Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Exodus 16:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

An omer for every man - I shall here once for all give a short account of the measures of capacity among the Hebrews.

    Omer, עמר from the root amar, to press, squeeze, collect, and bind together; hence a sheaf of corn - a multitude of stalks pressed together. It is supposed that the omer, which contained about three quarts English, had its name from this circumstance; that it was the most contracted or the smallest measure of things dry known to the ancient Hebrews; for the קב kab, which was less, was not known till the reign of Jehoram, king of Israel, 2 Kings 6:25; - Parkhurst.

    The Ephah, אפה or איפה eiphah, from אפה aphah, to bake, because this was probably the quantity which was baked at one time. According to Bishop Cumberland the ephah contained seven gallons, two quarts, and about half a pint, wine measure; and as the omer was the tenth part of the ephah, Exodus 16:36, it must have contained about six pints English.

    The Kab, קב is said to have contained about the sixth part of a seah, or three pints and one third English.

    The Homer, חמר chomer, mentioned Leviticus 27:16, was quite a different measure from that above, and is a different word in the Hebrew. The chomer was the largest measure of capacity among the Hebrews, being equal to ten baths or ephahs, amounting to about seventy-five gallons, three pints, English. See Ezekiel 45:11, Ezekiel 45:13, Ezekiel 45:14. Goodwin supposes that this measure derived its name from חמר chamor, an ass, being the ordinary load of that animal.

    The Bath, בת , was the largest measure of capacity next to the homer, of which it was the tenth part. It was the same as the ephah, and consequently contained about seven gallons, two quarts, and half a pint, and is always used in Scripture as a measure of liquids.

    The Seah, סאה , was a measure of capacity for things dry, equal to about two gallons and a half English. See 2 Kings 7:1, 2 Kings 7:16, 2 Kings 7:18.

    The Hin, הין , according to Bishop Cumberland, was the one-sixth part of an ephah, and contained a little more than one gallon and two pints. See Exodus 29:40.

    The Log, לג , was the smallest measure of capacity for liquids among the Hebrews: it contained about three quarters of a pint. See Leviticus 14:10, Leviticus 14:12.

Take ye - for them which are in his tents -

Some might have been confined in their tents through sickness or infirmity, and charity required that those who were in health should gather a portion for them. For though the psalmist says, Psalm 105:37, There was not one feeble person among their tribes, this must refer principally to their healthy state when brought out of Egypt; for it appears that there were many infirm among them when attacked by the Amalekites. See Clarke's note on Exodus 17:8.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

An omer - i. e. the tenth part of an Ephah, see Exodus 16:36. The exact quantity cannot be determined, since the measures varied at different times. Josephus makes the omer equal to six half-pints. The ephah was an Egyptian measure, supposed to be about a bushel or one-third of a hin. The word omer, in this sense, occurs in no other passage. It was probably not used at a later period, belonging, like many other words, to the time of Moses. It is found in Old Egyptian. See Leviticus 19:36.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
At evening the quails came up, and the people caught with ease as many as they needed. The manna came down in dew. They called it "Manna, Manhu," which means, "What is this?" "It is a portion; it is that which our God has allotted us, and we will take it, and be thankful." It was pleasant food; it was wholesome food. The manna was rained from heaven; it appeared, when the dew was gone, as a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost, like coriander seed, in colour like pearls. The manna fell only six days in the week, and in double quantity on the sixth day; it bred worms and became offensive if kept more than one day, excepting on the sabbath. The people had never seen it before. It could be ground in a mill, or beaten in a mortar, and was then made into cakes and baked. It continued the forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness, wherever they went, and ceased when they arrived in Canaan. All this shows how different it was from any thing found before, or found now. They were to gather the manna every morning. We are hereby taught, 1. To be prudent and diligent in providing food for ourselves and our households; with quietness working, and eating our own bread, not the bread of idleness or deceit. God's bounty leaves room for man's duty; it did so even when manna was rained; they must not eat till they have gathered. 2. To be content with enough. Those that have most, have for themselves but food and raiment; those that have least, generally have these; so that he who gathers much has nothing over, and he who gathers little has no lack. There is not such a disproportion between one and another in the enjoyment of the things of this life, as in the mere possession of them. 3. To depend upon Providence: let them sleep quietly, though they have no bread in their tents, nor in all their camp, trusting that God, with the following day, would bring them in their daily bread. It was surer and safer in God's storehouse than their own, and would come thence sweeter and fresher. See here the folly of hoarding. The manna laid up by some, who thought themselves wiser, and better managers, than their neighbours, and who would provide lest it should fail next day, bred worms, and became good for nothing. That will prove to be most wasted, which is covetously and distrustfully spared. Such riches are corrupted, Jas 5:2,3. The same wisdom, power, and goodness that brought food daily from above for the Israelites in the wilderness, brings food yearly out of the earth in the constant course of nature, and gives us all things richly to enjoy.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 388

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” Through the beloved John, who listened to these words, the Holy Spirit declared to the churches, “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. And Jesus said, “I will raise him up at the last day.” Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,—not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal. DA 388.1

The people had referred Christ to the manna which their fathers ate in the wilderness, as if the furnishing of that food was a greater miracle than Jesus had performed; but He shows how meager was that gift when compared with the blessings He had come to bestow. The manna could sustain only this earthly existence; it did not prevent the approach of death, nor insure immortality; but the bread of heaven would nourish the soul unto everlasting life. The Saviour said, “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” To this figure Christ now adds another. Only through dying could He impart life to men, and in the words that follow He points to His death as the means of salvation. He says, “The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” DA 388.2

