gathered, "he that made much, and he that made little," i.e., he that gathered much, and he that gathered little, and measured it with the omer; and he who gathered much had no surplus, and he who gathered little had no lack: "every one according to the measure of his eating had they gathered." These words are generally understood by the Rabbins as meaning, that whether they had gathered much or little, when they measured it in their tents, they had collected just as many omers as they needed for the number in their families, and therefore that no one had either superfluity or deficiency. Calvin, on the other hand, and other Christian commentators, suppose the meaning to be, that all that was gathered was placed in a heap, and then measured out in the quantity that each required. In the former case, the miraculous superintendence of God was manifested in this, that no one was able to gather either more or less than what he needed for the number in his family; in the second case, in the fact that the entire quantity gathered, amounted exactly to what the whole nation required. In both cases, the superintending care of God would be equally wonderful, but the words of the text decidedly favour the old Jewish view.
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