Exodus 16:1-3 The children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Sinai. (Thirty days after their departure from Rameses) They grumbled against Moses saying they were better off dying in Egypt where they had plenty of food than starving in the wilderness.
Notes: The hand of the Lord, which they had glorified in song (15:6) only a month beforehand, they now pretended would have been better used to kill them in Egypt.
Exodus 16:4-5 The Lord rained bread from Heaven (Jesus said He was the Bread of Life, the bread that came down from Heaven) as a daily provision to test their faith. They would gather twice as much on the 6th day for the Sabbath day of rest.
Notes: The provision of bread from heaven was meant to signify not simply the satisfaction of Israel’s physical needs but also that their whole lives were to be sustained by the Lord and governed by his word. In response to the request for a manna-like sign shortly after he has fed five thousand, Jesus makes the same point about himself when he says, “I am the bread that came down from heaven”
Exodus 16:6-8 Moses told the children of Israel that when they were really grumbling to the Lord when they complained. Moses said that the Lord will give them meat to eat in the evening and bread to eat in the morning so that they may know that the Lord brought them out of Egypt, not Moses, so that they will stop grumbling and blaming Moses.
Exodus 16:9-12 Moses instructed Aaron to gather the children of Israel together and behold they saw the glory of the Lord as in a cloud. The Lord instructed to Moses to tell the children of Israel about His plan for the meat and bread.
Exodus 16:13-21 Quail came to the camp at night for meat, and in the morning, after the dew disappeared from the ground, it left a fine, flake-like thing which was the bread the Lord gave them to gather in the morning, for when the sun became hot, the bread that was not gathered melted away. They gathered and ate just enough to feed who lived in each family’s tent for the day. None of it was to be left until morning, but because they did not listen to Moses, the left over bread produced worms and stank, which angered Moses.
Exodus 16:22-30 Moses told the leaders the 7th day was the Holy Sabbath rest. Bake and boil everything on the 6th day to be eaten on the 7th day. Only the bread left over on the evening of the 6th day did not produce worms and stink. This illustrates that the manna’s condition is controlled, as their lives should be, by the word of the Lord. It was supernaturally produced and supernaturally sustained to last for the Sabbath!
No bread would be on the ground on the 7th day to gather, but some did not listen, and on the 7th day they went out to gather the bread but found none. The Lord was angry and again reminded Moses to tell the people that the 7th day was a day of rest and that is why there would be no gathering or preparing meals on that day.
Exodus 16:31-36 Israel called this bread from Heaven, manna, the name chosen for it derived from the question they asked. “Manna” was an older form of their question, “What is it?”. It tasted like wafers made with honey. Moses commanded that an omer (Slightly more than 2 quarts) of it be kept for proof to future generations. Moses had Aaron take a jar and place the manna in it and place it next to the testimony (Ten Commandments on tablets of stone) and be kept. They ate the manna for forty years until the time they finally entered the promised land.
Notes: This section about keeping the manna in a jar is topical and not chronological seeing that Israel wasn’t given the testimony yet and there was no ark to put it in; Neither was the tabernacle yet built that housed the ark of the covenant. This occurred later in the narrative. Again, the reason for this is that the first five books of the Old Testament were written toward the end of the children of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness and right before they entered the Promised Land.