Exodus 16:20
Notwithstanding they listened not to Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
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(20) It bred worms.—On the Sabbath it bred no worms (Exodus 16:24), so that we must view the result spoken of as a punishment for disobedience, not as produced naturally. Neither of the natural mannas is subject to any very rapid decomposition.

Exodus 16:20. Some of them left of it till the morning — Either distrusting God’s providence, for a future supply, or out of curiosity to learn the nature of this manna, and what they might do if occasion required; it bred worms and stank — Not so much of its own nature, which was pure and durable, as from God’s judgment. Thus will that be corrupted in which we do not trust in God, and which we do not employ for his glory.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.It bred worms - This result was supernatural: no such tendency to rapid decomposition is recorded of common manna. 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.

Some of them left of it; either distrusting God’s providence for their future provisions; or out of curiosity to learn the nature of this manna, and what they might do when occasion required. It stank, not so much from its own nature, which was pure and durable, as from God’s judgment. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses,.... That is, not all of them, some of them did, and perhaps the far greater part of them:

but some of them left it until the morning; out of distrust, for fear they should have none the next day; being men of little faith, that could not trust God for a supply for the morrow; the Targum of Jonathan says, these were Dathan and Abiram; and so Jarchi:

and it bred worms, and stank; or by an "hysteron proteron", and transposition of the words, the sense may be, that it stank, corrupted, and putrefied, and so produced worms, in which order the words lie, Exodus 16:24, and this was not from the nature of the manna to breed worms so soon, but God so ordering and disposing it, that it should do so; for otherwise it would keep to another day, as what was gathered on the sixth day kept to the seventh, and there was a part of it kept for many ages, see Exodus 16:24, and since the manna was of the meal kind, perhaps those worms it bred might be of the weevil sort, as Scheuchzer conjectures (s):

and Moses was wroth with them; for breaking the commandment of God.

(s) Physica Sacra, vol. 2. p. 179.

Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and {i} stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

(i) No creature is so pure, but being abused it turns to our destruction.

Verse 20. - It bred worms. This was a supernatural, not a natural result. It served as a sort of punishment of the disobedient, and effectually checked the practice of laying up in store. The same evening (according to Exodus 16:12, "between the two evenings," vid., Exodus 12:6) quails came up and covered the camp. עלה: to advance, applied to great armies. השּׂלו, with the article indicating the generic word, and used in a collective sense, are quails, ὀρτυγομήτρα (lxx); i.e., the quail-king, according to Hesychius ὄρτυξ ὑπερμεγέθης, and Phot. ὄρτυξ μέγας, hence a large species of quails, ὄρτυγες (Josephus), coturnices (Vulg.). Some suppose it to be the Kat or the Arabs, a kind of partridge which is found in great abundance in Arabia, Palestine, and Syria. These fly in such dense masses that the Arab boys often kill two or three at a time, by merely striking at them with a stick as they fly (Burckhardt, Syr. p. 681). But in spring the quails also come northwards in immense masses from the interior of Africa, and return in autumn, when they sometimes arrive so exhausted, that they can be caught with the hand (cf. Diod. Sic. i. 60; v. Schubert, Reise ii. p. 361). Such a flight of quails was now brought by God, who caused them to fall in the camp of the Israelites, so that it was completely covered by them. Then in the morning there came an "effusion of dew round about the camp; and when the effusion of dew ascended (i.e., when the mist that produced the dew had cleared away), behold there (it lay) upon the surface of the desert, fine, congealed, fine as the hoar-frost upon the ground." The meaning of the ἁπ. λεγ. מחספּס is uncertain. The meaning, scaled off, scaly, decorticatum, which is founded upon the Chaldee rendering מקלּף, is neither suitable to the word nor to the thing. The rendering volutatum, rotundum, is better; and better still perhaps that of Meier, "run together, curdled." When the Israelites noticed this, which they had never seen before, they said to one another, הוּא מן, τί ἐστι τοῦτο (lxx), "what is this?" for they knew not what it was. מן for מה belongs to the popular phraseology, and has been retained in the Chaldee and Ethiopic, so that it is undoubtedly to be regarded as early Semitic. From the question, man hu, the divine bread received the name of man (Exodus 16:31), or manna. Kimchi, however, explains it as meaning donum et portio. Luther follows him, and says, "Mann in Hebrew means ready money, a present or a gift;" whilst Gesenius and others trace the word to מנה, to divide, to apportion, and render הוּא מן "what is apportioned, a gift or present." But the Arabic word to which appeal is made, is not early Arabic; and this explanation does not suit the connection. How could the people say "it is apportioned," when they did not know what it was, and Moses had to tell them, it is the bread which Jehovah has given you for food? If they had seen at once that it was food sent them by God, there would have been no necessity for Moses to tell them so.
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