Exodus 16:23
And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
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(23) To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord.—Heb., to morrow is a rest of a holy Sabbath to Jehovah. If the translation of the Authorised Version were correct, the previous institution of the Sabbath, and the knowledge, if not the observance, of it by the Israelites would be necessarily implied, since no otherwise would the double use of the article be intelligible. But in the Hebrew there is no article either here or in Exodus 16:25. The absence of the article indicates that it is a new thing which is announced—if not absolutely, at any rate to those to whom the announcement is made. Much, no doubt, may be said in favour of a primæval institution of the Sabbath (see the comment on Genesis 2:2-3); and its observance in a certain sense by the Babylonians (see the first Note on Exodus 16:5) is in favour of its having been known to the family of Abraham; but during the Egyptian oppression the continued observance would have been impossible, and the surprise of the elders, as well as the words of Moses, show that at this time the idea was, to the Israelites, practically a novelty.

Bake . . . Seethe.—These directions imply a very different substance from any of the natural forms of manna. The heavenly “giftcould be either made into a paste and baked, or converted into a porridge.

Exodus 16:23. This is that which the Lord hath spoken — Either to Moses, by inspiration, or to the former patriarchs, on a like occasion. It is agreeable to the former word and law of God concerning the sabbath. To-morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath — Here is a plain intimation of the observing a seventh-day sabbath, not only before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, but before the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, and therefore from the beginning. If the sabbath had now been first instituted, how could Moses have understood what God said to him (Exodus 16:5) concerning a double portion to be gathered on the sixth day, without making any express mention of the sabbath? And how could the people have so readily taken the hint, (Exodus 16:22,) even to the surprise of the rulers, before Moses had declared that it was done with regard to the sabbath, if they had not had some knowledge of the sabbath before? The setting apart of one day in seven for holy work, and in order to that for holy rest, was a divine appointment ever since God created man upon the earth.

16:22-31 Here is mention of a seventh-day sabbath. It was known, not only before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, but before the bringing of Israel out of Egypt, even from the beginning, Ge 2:3. The setting apart one day in seven for holy work, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was ever since God created man upon the earth, and is the most ancient of the Divine laws. Appointing them to rest on the seventh day, he took care that they should be no losers by it; and none ever will be losers by serving God. On that day they were to fetch in enough for two days, and to make it ready. This directs us to contrive family affairs, so that they may hinder us as little as possible in the work of the sabbath. Works of necessity are to be done on that day; but it is desirable to have as little as may be to do, that we may apply ourselves the more closely to prepare for the life that is to come. When they kept manna against a command, it stank; when they kept it by a command, it was sweet and good; every thing is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. On the seventh day God did not send the manna, therefore they must not expect it, nor go out to gather. This showed that it was produced by miracle.Tomorrow ... - Or, Tomorrow is a rest, a Sabbath holy to Yahweh: i. e. tomorrow must be a day of rest, observed strictly as a Sabbath, or festal rest, holy to Jehovah.

Bake ... - These directions show that the manna thus given differed essentially from the natural product. Here and in Numbers 11:8 it is treated in a way which shows that it had the property of grain, could be ground in a mortar, baked and boiled. Ordinary manna is used as honey, it cannot be ground, and it melts when exposed to a moderate heat, forming a substance like barley sugar, called "manna tabulata." In Persia it is boiled with water and brought to the consistency of honey. The Arabs also boil the leaves to which it adheres, and the manna thus dissolved floats on the water as a glutinous or oily substance. It is obvious that these accounts are inapplicable to the manna from heaven, which had the characteristics and nutritive properties of bread.

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.

This is that which the Lord hath said; either to Moses by inspiration, or to the former patriarchs upon like occasions: this practice is agreeable to the former word and law of God concerning the sabbath, as it follow.

Bake and seethe: the manna was dressed these two ways, Numbers 11:8. The words to-day are not in the original, and possibly are better left out than taken in; or if they be taken in, they do not seem to me, as they do to many others, to prove that they were commanded to bake or seethe on the sixth day all that they were to eat both that day and upon the following sabbath, or that they were forbidden to bake or seethe it upon the sabbath day; for there is not a word here to that purpose; and it is apparent from the whole context, that the rest of the sabbath is not opposed to their baking or seething of it, but to their going out into the field to gather it. Nay, the contrary is here implied, because after they had baken and sodden what they intended to bake or seethe, part of the

manna did, as is here expressly added,

remain over, and was reserved for the sabbath day’s provision, and that unbaken and unsodden, otherwise it would not have been noted as a miraculous thing, that it did not stink nor breed worms, Exodus 16:24.

