Home > Bible Journal > February 7th, Exodus 16-18: Manna and Quail and Water

February 7th, Exodus 16-18: Manna and Quail and Water

Exodus 16:2-3 says:
2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

The LORD then told Moses that He would rain down bread from heaven. They were to gather the bread for six days, and on the sixth day they were to gather twice the bread for there would be no bread on the seventh day.

Moses and Aaron then informed the Israelites that the LORD had heard their grumbling, and that their grumbling was not against Moses or Aaron but against the LORD. But the LORD would answer them by giving them meat at night and bread in the morning.

That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning a layer of drew appeared on the ground. When the drew dried, flakes like frost appeared on the desert floor. “What is it?” asked many an Israelite.

Moses told them that it was the bread they were to gather. Each Israelite gathered as much as he needed. Then Moses told them that no one was to keep any of it till morning.

Exodus 16:20 says:
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot it melted away. On the sixth day they gathered twice as much. Then Moses told them that the seventh day, the Sabbath, was to be a day of rest.

Exodus 16:27 says:
27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?

So the people rested on the seventh day. The people of Israel called the bread “manna”, which means “What is it?” Moses said to Aaron to take a jar and put an omer of manna in it, to place before the LORD for generations to come. The Israelites ate manna for forty years, i.e. until they come to the border of Canaan.

[Ed. note: This is where the phrase “manna from heaven” comes from, often used to describe an unexpected blessing or fortune.]

The Israelites set out from the Desert of Sin, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and demanded that he give them water to drink.

Exodus 17:3-4 says:
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The LORD instructed Moses to take some of the elders of Israel and the staff and strike the rock at Horeh, and water would come out of it. Moses obeyed.

Then the Amalekites attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses had Joshua lead the troops to battle.

Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered. As long as Moses held his hands up, the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered his hands, the Israelites were losing. So Aaron and Hur each took one hand and held it up for Moses. And so Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses to write that He would blot out the memory of Amalek from under Heaven, and make sure that Joshua hears it.

In Exodus 18, Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, went to visit him. Moses had sent his wife and sons to him, and now Jethro was returning his daughter and grandsons to their father. They greeted each other and went into the tent, where Moses told Jethro everything that had happened and what the LORD had done for the Israelites.

Jethro was delighted to hear all the good things the LORD has done, and acknowledged that the LORD was greater than all other gods, for he crushed those who treated Israel poorly. Jethro then brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron and the other elders of Israel ate bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

The next day Moses took his seat to act as judge for the people, doing so from morning until evening. Jethro saw this was not good and made a suggestion to his son-in-law. Moses should pick God-fearing, trustworthy men to lead divisions of Israelites, as officals over thousands, hundreds, fifties, or tens. The simple cases they can decide themselves, but the difficult cases they could send up the chain to Moses. That would make Moses’ load lighter and satisfy the people, if God so commands.

Moses did as his father-in-law suggested. Then Moses sent Jethro on his way, back to Midian.

Questions: How many times have you grumbled against the LORD? Have you ever taken advice that’s lightened your load and gotten more accomplished?

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