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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 16

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The Desert of Sin. 1Having set out from Elim, the whole Israelite community came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month* after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2Here in the desert the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3The Israelites said to them, “Would that we had died at the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”

The Quail and Manna. 4Then the LORD said to Moses, r Pss 78, 24f; 105, 40; Jn 6, 31f; 1 Cor 10, 3 . “I will now rain down bread from heaven* for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not. 5On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 6So Moses and Aaron told all the Israelites, “At evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt; 7and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, as he heeds your grumbling against him. s 6f: Ex 16, 12 . But what are we that you should grumble against us? 8When the LORD gives you flesh to eat in the evening,” continued Moses, “and in the morning your fill of bread, as heheeds the grumbling you utter against him, what then are we? Your grumbling is not against us, but against the LORD.”

9Then Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole Israelite community: Present yourselves before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.” 10When Aaron announced this to the whole Israelite community, they turned toward the desert, and lo, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud! 11The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 12“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

13In the evening quail t Nm 11, 31; Ps 78, 27f . came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, 14and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. 15On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”* for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. u Dt 8, 3 .

Regulations Regarding the Manna. 16“Now, this is what the LORD has commanded. So gather it that everyone has enough to eat, an omer for each person, as many of you as there are, each man providing for those of his own tent.” 17The Israelites did so. Some gathered a large and some a small amount. 18 * But when they measured it out by the omer, he who had gathered a large amount did not have too much, and he who had gathered a small amount did not have too little. v 2 Cor 8, 15 . They so gathered that everyone had enough to eat. 19Moses also told them, “Let no one keep any of it over until tomorrow morning.” 20But they would not listen to him. When some kept a part of it over until the following morning, it became wormy and rotten. Therefore Moses was displeased with them.

21Morning after morning they gathered it, till each had enough to eat; but when the sun grew hot, the manna melted away. 22On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers for each person. When all the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses, 23he told them, “That is what the LORD prescribed. Tomorrow is a day of complete rest, the sabbath, sacred to the LORD. You may either bake or boil the manna, as you please; but whatever is left put away and keep for the morrow.” 24When they put it away for the morrow, as Moses commanded, it did not become rotten or wormy. 25Moses then said, “Eat it today, for today is the sabbath of the LORD. On this day you will not find any of it on the ground. 26On the other six days you can gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, none of it will be there.” 27Still, on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, although they did not find any. 28Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and laws? 29Take note! The LORD has given you the sabbath. That is why on the sixth day he gives you food for two days. On the seventh day everyone is to stay home and no one is to go out.” 30After that the people rested on the seventh day.

31The Israelites called this food manna. w Nm 11, 7 . It was like coriander seed,* but white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey.

32Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded. Keep an omerful of manna for your descendants, that they may see what food I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.” 33Moses then told Aaron, “Take an urn* and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD in safekeeping for your descendants.” x Heb 9, 4 . 34So Aaron placed it in front of the commandments* for safekeeping, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

35The Israelites ate this manna for forty years, until they came to settled land; y Jos 5, 12 . they ate manna until they reached the borders of Canaan. 36[An omer is one tenth of an ephah.]


r: Pss 78, 24f; 105, 40; Jn 6, 31f; 1 Cor 10, 3 .

s: 6f: Ex 16, 12 .

t: Nm 11, 31; Ps 78, 27f .

u: Dt 8, 3 .

v: 2 Cor 8, 15 .

w: Nm 11, 7 .

x: Heb 9, 4 .

y: Jos 5, 12 .

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