Read Exodus Chapter 16. After you have read the chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer.
“And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin” (Ex. 16: 1).”
“The scholar Origen believes that Elim means rams, although some others believe that it means trees. According to him, rams represent the leaders of the flock, namely the twelve apostles (wells of water) and the seventy disciples (palm trees), who, by the Lord Jesus Christ, led the people to the coast of the Red Sea (Numbers 33: 10), specifically on its more secure side.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“The scholar Origen believes that ‘Sin’ means either bush or temptation. As the first appearance of God to Moses had been in the burning bush, to proclaim to him the secret of divine incarnation; in ‘Sin’, God gave His people, for the first time, the manna - a reference to the Lord Christ, who descended from heaven, for the fulfillment of the human soul. As for its other meaning as temptation, it is to remind us that where there are proclamations, we should have the spirit of discernment (1 Corinthians 2), lest the devil will deceive us with his temptations, in which he sometimes appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11), to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
Murmur of the people:
Only after one month since their departure from the land of bondage, they murmured against God, instead of praising Him; saying to Moses and Aaron:
“Oh, that we have died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Ex 16:3)
“Although they tasted the bitterness of servitude and oppression, they experienced an advance payment of the land of promise, and a life of triumph and conquest. Yet they often yearned for the smell of the pots of meat, for the lust of the eye, of the flesh, and of the haughtiness of living. Before the pleasure of such lowly sins, man forgets God’s blessings and graces, and desires humiliation more than freedom. ...From another point of view, murmur was a part of the nature of those people. When it reigns over their hearts, they tend to justify it by some reason or another. ...“It was not hunger that motivated their murmur, as much as it was their nature. Even after they were granted that daily fresh food, without any labor or effort on their part, they did not stop murmuring, but wept again..." - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
THE TRUE RENUNCIATION OF EGYPT - "Although this manner of speaking first referred to that people, nonetheless we see it now daily fulfilled in our life and profession. For everyone who has first renounced this world and then returns to his former pursuits and his erstwhile desires proclaims that in deed and in intention he is the same as they were, and he says, It was well with me in Egypt. I fear that there will be found as many such people as we read there were multitudes of sinners in the time of Moses. For although six hundred and three thousand armed men were said to have left Egypt, no more than two of these entered the Promised Land. Hence we must strive to take our models of virtue from the few and far between, since, according to that figure of speech in the Gospel, many are said to be called but few are said to be chosen. Bodily renunciation and removal from Egypt, as it were, will be of no value to us, therefore, if we have been unable to obtain at the same time the renunciation of heart which is more sublime and more beneficial.” - JOHN CASSIAN
The Manna and the quail
“That Manna refers to the Lord Christ, who offered his holy body as food for the soul, saying: “Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world ... Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6: 32, 33; 49 - 51).”
Comparing the Old Manna to the New Manna by Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
A. “After crossing over the Red Sea, the people had to eat new food, other than that which they used to eat in the land of bondage. And us also, as we entered into a new covenant, the Lord presented us with true spiritual food, capable of fulfilling the soul, and of granting it eternal life.”
B. “It is amazing that the manna started to come down on the people on a Sunday, this is obvious from the words of God to Moses: “And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily” (Ex. 16: 5).
The day of preparation for the Sabbath (Friday), was the sixth day of the manna coming down, which means that it started coming down on a Sunday. By the resurrection of the Lord Christ from the dead on the dawn of Sunday, He offered to us His body risen from the dead, as a secret to the resurrection of our souls and bodies. Moreover, Sunday became the weekly feast of the Church, in which we enjoy the heavenly manna.”
C. “The manna came down from heaven (Ex. 16: 4), and “every man gathered according to each one’s need” (Ex. 16: 18), and all of them were fulfilled. The Lord Christ, the Word of God, came down from heaven, and offered Himself, a Sacrament for the fulfillment to all. He offered Himself as milk to the babes, and solid rich food to the elders, to leave no soul hungry or in need.”
D. “For those who took the manna without faith, against the commandment, and left part of it until morning, it resulted in the coming of worms, and of a bitter smell. In the same way, whosoever eats from the flesh of the Lord without faith or worthiness, will carry in it the sting of death, instead of the life and sweetness that the believers taste, when they enjoy it.”
E. The people did not know what was that manna (Ex. 16: 15), and the people could not recognize the true nature of the Lord Christ (1 Corinthians 2: 8).
F. The manna came down over the tents, which refer to our bodies; and the Lord Christ came to our homes, and into our bodies. He became as one of us.
G. The manna came down after the murmur of the people; and the Lord Christ came after enmity prevailed between us and God. And according to the apostle Paul, “When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Romans 5: 10). By the coming down of the manna, God proclaimed His love and compassion; and the coming of the Lord Christ to us, is a sign of God’s care and eternal love.
H. The manna was described as “fine as frost on the ground” (Ex. 16: 14); and the Lord’s robe, as He transfigured on the mount, “became white and glistening” (Luke 9: 29).
I. The manna “tasted like wafers made with honey” (Ex. 16: 31); As for the Lord Christ, “His mouth is most sweet, Yes, He is altogether lovely” (Songs 5: 16).
J. The people gathered the manna every morning; and our fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ is renewable every day, and our encounter with Him is very early. For “those who seek Me diligently (early) will find me” (Proverb 8: 17).
K. The manna, after it was gathered, was ground, and cooked, to be fit for eating; and the Lord Christ came incarnated, crucified, suffered, and died, and became bread and a secret of life to those who eat Him.
