Exodus 16:28
And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
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(28) How long refuse ye to keep my commandments ?—The people had already broken one of the positive precepts with respect to the manna (see Exodus 16:20); now they broke another—in the spirit, at any rate—since they would have gathered had they found anything to gather. Thus they provoked God a second time; yet was He “so merciful, that He destroyed them not,” but “turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath” (Psalm 78:38). Apparently He made allowance for the ordinance being a new one, to which they were not yet accustomed.

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.How long - The reference to Exodus 16:4 is obvious. The prohibition involved a trial of faith, in which as usual the people were found wanting. Every miracle formed some part, so to speak, of an educational process. 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.

The Lord spoke unto Moses, that he might speak it to the people. He signifies that this was an old disease in them, to disobey God’s precepts, and to pollute his sabbaths.

And the Lord said unto Moses,.... Who had seen and taken notice of what those men had done, who went out into the field to seek for manna on the seventh day, and was displeased with it, and therefore spoke to Moses out of the cloud:

how long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? this is not said merely with respect to their breach of the commandment of the sabbath, as if they had long refused to observe and keep that; whereas that was but one command, and but just given; but upon their breach of that, he takes occasion to upbraid them with their former transgressions of other laws of his, and which they had continued in, or at least were frequently committing; and which was a proof of their perverseness and rebellion against him, though he was so kind and bountiful to them.

And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
28. How long, &c.] Cf. the similarly introduced reproachful question, Numbers 14:11 (J); also Joshua 18:3.

my commandments and my laws] There has been no mention before the present chapter of the Israelites’ refusal to obey Jehovah’s commands. But P’s account of the manna probably stood originally (see p. 144) at a later point of the narrative.

Verse 28. - How long refuse ye to keep my commandments! Though Moses is addressed, it is the people who are blamed. Hence the plural verb, "refuse ye." Already there had been one act of disobedience in connection with the manna (see ver. 20) - now there was another - when would such sinful folly come to an end? When would the people learn that they could gain nothing by disobedience? It was "long" indeed before they were taught the lesson. Exodus 16:28On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather manna, notwithstanding Moses' command, but they found nothing. Whereupon God reproved their resistance to His commands, and ordered them to remain quietly at home on the seventh day. Through the commandments which the Israelites were to keep in relation to the manna, this gift assumed the character of a temptation, or test of their obedience and faith (cf. Exodus 16:4).
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