The Lord Provides Manna and Quails for the Israelites to Eat
1 The whole community of Israelites moved from Elim and came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. This was on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community complained about Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only the Lord had let us die in Egypt! There we sat by our pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted! You brought us out into this desert to let us all starve to death!”
4 The Lord said to Moses, “I’m going to send you food from heaven like rain. Each day the people should go out and gather only what they need for that day. In this way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. 5 But on the sixth day when they prepare what they bring home, it should be twice as much as they gather on other days.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. 7 In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard you complaining about him. Why are you complaining about us?” 8 Moses also said, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and all the food you want in the morning. The Lord has heard you complaining about him. Who are we? You’re not complaining about us but about the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole community of Israelites, ‘Come into the Lord’s presence. He has heard you complaining.’ ”
10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole community of Israelites, they looked toward the desert. Suddenly, they saw the glory of the Lord in the ⌊column of⌋ smoke.
11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I’ve heard the Israelites complaining. Tell them, ‘At dusk you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat all the food you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”
13 That evening quails came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, the ground was covered with a thin layer of flakes like frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they asked each other, “What is this?” because they didn’t know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It’s the food the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: Each of you should gather as much as you can eat. Take two quarts for each person in your tent.”
17 So that is what the Israelites did. Some gathered more, some less. 18 They measured it into two-quart containers. Those who had gathered more didn’t have too much. Those who had gathered less didn’t have too little. They gathered as much as they could eat.
19 Then Moses said to them, “No one may keep any of it until morning.”
20 But some of them didn’t listen to Moses. They kept part of it until morning, and it was full of worms and smelled bad. So Moses was angry with them.
21 Each morning they gathered as much food as they could eat. When the sun was hot, it melted away. 22 But on the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, four quarts per person. All the leaders of the community came to Moses and told him about it.
23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord said: Tomorrow is a day of worship, a holy day of worship dedicated to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil. Save all that’s left over, and keep it until tomorrow morning.”
24 So they saved it until the next morning as Moses had commanded, but it didn’t smell or have worms in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a day of worship dedicated to the Lord. You won’t find anything on the ground today. 26 You can gather food on six days, but on the seventh day, the day of worship, you won’t find any.”
27 On the seventh day some people went out to gather food, but they didn’t find any. 28 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to do what I have commanded and instructed you to do? 29 Remember: The Lord has given you this day of worship. That’s why he gives you enough food on the sixth day for two days. On the seventh day you may not leave. Everyone, stay where you are.” 30 So the people never worked on the seventh day of the week.
31 The Israelites called the food manna. It was like coriander seeds. It was white and tasted like wafers made with honey.
32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Take two quarts of manna to be kept for your descendants. This way they will see the food that I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.”
33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, put two quarts of manna in it, and put it in the Lord’s presence to be kept for your descendants.” 34 Aaron put the jar of manna in front of the words of God’s promise to be kept there, as the Lord commanded Moses.
35 The Israelites ate manna for 40 years until they came to a place to settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of Canaan.
36 (Now, the standard dry measure at that time held 20 quarts.)