And the LORD said to Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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.
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.
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?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 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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