Lay up until the morning: what you do not eat this day, keep for the next day’s provision.

And he said unto them, this is that which the Lord hath said,.... Which he had said to Moses privately, for as yet he had said it to none else:

tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord; according to Jarchi, the rulers asked Moses what this day was, different from other days, that double the quantity should be gathered? from whence, he says, we learn, that Moses had not as yet declared the sabbath to them; and this is indeed the first time we read of one; and though, as there was divine worship before, there must be times for it; but as there was as yet no certain place for worship, so no certain time for it, but as it was appointed by the heads of families, or as more families might agree unto and unite in; at least no day before this appears to be a day of rest from servile labour, as well as for holy use and service:

bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; the phrase "today" is not in the text, and not necessarily supplied; the sense being plainly this, that they might take and boil what they would, and dress as much of the manna as they pleased, and eat what they would, but not that they were to bake and boil for the next day; for it is clear, by what follows, that the manna of the next day was not dressed either way, for then it would be no wonder that it did not stink; and as yet the law for not kindling a fire on the sabbath day was not given; and therefore, for aught to the contrary, they might roast or seethe on that day, or eat it as it was, as they themselves thought fit:

and that which remaineth over; what they did not bake, nor seethe, nor eat:

lay up for you to be kept until the morning whereas on other days they were to leave nothing of it till the morning, but destroy it or cast it away, whatever was left uneaten.

And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
23. This is that which Jehovah hath spoken] Leviticus 10:3 (P), also introducing an explanation of something unexpected.

a solemn rest] a cessation or resting; Heb. shabbâthôn (analogous in form to shiddâphôn, blasting, Deuteronomy 28:22, timmâhôn, astonishment, ib. v. 28, zikkârôn, memorial, Exodus 12:14, &c.), akin to shabbâth (‘sabbath’): there is nothing in the word to suggest the idea of ‘solemn.’ The term is a technical one in P: it is used of New Year’s Day, Leviticus 23:24, of the first and eighth days of the Feast of Booths, ib. v. 39, and of the sabbatical year, Leviticus 25:5; also, in the expression shabbath shabbâthôn, ‘sabbath of cessation’ (intensifying the idea of cessation from work), of the sabbath, Exodus 31:15; Exodus 35:2, Leviticus 23:3; of the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:31; Leviticus 23:32; and of the sabbatical year, Leviticus 25:4†.

bake, &c.] i.e. bake and boil to-day, in each way, whatever you please; and what you do not eat to-day, keep for to-morrow.

lay up] as Leviticus 7:15 (EVV. leave), in a similar connexion.

to be kept] Heb. for a keeping, as Exodus 12:6 (see the note), Numbers 19:9; and (for a permanency) vv. 32, 33, 34 below, Numbers 17:10. Another of P’s technical expressions.

27–30 (J). From the disregard shewn by some of the people to the promise of v. 5 (which was followed, presumably, in J, when J’s narrative was intact, by an express prohibition to gather the manna on the seventh day), Moses takes occasion to inculcate the observance of the sabbath.

Exodus 16:23Moreover, God bestowed His gift in such a manner, that the Sabbath was sanctified by it, and the way was thereby opened for its sanctification by the law. On the sixth day of the week the quantity yielded was twice as much, viz., two omers for one (one person). When the princes of the congregation informed Moses of this, he said to them, "Let tomorrow be rest (שׁבּתון), a holy Sabbath to the Lord." They were to bake and boil as much as was needed for the day, and keep what was over for the morrow, for on the Sabbath they would find none in the field. They did this, and what was kept for the Sabbath neither stank nor bred worms. It is perfectly clear from this event, that the Israelites were not acquainted with any sabbatical observance at that time, but that, whilst the way was practically opened, it was through the decalogue that it was raised into a legal institution (see Exodus 10:8.). שׁבּתון is an abstract noun denoting "rest," and שׁבּי a concrete, literally the observer, from which it came to be used as a technical term for the seventh day of the week, which was to be observed as a day of rest to the Lord.
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