The LORD sends food from heaven
1On the fifteenth day of the second month after the Israelites had escaped from Egypt, they left Elim and started through the western edge of the Sinai Desert#16.1 the western edge of the Sinai Desert: Hebrew “the Sin Desert”. in the direction of Mount Sinai. 2There in the desert they started complaining to Moses and Aaron, 3“We wish the LORD had killed us in Egypt. When we lived there, we could at least sit down and eat all the bread and meat we wanted. But you have brought us out here into this desert, where we are going to starve.”
4The LORD said to Moses, “I will send bread#16.4 bread: This was something like a thin wafer, and it was called “manna”, which in Hebrew means, “What is it?” down from heaven like rain. Each day the people can go out and gather only enough for that day. That's how I will see if they obey me.#Jn 6.31. 5But on the sixth day of each week they must gather and cook twice as much.”
6Moses and Aaron told the people, “This evening you will know that the LORD was the one who rescued you from Egypt. 7And in the morning you will see his glorious power, because he has heard your complaints against him. Why should you grumble to us? Who are we?”
8Then Moses continued, “You will know it is the LORD when he gives you meat each evening and more than enough bread each morning. He is really the one you are complaining about, not us—we are nobodies—but the LORD has heard your complaints.”
9Moses turned to Aaron and said, “Bring the people together, because the LORD has heard their complaints.”
10Aaron was speaking to them, when everyone looked out towards the desert and saw the bright glory of the LORD in a cloud. 11The LORD said to Moses, 12“I have heard my people complain. Now tell them that each evening they will have meat and each morning they will have more than enough bread. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.”
13That evening a lot of quails came and landed everywhere in the camp, and the next morning dew covered the ground. 14After the dew had gone, the desert was covered with thin flakes that looked like frost. 15The people had never seen anything like this, and they started asking each other, “What is it?”#16.15 What is it: See the note at 16.4.#1 Co 10.3.
Moses answered, “This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. 16And he orders you to gather about two litres for each person in your family—that should be more than enough.”
17They did as they were told. Some gathered more and some gathered less, 18according to their needs, and none was left over.#2 Co 8.15.
19Moses told them not to keep any overnight. 20Some of them disobeyed, but the next morning what they kept was stinking and full of worms, and Moses was angry.
21Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and in the heat of the day the rest melted. 22However, on the sixth day of the week, everyone gathered enough to have four litres, instead of two. When the leaders reported this to Moses, 23he told them that the LORD had said, “Tomorrow is the Sabbath, a sacred day of rest in honour of me. So gather all you want to bake or boil, and make sure you save enough for tomorrow.”#Ex 20.8-11.
24The people obeyed, and the next morning the food smelt fine and had no worms. 25“You may eat the food,” Moses said. “Today is the Sabbath in honour of the LORD, and there won't be any of this food on the ground today. 26You will find it there for the first six days of the week, but not on the Sabbath.”
27A few of the Israelites did go out to look for some, but there was none. 28Then the LORD said, “Moses, how long will you people keep disobeying my laws and teachings? 29Remember that I was the one who gave you the Sabbath. That's why on the sixth day I provide enough bread for two days. Everyone is to stay at home and rest on the Sabbath.” 30And so they rested on the Sabbath.
31The Israelites called the bread manna.#16.31 manna: See the note at 16.4. It was white like coriander seed and delicious as wafers made with honey.#Nu 11.7-8. 32Moses told the people that the LORD had said, “Store up two litres of this manna, because I want future generations to see the food I gave you during the time you were in the desert after I rescued you from Egypt.”
33Then Moses told Aaron, “Put some manna in a jar and store it in the place of worship for future generations to see.”#He 9.4.
34Aaron followed the LORD's instructions and put the manna in front of the sacred chest for safekeeping. 35-36The Israelites ate manna for forty years, before they came to the border of Canaan that was a settled land.#16.35,36 land: The Hebrew text adds, “An omer is one tenth of an ephah.” In the CEV “omer” is usually translated “two litres”.#Js 5.12.