Exodus 16:31 MEANING

Exodus 16:31
(31) Manna.--Rather, man. (See Note on Exodus 16:15.) "Manna" is a Greek form, first used by the LXX. translator of Numbers (Exodus 11:6-7; Exodus 11:9).

It was like coriander seed.--The appearance of the manna is compared above to hoar frost (Exodus 16:14); here, and in Numbers 11:7, to coriander seed. The former account describes its look as it lay on the ground, the latter its appearance after it was collected and brought in. The coriander seed is "a small round grain, of a whitish or yellowish grey." In Numbers it is further said that the colour was that of bdellium, which is a whitish resin.

The taste of it was like wafers made with honey.--In Numbers the taste is compared to that of fresh oil (Numbers 11:8). The wafers or cakes used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and other ancient nations as offerings, were ordinarily composed of fine wheaten flour, oil, and honey. According to a Jewish tradition which finds a place in the Book of Wisdom (Exodus 16:20-21), the taste of the manna varied according to the wish of the eater, and "tempered itself to every man's liking."

Verses 31-36. - THE APPEARANCE OF THE MANNA, ITS CONTINUANCE, AND ITS DEPOSITION IN THE TABERNACLE. - In bringing the subject of the manna to a conclusion, the writer adds a few words.

1. On its appearance;

2. On its deposition by divine command in the Ark of the Covenant; and

3. On its continuance during the forty years of the wanderings.

It is evident that verses 32-34 cannot have been written until after the sojourn in Sinai, and the command to make a tabernacle (ch. 26.): as also that verse 35 cannot have been written till the arrival of the Israelites at the verge of the land of Canaan. But there is nothing in the passage that militates against the Mosaic authorship of the whole. Verse 31. - The house of Israel. This expression is unusual, and is not admitted by the Septuagint, the Syriac, or the Arabic versions, which all have "the children of Israel." Several Hebrew MSS. have bent, "sons," instead of beyth "house." Manna. Literally, as in the Septuagint, man - the word used when they first beheld the substance (verse 15), and probably meaning "a gift.:' The elongated form manna, first appears in the Sept. rendering of Numbers 11:6, 7. It was like coriander seed. This is "a small round grain of a whitish or yellowish grey." The comparison is made again in Numbers 11:7, where it is added that the colour was that of bdellium - either the gum so called, or possibly the pearl. The taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Such wafers or cakes were constantly used as offerings by the Egyptians, Greeks, and other nations. They were ordinarily compounded of meal, oil, and honey. Hence we can reconcile with the present passage the statement in Numbers 11:8, that "the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil."

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.And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna,.... For till now they had given it no name; which shows that the words are not to be read as we render them in Exodus 16:15 it is manna, unless this is to be considered as a confirmation of that name; but rather as an interrogation, "what is it?" though, from thence, "man" being the first word they made use of on sight of it, might so call it; or as others, from its being now an appointed, prepared, portion and gift, which they every day enjoyed; see Gill on Exodus 16:15,

and it was like coriander seed, white that the colour of the manna was white is not only here asserted, but is plain from other passages, it being like the hoar frost, which is white, Exodus 16:14 and its colour is the colour of bdellium, Numbers 11:7 or pearl, which is of a white bright colour, as the word is interpreted by the Jews; and who say (u), that the manna was round as a coriander seed, and white as a pearl; but then if it is here compared to the coriander seed on that account, some other seed than what we call coriander seed must be meant, since that is off darkish colour; though it is thought by most that the comparison with it is not on account of the colour, but its form being round, as a coriander seed is, and as the manna is said to be, Exodus 16:14. Josephus (w) thinks it is compared to the coriander seed for its being about the size of that seed; though I must confess it seems to me to be compared to the coriander seed for its colour, and therefore "Gad", the word used, must signify something else than what we call coriander seed; but what that is, is not easy to say: Ben Gersom is of the same mind, and thinks it refers to colour, and fancies the "Gad" had his name from his whiteness, Genesis 20:11. Artapanus (x), the Heathen, makes mention of this food of the Jews in the wilderness, where, he says, they were thirty years; during which time God rained upon them meal like to panic (a sort of grain like millet), in colour almost as white as snow: and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey; or cakes that had honey mixed in them: though in Numbers 11:8 the taste of it is said to be as the taste of fresh oil, which Saadiah Gaon, Aben Ezra, and others, account for thus; that if a man ate of it as it came down, it was as cakes of honey, but, when dressed, it was as the taste of fresh oil; however, it was very palatable and agreeable to the taste; honey that drops from palm trees is said to be not much different in taste from oil: the Jews (y) have a notion that there were all kinds of tastes in the manna, suited to the ages and appetites of persons, and that as they would have it, so it tasted; which notion the author of the book of Wisdom seems to give into,"Instead whereof thou feddest thine own people with angels' food, and didst send them from heaven bread prepared without their labour, able to content every man's delight, and agreeing to every taste. For thy sustenance declared thy sweetness unto thy children, and serving to the appetite of the eater, tempered itself to every man's liking.'' (Wisdom 16:20-21)Leo Africanus (z) speaks of a sort of manna found in great plenty in the deserts in Libya, which the inhabitants gather in vessels every morning to carry to market, and which being mixed with water is drank for delight, and being put into broth has a very refreshing virtue: of the round form and white colour of manna, as applicable to Christ, notice has been taken on Exodus 16:14 and the sweetness of its taste well agrees with him the antitype: his person is so to them who have tasted that the Lord is gracious; his word or Gospel is sweeter than the honey or the honeycomb; his mouth is most sweet, the doctrines that proceed from it, and the exceeding great and precious promises of it; his fruits and the blessings of his grace, peace, pardon, righteousness, &c. are sweet to those that sit under his shadow, where faith often feeds sweetly and with delight upon him,

(u) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 75. 1.((w) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 1. sect. 6. (x) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 436. (y) Shemot Rabba, sect 25. fol. 108. 4. & Bemidar Rabba, sect. 7. fol. 188. (z) Descriptio Africae, l. 7. p. 631.

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