The Jews were about to celebrate the Passover at Jerusalem, in commemoration of the night of Israel's deliverance, when the destroying angel smote the homes of Egypt. In the paschal lamb God desired them to behold the Lamb of God, and through the symbol receive Him who gave Himself for the life of the world. But the Jews had come to make the symbol all-important, while its significance was unnoticed. They discerned not the Lord's body. The same truth that was symbolized in the paschal service was taught in the words of Christ. But it was still undiscerned. DA 388.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 469

God provided bread for His people in the wilderness by a miracle of mercy, and He could have provided everything necessary for religious service; but He did not, because in His infinite wisdom He saw that the moral discipline of His people depended upon their co-operating with Him, every one of them doing something. As long as the truth is progressive, the claims of God rest upon men to give of that which He has entrusted to them for this very purpose. God, the Creator of man, by instituting the plan of systematic benevolence, has made the work bear equally upon all according to their several abilities. Everyone is to be his own assessor and is left to give as he purposes in his heart. But there are those who are guilty of the same sin as Ananias and Sapphira, thinking that if they withhold a portion of what God claims in the tithing system the brethren will never know it. Thus thought the guilty couple whose example is given us as a warning. God in this case proves that He searches the heart. The motives and purposes of man cannot be hidden from Him. He has left a perpetual warning to Christians of all ages to beware of the sin to which the hearts of men are continually inclined. 4T 469.1

Although no visible marks of God's displeasure follow the repetition of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira now, yet the sin is just as heinous in the sight of God and will as surely be visited upon the transgressor in the day of judgment, and many will feel the curse of God even in this life. When a pledge is made to the cause, it is a vow made to God and should be sacredly kept. In the sight of God it is no better than sacrilege to appropriate to our own use that which has been once pledged to advance His sacred work. 4T 469.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 412

The human family have been growing more and more self-indulgent, until health has been most successfully sacrificed upon the altar of lustful appetite. The inhabitants of the Old World were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh meats, although God had given them no permission to eat animal food. They ate and drank to excess, and their depraved appetites knew no bounds. They gave themselves up to abominable idolatry. They became violent, and ferocious, and so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. Their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. As men multiplied upon the face of the earth after the flood, they forgot God, and corrupted their ways before him. Intemperance in every form increased to a great extent. 2SM 412.1

The Lord brought his people out of Egypt in a victorious manner. He led them through the wilderness to prove them, and try them. He repeatedly manifested his miraculous power in their deliverances from their enemies. He promised to take them to himself, as his peculiar treasure, if they would obey his voice, and keep his commandments. He did not forbid them to eat the flesh of animals, but withheld it from them in a great measure. He provided them food which was the most healthful. He rained their bread from heaven, and gave them purest water from the flinty rock. He made a covenant with them, if they would obey him in all things, he would preserve them from disease. 2SM 412.2

But the Hebrews were not satisfied. They despised the food given them from heaven, and wished themselves back in Egypt where they could sit by the flesh-pots. They preferred slavery, and even death, rather than to be deprived of meat. God, in his anger, gave them flesh to gratify their lustful appetites, and great numbers of them died while eating the meat for which they had lusted. 2SM 412.3

Nadab and Abihu were slain by the fire of God's wrath for their intemperance in the use of wine. God would have his people understand that they will be visited according to their obedience or transgressions. Crime and disease have increased with every successive generation. Intemperance in eating and drinking, and the indulgence of the baser passions, have benumbed the nobler faculties. Appetite, to an alarming extent, has controlled reason. 2SM 412.4

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 409

He was taken in the act and brought before Moses. It had already been declared that Sabbathbreaking should be punished with death, but it had not yet been revealed how the penalty was to be inflicted. The case was brought by Moses before the Lord, and the direction was given, “The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.” Numbers 15:35. The sins of blasphemy and willful Sabbathbreaking received the same punishment, being equally an expression of contempt for the authority of God. PP 409.1

In our day there are many who reject the creation Sabbath as a Jewish institution and urge that if it is to be kept, the penalty of death must be inflicted for its violation; but we see that blasphemy received the same punishment as did Sabbathbreaking. Shall we therefore conclude that the third commandment also is to be set aside as applicable only to the Jews? Yet the argument drawn from the death penalty applies to the third, the fifth, and indeed to nearly all the ten precepts, equally with the fourth. Though God may not now punish the transgression of His law with temporal penalties, yet His word declares that the wages of sin is death; and in the final execution of the judgment it will be found that death is the portion of those who violate His sacred precepts. PP 409.2

During the entire forty years in the wilderness, the people were every week reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath, by the miracle of the manna. Yet even this did not lead them to obedience. Though they did not venture upon so open and bold transgression as had received such signal punishment, yet there was great laxness in the observance of the fourth commandment. God declares through His prophet, “My Sabbaths they greatly polluted.” Ezekiel 20:13-24. And this is enumerated among the reasons for the exclusion of the first generation from the Promised Land. Yet their children did not learn the lesson. Such was their neglect of the Sabbath during the forty years’ wandering, that though God did not prevent them from entering Canaan, He declared that they should be scattered among the heathen after the settlement in the Land of Promise. PP 409.3

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The Route of the Exodus