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The food miraculously supplied from heaven to the Israelites during the forty years of their wanderings. Its name signifies “what is it?” for they knew not what it was. It fell every morning except on the Sabbath, and had to be gathered early, or it melted. If kept till the second day it bred worms, except the double quantity gathered on the day before the Sabbath, which was good on the second day. The quantity to be gathered was on an average an omer (about 4 pints) for every man. Some gathered more and some less; and when they measured it with an omer “he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.”
The explanation given by the Rabbis is that though several in a family went out to gather the manna, when it was brought home and measured it was found to be just an omer for each of them. The more probable explanation is that though on an average an omer was the portion for each, some needed more and others less, and therefore every one gathered “according to his eating,” according to what he knew he would require, and thus everyone had enough and there was nothing wasted. The former part of the passage is quoted in 2 Corinthians 8:1515As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. (2 Corinthians 8:15), to show that in making a collection for the poor saints there should be the carrying out of this divine principle of “equality,” the abundance of some contributing to the need of others.
The manna ceased as soon as the Israelites had crossed the Jordan, and eaten of the old corn of the promised land. The manna is described as being like coriander seed, of the color of bdellium. It was ground in mills, or pounded in a mortar, and baked in pans, or made into cakes. It tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex. 16:3131And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. (Exodus 16:31)); but afterward, when the people had lost their relish for it, like fresh oil (Num. 11:6-96But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. 7And the manna was as coriander seed, and the color thereof as the color of bdellium. 8And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. 9And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. (Numbers 11:6‑9)). The people, alas, murmured because they had nothing to eat but the manna.
The manna is typical of Christ Himself, the vessel of God’s good pleasure, and of heavenly grace here on earth—the heavenly One in the midst of earthly circumstances. He is this heavenly grace now for His own, so that grace is ministered to them for the wilderness journey. When they are viewed as in the land, that is, as made to sit in heavenly places in Christ, and entering in spirit upon their heavenly and eternal portion, then Christ in glory, the center of all the Father’s counsels, is their food, as the “old corn” of the promised land. The Christian, whose heart is not set for God’s purpose, gets tired of the manna, and longs, alas, for other food, as the Israelites did (Ex. 16:15-3515And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. 16This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 17And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. 19And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. 20Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. 21And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. 22And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 25And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. 27And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. 28And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? 29See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30So the people rested on the seventh day. 31And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. 33And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. 34As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. 35And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. (Exodus 16:15‑35); Deut. 8:3,163And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
16Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; (Deuteronomy 8:16)
; Josh. 5:1212And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:12); Neh. 9:2020Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst. (Nehemiah 9:20); Psa. 78:2424And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. (Psalm 78:24); Heb. 9:44Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; (Hebrews 9:4)). In Revelation 2:1717He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:17) the Lord promises to give to the overcomer in the church in Pergamos to eat of the HIDDEN MANNA, that is, some sweet secret communion with Himself, known in the glory as the One who suffered here.