Exodus 16:2-15

Exodus 16:2-15
Ordinary A43


The whole congregationA of the IsraelitesB complainedC against MosesD and AaronE in the wilderness.F 

Notes on verse 2

A “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.
B “Israelites” = ben + yisrael. Literally “children of Israel.” Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is 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.
C “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.
D “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.
E “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
F “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.

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the handG of the LordH in the land of Egypt,I

Notes on verse 3a

G “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.
H “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.
I “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.

when we satJ by the fleshpotsK and ate our fillL of bread;M for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assemblyN with hunger.”O

Notes on verse 3b

J “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.
K “fleshpots” = siyr + basar. Siyr comes 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.
L “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.
M “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.
N “assembly” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
O “hunger” = raab. From raeb (to be hungry). This is hunger, death, or hunger from famine.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “PI am going to rain bread from heavenQ for you, and each day the peopleR shall go out and gatherS enoughT for that day.

Notes on verse 4a

P {untranslated} = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.
Q “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.
R “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.
S “gather” = laqat. This is to pick up, glean, gather.
T “enough” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v2. From dabar (see note F 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 testU them, whether they will followV my instructionW or not. On the sixth day, when they prepareX what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” 

Notes on verses 4b-5

U “test” = nasah. This is to test, prove, try, tempt, or attempt.
V “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.
W “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.
X “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.

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall knowY that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morningZ you shall see the gloryAA of the Lord, because he has heardBB your complainingCC against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 

Notes on verses 6-7

Y “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.
Z “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.
AA “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.
BB “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.
CC “complaining” = tluwnah. Related to “complained” in v2. 9x in OT. From luwn (see note C above). This is complaining, murmuring, being stubborn. It can also mean exalted or lofty.

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

Notes on verse 8

DD “meat” = basar. Same as “fleshpots” in v3. See note K above.
EE “fill” = saba. Related to “fill” in v3. See note L above.
FF “utter” = tluwnah. Same as “complaining” in v7. See note CC above.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw nearGG toHH the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spokeII to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they lookedJJ toward the wilderness, andKK the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.LL 

Notes on verses 9-10

GG “draw near” = qarab. This is to come near, offer, make ready, approach, take.
HH “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.
II “spoke” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v2 & “enough” in v4. See note F above.
JJ “looked” = panah. Related to “to” in v9. See note HH above.
KK {untranslated} = hinneh. Related to {untranslated} in v4. From hen (see note P above). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
LL “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.’”MM

13 In the evening quailsNN came up and coveredOO the camp;PP and in the morning there was a layerQQ of dewRR aroundSS the camp. 

Notes on verses 11-13

MM “God” = Elohim.
NN “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
OO “covered” = kasah. This is to cover, conceal, overwhelm. It is to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret.
PP “camp” = machaneh. Form 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.
QQ “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.
RR “dew” = tal. Perhaps from talal (to cover, roof, strew). This is dew or mist as something that covers plants.
SS “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, thereTT on the surfaceUU of the wilderness was a fineVV flaky substance,WW as fine as frostXX on the ground. 

Notes on verse 14

TT “there” = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v10. See note KK above.
UU “surface” = paneh. Same as “to” in v9. See note HH above.
VV “fine” = daq. 15x in OT. From daqaq (to crush, crumble, make dust, be very small). This is thin, crushed, small, very little.
WW “flaky substance” = chaspas. 1x in OT. This is something flaky like a scale or round. Root may mean to peel.
XX “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.

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

Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.AAA 

Notes on verse 15

YY “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.
ZZ “what is it” = man + hu. Man is related to “what” in v7. 14x in OT. From man (what, how long, why how). This is manna – literally a what.
AAA “eat” = oklah. Literally “for food.” Related to “ate” in v3. 18x in OT. From okel (food, prey, meat, eating); from akal (to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume; eating in a literal or figurative sense). This is food, eating, fuel, meat, consume.

Image credit: “Manna in Snow” photograph by Lorianne DiSabato; sculpture “Manna” by Tom Chapin, 2007.

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