Exodus 16

God sends bread and meat

1 Then all the Israelites left Elim and they came into the desert called Sin. This is between Elim and Sinai. They arrived in the desert on the 15th day of the second month after they had left the country called Egypt. 2 When they were in the desert, all the Israelites said bad things against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them: ‘We wish that the LORD had killed us in Egypt! There, we sat round pots of meat. We ate all the food that we wanted. But now you have brought us into this desert. We will all die, every one of us, because there is no food to eat.’

4 Then the LORD spoke to Moses. He said: ‘I will cause bread to fall down from the sky for you. Each day, the people must go out and pick up enough bread for that day. In this way I will discover what they are like. I will discover whether they will obey my rules. 5 And on the sixth day, they must pick up and prepare twice as much bread.’

6 So Moses and Aaron spoke to the Israelites. They said: ‘In the evening, you will know who brought you out of Egypt. It was the LORD! 7 And in the morning, you will see how great and powerful the LORD is. The LORD has heard the bad things that you have said against him. We, Moses and Aaron, are not important. You should not say bad things against us.’ 8 And Moses also said: ‘The LORD will give you meat to eat in the evening. And in the morning, the LORD will give you all the bread that you want. He will do this because he has heard you. He has heard the bad things that you have said against him. Aaron and I are not important. You have said bad things against the LORD, not against us.’

9 Then Moses spoke to Aaron: ‘Say to all the Israelites: “Come near, in front of the LORD. He has heard the bad things that you have said against him.” ’ 10 While Aaron spoke, the Israelites looked towards the desert. And they saw the glory of the LORD! It appeared in the cloud.

11 Then the LORD spoke to Moses. 12 He said: ‘I have heard the bad things that the Israelites have said against me. Tell them this: “In the evening, you will eat meat. And in the morning you will eat all the bread that you want. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” ’

13 That same evening, quails flew down and they covered the whole ground.

16:13A quail is a small bird. The Israelites caught and killed the quails. Then they cooked and ate them.

And in the morning, there was something like rain on all the ground where the Israelites were living. 14 When the ground was dry again, small white pieces of material remained on the ground in the desert. They looked like little pieces of ice. 15 When the Israelites saw these pieces, they said: ‘What is it?’ They did not understand what it was. But Moses said to them: ‘This is the bread that the LORD has given to you. It is for you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: “Every man must pick up as much as he needs to eat. Pick up about two litres for each person who lives in your tent.” ’

17 So the Israelites did this. Some of them picked up a lot of the food. Some of them picked up a little food. 18 But when they measured the amount, everyone had the right amount of food. The person who had picked up a lot did not have too much. And the person who had picked up only a little food still had enough food. Each person had picked up what he needed.

19 Then Moses said to them: ‘Do not keep any of it until the morning.’

20 But some of them did not listen to Moses. They kept part of the food until the morning. But very small snakes appeared in it. And it began to have a bad smell. Then Moses was angry with those people.

21 Each morning, everyone picked up as much food as he needed. But when the heat of the sun became strong, the food became soft. Then it went away. 22 On the sixth day, the Israelites picked up twice as much food. They picked up four litres for each person. Then the leaders of the people reported this to Moses. 23 Moses said to them: ‘This is what the LORD commanded you to do. He said: “Tomorrow is a special day for rest. It is a Sabbath day, for the LORD. Cook the food that you want to cook. Boil the food that you want to boil. And you can keep whatever remains, until the morning.” ’

24 So they kept the food until the morning, as Moses had said. The food did not have a bad smell and there were no small snakes in it. 25 Moses said: ‘Eat it today, because this day is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any food on the ground today. 26 On six days of the week, you must pick it up from the ground. But on the 7th day of the week, there will be none of this food on the ground. That is because the 7th day is the Sabbath day.’

27 But on the 7th day, some of the people went out to pick up food. And they did not find any. 28 Then the LORD spoke to Moses. He said: ‘The people always refuse to obey my commands. They always refuse to do what I say! 29 Remember that the LORD has given the Sabbath to you. That is why he gives you enough food for two days. He does this on the sixth day. Then everyone must stay at home on the 7th day. Nobody must go out on the 7th day.’ 30 So the people rested on the 7th day.

31 Now the Israelites called the special food ‘manna’. It was white, like coriander seed. When they tasted the manna, it was like thin pieces of bread with honey in it.

16:31‘Coriander’ is a food plant. People use the seeds to make food taste good.

32 And Moses said: ‘This is what the LORD has commanded. He said: “Keep 1 omer of manna (this is equal to 2 litres) for the people in future times. Then they will see the bread that I fed to you in the desert. I gave this to you when I brought you out of the country called Egypt.” ’

33 So Moses spoke to Aaron. He said: ‘Put one omer of manna into a pot. Then put the pot in front of the LORD in the tabernacle. We must keep it, so that our people can see it in the future times.’

34 And Aaron did what the LORD had said to Moses. He put the pot in front of the Testimony, to keep it safe.

16:34Verse 34 tells us about something that happened at a later time. In Exodus 25:10, 16, we read that Moses made a special box called the Ark of the Covenant. In the box he put the Testimony. This was two stones on which God had written his 10 rules. After Moses had made the Ark of the Covenant, Aaron put the pot of manna into it.

35 The Israelites ate the manna for 40 years, until they had finished their journey. They ate it until they came to the country called Canaan.

36 (10 omers is equal to 1 ephah.)