Exodus 16:1-18

Exodus 16:1-18
Narrative Lectionary


The whole congregationI of the IsraelitesII set outIII from Elim;IV

Notes on verse 1a

I “congregation” = edah. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree) OR from ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a congregation, assembly, or company. It could be a family, crowd, or fixture.
II “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Literally, “children of Israel.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
III “set out” = nasa. This is properly pulling up as when one pulls up tent pegs or stakes. This would imply striking tents in order to start a journey. So this could be bring, pullout, set out, journey, or cause to go away.
IV “Elim” = Elim. 6x in OT. From ayil (terebinth, oak); {from the same as ulam (porch, hall); from the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power)} OR from alal (to stick out, protrude). This is Elim, a place whose name means “terebinths,” “palm-trees,” “large trees,” “grove of oaks,” or “protruder.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Elim.html

and Israel cameV to the wildernessVI of Sin,VII which is between Elim and Sinai,VIII

Notes on verse 1b

V “came” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
VI “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
VII “Sin” = Sin. 6x in OT. Perhaps from asam (to gather, store) OR from seneh (thorn bush) OR related to Aramaic siyn (a god called Sin) OR perhaps Hebrew siyn (related to mud or clay). This is Sin, the name of a city. It may mean, “clay” or “bush.” Seehttps://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Sinai.html
VIII “Sinai” = Sinay. Related to “Sin” in v1. Probably from the same as Sin (see note VII above). This is Sinai – a place whose name may mean “bush of the Lord” or “muddy.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Sinai.html

on the fifteenthIX dayX of the secondXI monthXII after they had departedXIII from the landXIV of Egypt.XV 

Notes on verse 1c

IX “fifteenth” = chamesh + asar. Chamesh is five or fifth. Asar is ten of tenth.
X “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
XI “second” = sheni. From shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is double, again, another, second.
XII “month” = chodesh. From chadash (to renew, repair). This refers to a new moon. It can also mean monthly.
XIII “departed” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XIV “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
XV “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.

The whole congregation of the Israelites complainedXVI against MosesXVII and AaronXVIII in the wilderness. 

Notes on verse 2

XVI “complained” = luwn. This is to stay somewhere, usually for the night. It can mean abide, dwell, or endure. By implication, it can mean staying somewhere permanently. Taken in a negative sense, this would mean obstinance, particularly verbal. So, it can also mean murmur, grudge, or complaining.
XVII “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
XVIII “Aaron” = Aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aaron

3 The Israelites said to them, “If onlyXIX we had diedXX by the handXXI of the LordXXII in the land of Egypt,

Notes on verse 3a

XIX “if only” = mi + natan. Mi is a word used to ask questions about people such as who, which, whoever. It can also be an interjection – oh. Natan is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
XX “died” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
XXI “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
XXII “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

when we satXXIII by the fleshpotsXXIV and ateXXV our fillXXVI of bread;XXVII

Notes on verse 3b

XXIII “sat” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
XXIV “fleshpots” = siyr + basar. Siyr is from a root that may mean to boil. So it is a pot or pan. It can also be a thorn because it grows quickly or a hook. Basar is from basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.
XXV “ate” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
XXVI “fill” = soba. 8x in OT. From saba (to be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense; to have plenty of). This is abundance, fullness, satisfaction. Properly, it is being sated – having enough food. Figuratively, it is fullness of joy.
XXVII “bread” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.

for you have brought us outXXVIII into this wilderness to killXXIX this whole assemblyXXX with hunger.”XXXI

Notes on verse 3c

XXVIII “brought…out” = yatsa. Same as “departed” in v1. See note XIII above.
XXIX “kill” = mut. Same as “died” in v3. See note XX above.
XXX “assembly” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
XXXI “hunger” = raab. From raeb (to be hungry). This is hunger, death, or hunger from famine.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “XXXIII am going to rain bread from heavenXXXIII for you, and each day the peopleXXXIV shall go outXXXV and gatherXXXVI enoughXXXVII for that day.

Notes on verse 4a

XXXII {untranslated} = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
XXXIII “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
XXXIV “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
XXXV “go out” = yatsa. Same as “departed” in v1. See note XIII above.
XXXVI “gather” = laqat. This is to pick up, glean, gather.
XXXVII “enough” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v1. From dabar (see note VI above). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.

