One month after leaving Egypt, the Children of Israel are moved by hunger to again complain against Moses and Aaron. Going so far as to say things had been better in Egypt, they accuse the pair of trying to kill the people. God tells Moses He will rain food down upon them, instructing the people to collect only what they need for each day and a double portion on Fridays, for He will not send food on the Day of Rest.
Before sending the miracle food from heaven, however, God sends quail, that the people should eat meat that evening. In the morning, the Israelites find the camp surrounded by a strange, wafer-thin substance. ‘Man hoo?’ they ask each other — what is this? — which is how the Manna got its name.
Whatever was left by the end of the morning was melted by the sun, and whatever people tried to hoard for another day became spoiled, except on Fridays. Those who tested God on the matter found no Manna on the Sabbath.
God later commands Moses to save a measure of Manna for all eternity, placing a jar of it in the Ark of the Covenant.
The Children of Israel continued to eat Manna for forty years in the desert, until arriving at the Promised Land. The Israel Bible brings the explanation of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, who teaches that God intended for the Israelites to enjoy the produce of the land as if it were manna, provided directly by God.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
Manna is considered a great test of the Israelites’ faith in God. Why do you think their faith needed to be tested? What lessons do you think we can take away from the episode of the Manna for our lives today?