Exodus 16:9
And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
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16:1-12 The provisions of Israel, brought from Egypt, were spent by the middle of the second month, and they murmured. It is no new thing for the greatest kindness to be basely represented as the greatest injuries. They so far undervalue their deliverance, that they wished they had died in Egypt; and by the hand of the Lord, that is, by the plagues which cut off the Egyptians. We cannot suppose they had plenty in Egypt, nor could they fear dying for want in the wilderness, while they had flocks and herds: none talk more absurdly than murmurers. When we begin to fret, we ought to consider, that God hears all our murmurings. God promises a speedy and constant supply. He tried whether they would trust him, and rest satisfied with the bread of the day in its day. Thus he tried if they would serve him, and it appeared how ungrateful they were. When God plagued the Egyptians, it was to make them know he was their Lord; when he provided for the Israelites, it was to make them know he was their God.The glory of the Lord - the visible appearance described in Exodus 16:10. 4. Then said the Lord unto Moses—Though the outbreak was immediately against the human leaders, it was indirectly against God: yet mark His patience, and how graciously He promised to redress the grievance.

I will rain bread from heaven—Israel, a type of the Church which is from above, and being under the conduct, government, and laws of heaven, received their food from heaven also (Ps 78:24).

that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no—The grand object of their being led into the wilderness was that they might receive a religious training directly under the eye of God; and the first lesson taught them was a constant dependence on God for their daily nourishment.

Before the Lord; either before the cloudy pillar, where God was especially present; or in the place of God’s worship. For though the great tabernacle was not yet built, yet it seems from Exodus 33:7 there was a little tabernacle. For as the solemn, and public, and sabbath worship was among them before the tabernacle was built, so it was necessary. there should be some place where they did assemble together, and perform that worship which was proper to those times, and there God was supposed to be present in a peculiar manner.

And Moses spake unto Aaron,.... Who was his prophet and spokesman to the people:

say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel; to the heads of them, to as many as could conveniently hear him, and were to report what he said to the rest:

come near before the Lord; who was in the pillar of cloud, which from the first appearance of it never removed from them, nor the Lord from that; though some have thought, that before the tabernacle was built, there was some small tent or little tabernacle where the Shechinah was; but for this there is no foundation, there is for the other suggested:

for he hath heard your murmurings; which is repeated again and again, to observe to them the evil of it, and what notice the Lord took of it, though he indulged them in so gracious a manner he did.

And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
9. Come near] for the sacred purpose: cf. Exodus 12:48, Exodus 36:2.

before Jehovah] at the place where He manifests Himself. The expression commonly means, especially in P (e.g. v. 33, Exodus 27:21, Numbers 16:7; Numbers 16:16-17), before the Ark or the Tent of Meeting; and if, as is probable from v. 33 f., P’s account of the manna once stood at a later point in his narrative, this will be the meaning here (so Di.).

9–12. The sequel to v. 3: the murmurings have been heard by Jehovah: the people are told to draw near to Him, while He gives His answer to them; and He communicates His reply to Moses.

Verses 9-21. - THE PROMISE FULFILLED. Moses had made a double promise to the Israelites in God's name. "The Lord shall give you," he had said," in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full" (ver. 8). And now the time for the fulfilment of the double promise approached. First, however, before they received the blessings, he required them to present themselves before the Lord. As they had rebelled in murmuring, an act of homage was proper; and as they had called in question the conduct of Moses and Aaron. some token that God approved the action of these his faithful servants, and would support them, was needed. Hence the appearance of the Lord to the congregation in the cloud (ver. 10). After this, when evening approached, the quails fell. A vast flight of this migratory bird, which often arrives in Arabia Petraea from the sea (Diod. Sic. 1:60), fell to the earth about the Hebrew camp, and, being quite exhausted, lay on the ground in a state which allowed of their being taken by the hand. The Israelites had thus abundant "flesh to eat" (ver. 8), for God "sent them meat enough" (Psalm 78:26). The next morning, the remainder of the promise was fulfilled. When they awoke, they found that the vegetation about the camp was covered with a sort of dew, resembling hoar-frost, which was capable of easy detachment from the leaves, and which proved to be an edible substance. While they were in doubt about the phenomenon, Moses informed them that this was the "bread from heaven" which they had been promised (ver. 15). At the same time he instructed them as to the quantity which they should gather, which he fixed at an omer for each member of their family (ver. 16). In attempting to carry out these instructions, mistakes were not unnaturally made; some exceeded the set quantity, others fell short of it. But the result was found to be the same. Whatever the quantity gathered, when it was brought home and measured, the amount was by miracle made to be exactly an omer for each (ver. 18). Afterwards, Moses gave another order. The whole of the manna was to be consumed (ordinarily) on the day on which it was gathered. When some wilfully disobeyed this command, the reserved manna was found on the next day to have become bad - it had bred worms, and gave out an offensive odour. This circumstance put a stop to the malpractice. Exodus 16:9But before Jehovah manifested Himself to the people in His glory, by relieving their distress, He gave them to behold His glory in the cloud, and by speaking out of the cloud, confirmed both the reproaches and promises of His servants. In the murmuring of the people, their unbelief in the actual presence of God had been clearly manifested. "It was a deep unbelief," says Luther, "that they had thus fallen back, letting go the word and promise of God, and forgetting His former miracles and aid." Even the pillar of cloud, this constant sign of the gracious guidance of God, had lost its meaning in the eyes of the people; so that it was needful to inspire the murmuring multitude with a salutary fear of the majesty of Jehovah, not only that their rebellion against the God who had watched them with a father's care might be brought to mind, but also that the fact might be deeply impressed upon their hearts, that the food about to be sent was a gift of His grace. "Coming near before Jehovah" (Exodus 16:9), was coming out of the tents to the place where the cloud was standing. On thus coming out, "they turned towards the desert" (Exodus 16:10), i.e., their faces were directed towards the desert of Sin; "and, behold, the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud," i.e., in a flash of light bursting forth from the cloud, and revealing the majesty of God. This extraordinary sign of the glory of God appeared in the desert, partly to show the estrangement of the murmuring nation from its God, but still more to show to the people, that God could glorify Himself by bestowing gifts upon His people even in the barren wilderness. For Jehovah spoke to Moses out of this sign, and confirmed to the people what Moses had promised them (Exodus 16:11, Exodus 16:12).
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