In that way I will testXXXVIII them, whether they will followXXXIX my instructionXL or not. 

Notes on verse 4b

XXXVIII “test” = nasah. This is to test, prove, try, tempt, or attempt.
XXXIX “follow” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
XL “instruction” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.

5 XLIOn the sixthXLII day, when they prepareXLIII what they bring in,XLIV it will beXLV twiceXLVI as much as they gather on other days.” 

Notes on verse 5

XLI {untranslated} = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v3. See note XXII above.
XLII “sixth” = shishshi. From the same as shesh (six; figuratively, a surplus since it is one more than the number of fingers on the hand). This is sixth.
XLIII “prepare” = kun. Properly, this means in a perpendicular position. So, it is set up in a literal sense – establish, fix, fasten, prepare. In a figurative sense, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous.
XLIV “bring in” = bo. Same as “came” in v1. See note V above.
XLV “be” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLI above.
XLVI “twice” = mishneh. Related to “second” in v1. From shanah (see note XI above). This is double, second, next, duplicate. It can also be second in rank or age.

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall knowXLVII that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morningXLVIII you shall seeXLIX the gloryL of the Lord, because he has heardLI your complainingLII against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 

Notes on verses 6-7

XLVII “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
XLVIII “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
XLIX “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
L “glory” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.
LI “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
LII “complaining” = tluwnah. Related to “complained” in v2. 9x in OT. From luwn (see note XVI above). This is complaining, murmuring, being stubborn. It can also mean exalted or lofty.

And Moses said, “When the Lord givesLIII you meatLIV to eat in the evening and your fillLV of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utterLVI against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

Notes on verse 8

LIII “gives” = natan. Same as “if only” in v3. See note XIX above.
LIV “meat” = basar. Same as “fleshpots” in v3. See note XXIV above.
LV “fill” = saba. Related to “fill” in v3. See note XXVI above.
LVI “utter” = tluwnah. Same as “complaining” in v7. See note LII above.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw nearLVII toLVIII the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 AndLIX as Aaron spokeLX to the whole congregation of the Israelites,

Notes on verses 9-10a

LVII “draw near” = qarab. This is to come near, offer, make ready, approach, take.
LVIII “to” = paneh. Literally, “before the face of.” From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
LIX {untranslated} = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLI above.
LX “spoke” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v1 & “enough” in v4. See note VI above.

they lookedLXI toward the wilderness, andLXII the glory of the Lord appearedLXIII in the cloud.LXIV 

Notes on verse 10b

LXI “looked” = panah. Related to “to” in v9. See note LVIII above.
LXII {untranslated} = hinneh. Related to {untranslated} in v4. From hen (see note XXXII above). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
LXIII “appeared” = raah. Same as “see” in v7. See note XLIX above.
LXIV “cloud” = anan. May be from anan (cover, cloud over; figuratively, acting in a secret way, practicing magic or soothsaying). This is a cloud as something that covers the sky.

11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”LXV

13 LXVIIn the evening quailsLXVII came upLXVIII and coveredLXIX the camp;LXX

Notes on verses 11-13a

LXV “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israelites” in v1. See note II above.
LXVI {untranslated} = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLI above.
LXVII “quails” = selav. 4x in OT– all in reference to the quails in the wilderness wanderings. Perhaps related to Arabic (“to be fat”) OR related to shalah (to be quiet, safe, tranquil; can imply success or happiness; could also mean to deceive or be negligent). This is a quail as a slow-moving bird. See https://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/Q/quail.html
LXVIII “came up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
LXIX “covered” = kasah. This is to cover, conceal, overwhelm. It is to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret.
LXX “camp” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.

and in the morning there was a layerLXXI of dewLXXII aroundLXXIII the camp. 

Notes on verse 13b

LXXI “layer” = shekabah. 9x in OT. From shakab (to lie down, lodge; lying for sleep, sex, or other reasons). This is an act of lying so it could be a layer, the act of copulation, or an emission.
LXXII “dew” = tal. Perhaps from talal (to cover, roof, strew). This is dew or mist as something that covers plants.
LXXIII “around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.

