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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Exodus

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16.1–36 : God provides manna and quails

(Num 11; Ps 78.17–31; 105.40 ). Two originally separate traditions are likely combined here.

1 :

It is now one month since the Israelites began their journey ( 12.37; Num 33.3,10–11 ). Sinai, see 3.1n.

2 :

Complained, 15.24n. Aaron reappears for the first time since 12.50 (but see 15.20 ).

4 :

Test, Deut 8.3,16 .

6–7 :

In the evening when the quails come; in the morning when the manna is found (vv. 8,12,13 ). Know, 5.2n. In the Priestly view expressed here, the divine glory is an envelope of light (associated with the pillar of cloud and fire; v. 10; 13.21–22n. ) which veils God's being. Though human beings cannot see the deity, they can perceive the glory that signifies God's presence ( 40.34–35; Num 14.10b,22; 16.19; 1 Kings 8.10–11 ).

9–10 :

Aaron again acts as Moses' spokesman ( 4.16 and note there).

12 :

Know, 5.2n.

13 :

Quails, Num 11.1–35 .

14 :

The description here (see also v. 31n. ) corresponds fairly closely to the carbohydrate‐rich excretion of two scale‐insects that feed on the twigs of the tamarisk tree.

15 :

The name of the food, manna (v. 31 ), is explained by an expression meaning “What is it?”

16 :

Omer, about 2.3 l (2 qt).

22–30 :

The provision of manna is an occasion for instruction concerning the sabbath, or seventh day of the week, a day of solemn rest ( 20.8–11; 23.12; 31.12–17; 34.21; 35.1–3 ). Already established in Gen 2.2–3 , the sabbath is explicitly found in the natural order, and thus occurs here, even before its mention in the Decalogue ( 20.8–11 ).

31 :

A different description is found in Num 11.7–9 , giving rise to the early legend that the taste of manna varied according to the eater's preference.

33–34 :

Before the LORD, before the covenant, that is, before the ark of the covenant ( 25.10–22 ).

35 :

Josh 5.11–12 .

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