The Berean Expositor
Volume 14 - Page 33 of 167
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Manna. The Gift of God (Exod. 16:).
pp. 68 - 71
The necessities of this life are frequently summed up under the phrase "bread and
water", to which we must add "raiment" (I Tim. 6: 8). It will be found that in the
pilgrimage of Israel, type of the earthly walk of all the Lord's redeemed people, these
three items come before us with some degree of prominence.
"Water" figures at Marah in Exod. 15:, and again at Rephidim in chapter 17: The
question of the provision of "bread" for the pilgrimage occupies the whole of the
intervening chapter 16: The murmurers remember the flesh pots of Egypt and that they
then did eat "bread to the full" (16: 3), but the bread of Egypt must give place to the
"bread of heaven" for all those who walk the pilgrim's way. It will be remembered that
the hasty departure of Israel out of Egypt led to the institution of a new kind of bread:--
"And the people took their dough before it was leavened" (Exod. 12: 34).
and this apparent accident was overruled to emphasize the lesson that the heavenly
pilgrimage cannot be sustained with the bread of Egypt, and so the new food provided by
God is called "bread from heaven" (Exod. 16: 4). Psa. 78: 25 calls this bread
"angel's food". Manna, the name given to this bread from heaven, first meets us in
Exod. 16: 15:--
"And when the children of Israel first saw it, they said one to another, `It is manna',
for they wist not what it was."
It is usual to explain the meaning of the word "manna" by saying that it is the Hebrew
word uttered by Israel as a question, "What is this?" The Hebrew reads:--
"When the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another man-hu for they did not
know mah-hu."
The A.V. gives an alternative meaning in the margin, reading:--
"Or what is this? or it is a portion."
The Hebrew word man signifies a portion or a gift. Helen Spurrell's translation reads,
"It is the gift, for they knew not its name".  Aaron Pick in his Bible Students'
Concordance reads MANNA MON, a gift. The marginal note in Newberry's Bible is
man-hu, i.e., in Chaldee what is it? In Hebrew it is an appointed portion. Parkhurst
quotes from Bates in Grit. Heb. to the effect that :--
"The children of Israel said man-hu this (is) a particular species, a peculiar thing, for
they knew not what it was."
This comes under manah, "to distribute", and so includes the word "kind" of
Gen. 1: 11, 12, etc., the idea referred to above of "species" and also a distributed portion
or gift. Urquhart's comment is :--