14 When the layer of dew lifted,LXXIV thereLXXV on the surfaceLXXVI of the wilderness was a fineLXXVII flaky substance,LXXVIII as fine as frostLXXIX on the ground.LXXX 

Notes on verse 14

LXXIV “lifted” = alah. Same as “came up” in v13. See note LXVIII above.
LXXV “there” = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v10. See note LXII above.
LXXVI “surface” = paneh. Same as “to” in v9. See note LVIII above.
LXXVII “fine” = daq. 15x in OT. From daqaq (to crush, crumble, make dust, be very small). This is thin, crushed, small, very little.
LXXVIII “flaky substance” = chaspas. 1x in OT. This is something flaky like a scale or round. Root may mean to peel.
LXXIX “frost” = kphowr. 12x in OT. From kaphar (to appease, cover, pacify, cancel). This is a cover, which could imply a basin or goblet or a frost that covers the ground.
LXXX “ground” = erets. Same as “land” in v1. See note XIV above.

15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another,LXXXI “What is it?”LXXXII For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.LXXXIII 16 This is whatLXXXIV the Lord has commanded:LXXXV

Notes on verses 15-16a

LXXXI “to one another” = ish + el +ach. Literally, “a man to his brother.” Ish is perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
LXXXII “what is it” = man + hu. Man is 14x in OT. From man (what, how long, why how). This is manna – literally a what.
LXXXIII “eat” = oklah. Literally, “for food.” Related to “ate” in v3. 18x in OT. From okel (food, prey, meat, eating); from akal (see note XXV above). This is food, eating, fuel, meat, consume.
LXXXIV “what” = dabar. Same as “enough” in v4. See note XXXVII above.
LXXXV “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).

‘Gather as much of it asLXXXVI eachLXXXVII of you needs,LXXXVIII

Notes on verse 16b

LXXXVI “as” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
LXXXVII “each” = ish. Same as “to one another” in v15. See note LXXXI above.
LXXXVIII “needs” = okel. Related to “ate” in v3 & “eat” n v15. See note LXXXIII above.

an omerLXXXIX to a personXC according to the numberXCI of persons,XCII

Notes on verse 16c

LXXXIX “omer” = omer. 14x in OT. From amar (to bind sheaves, heap; discipline as piling on blows). This is a shear or an omer – a dry measuring unit.
XC “person” = gulgoleth. 12x in OT. From galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is skull or head. It is a census or poll that counts people by head. It is also where “Golgotha” takes its name from.
XCI “number” = mispar. From the same as sepher (writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register); from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This is a number, whether definite or symbolic – could be innumerable, few, abundance. It can also be a tally or account – or a narration.
XCII “persons” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.

allXCIII providingXCIV for those in their own tents.’”XCV 

Notes on verse 16d

XCIII “all” = ish. Same as “to one another” in v15. See note LXXXI above.
XCIV “providing” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
XCV “tents” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.

17 The Israelites didXCVI so,XCVII some gathering more,XCVIII some less.XCIX 

Notes on verse 17

XCVI “did” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XCVII “so” = ken. Related to “prepare” in v5. Perhaps from kun (see note XLIII above). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
XCVIII “more” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
XCIX “less” = maat. This is diminished, decreased, reduced, insignificant. It is a broad sense of being small or becoming small. Figuratively, this can mean ineffective.

18 But when they measuredC it with an omer, those who gathered muchCI had nothing over,CII and those who gathered littleCIII had no shortage;CIV they gathered as much as each of them needed.

Notes on verse 18

C “measured” = madad. This is to measure, stretch, be extended, continue.
CI “much” = rabah. Same as “more” in v17. See note XCVIII above.
CII “had…over” = adaph. 9x in OT. This is to have excess, be left over, remain.
CIII “little” = maat. Same as “less” in v17. See note XCIX above.
CIV “had…shortage” = chaser. 19x in OT. From chaser (to lack, need, become empty, to fail). This is needy, lacking, without, void, or destitute. This is “I shall not want” from Psalm 23:1.

Image credit: “Gathering of the Manna” by Palma il Giovane at the San Giacomo dall’Orio, in Venice, 1575.

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