L. When the people despised the manna, God struck them with a great plague (Numbers 11:33); and whoever unworthily eats from the flesh of the Lord, will face judgment (1 Cor 11).
THE NATURE OF TRUE MANNA - "These incidents are quite well known from our reading of Exodus, for quails rained down like the heaviest shower, and the Jews received manna to get their fill. But to demonstrate that this was a prefiguration, he spoke not of manna but of the bread of heaven, so that the Lord Savior‘s coming could be visualized in this blessing, for he is the living bread which came down from heaven. The meaning of manna, as was stated at Psalm 77, is What is this? He disposed of the problem surrounding the name, and with the statement He filled them with the bread of heaven, he explained the answer to the question about manna, for the Lord of heaven is indicated by the phrase, and the nature of manna is clearly acknowledged.”
THE MEANING OF MANNA. - "Manna is interpreted as What is this? See whether the very power of the name does not provoke you to learn it, so that when you hear the law of God read in church you may always ask and say to the teachers: What is this? This it is that the manna indicates. Therefore if you want to eat the manna, that is, if you desire to receive the word of God, know that it is small and very fine like the seed of the coriander."
THE BREAD IS GOD’S COMMANDMENT -"This is the bread that God gave to you to eat. Hear who this bread is: The word,Scripture says, which God has ordained. This then is the ordination of God; this food nourishes the soul of the wise. It illuminates and it sweetens, resplendent with the gleam of truth and soothing, as if with a honeycomb, by the sweetness of different virtues and the word of wisdom. For good words are sweeter than a honeycomb,as it is written in Proverbs. - AMBROSE
THE BREAD IS THE WORD OF GOD -"That this is heavenly food is demonstrated by the person speaking: I shall rain upon you bread from heaven. Manna is a cause because God, who waters minds with the dew of wisdom, uses it as an instrument. And manna is a kind of matter, because souls that see it and taste it are delighted and ask whence it comes, manna which is more splendid than light and sweeter than honey. They can be answered with a chain of quotations from Scripture: This is the bread that the Lord gave to you to eat, and This is the Word of God which God has established or ordained. By this bread the souls of the prudent are fed and delighted, since it is fair and sweet, illuminating the souls of the hearers with the splendor of truth and drawing them on with the sweetness of the virtues.” - AMBROSE
THE MANNA COLLECTED - "Nay, rather, the Holy Spirit is not given from a measure but is poured out completely upon the believer. For if the day is born to all equally, and if the sun shines upon all with equal and similar light, how much more does Christ, the Sun and the true Day, bestow equally in his church the light of eternal life with equal measure! We see that the pledge of this equality is celebrated in Exodus, when the manna from heaven fell and, with a prefiguring of the future, showed the nourishment of heavenly bread and the food of the coming Christ. For there, without distinction either of sex or of age, a measure was collected for each equally.” - CYPRIAN
COVETOUSNESS MADE THE MANNA ROT - "If anyone cannot endure what I have said but still clings to the poverty of worldly things, snatching at the things which undergo diminution, let him call to mind the food of manna. Let him tremble at the example of that punishment. For what happened in that instance, this same result one may now also see in the case of covetous people. But what then happened to them? Worms were bred from their covetousness. This also now happens in their case. For the measure of the food is the same for all. You have but one stomach to fill. Only you who feed luxuriously have more to get rid of. Those who gathered in their houses more than the lawful quantity gathered not manna but more worms and rottenness. Just so both in luxury and in covetousness, the gluttonous and drunken gather not more delicacies but more corruption.” - CHRYSOSTOM
TO EACH ONE’S TASTE - "The Word of God becomes all these things to each and every one according as the capacity or the desire of the participant requires. In just the same way the manna also, although it was one food, yielded its flavor to each person after his desire. So he does not offer himself only as bread to those who hunger and as wine to those who thirst, but he presents himself also as fragrant apples to those who crave delights.” - ORIGEN
The Law of the Holy Sabbath
Whoever gathers for himself extra manna for the next day, gathered worms and stench, and acquired the wrath of God and the displeasure of Moses. Yet, when the sixth day came, all were committed to gather twice as much, as a reference to the preparation for the day of rest, the great Sabbath. What should we prepare for the coming life? The apostle says: “For he who sows to his flesh, will of the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit, will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6: 8).
"That day of preparation, refers to the present life, in which we prepare ourselves for the coming one." - St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa
"It is fitting for us, on the sixth day, to gather and store what would be enough for the next day. If you gather here good deeds, if you gather here treasures of righteousness, of mercy, and of piety, these would be your food in the age to come. Don’t you hear in the gospel, that he, who earned ten minas, was given authority over ten cities and he, who earned four minas, was given authority over four cities (Luke 19). - Origen
“Whatever you collect for the Sabbath will not be corrupted by worms, or stench, but will remain intact. Yet if you are gathering for the present life, for love of the world, what you gather will be corrupted by worms and will stink.” - Origen
The Pot of Manna
“Moses commanded Aaron to take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the Lord, to be put later on in the tabernacle. That remained a memorial to the work of God with them, and carries a symbolic testimonial to the coming of the Lord Christ, the true Manna, coming down from heaven. The Church sees in the pot, a symbol to the Virgin St. Mary, who carried the Lord Christ in her womb.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the Manna which You have provide us, Your Son Jesus Christ. As, the bread which you gave the Israelites sustained them till they reached the promised land, so too we are sustained by The Bread of Life Himself. As You O God, rained the manna from heaven taking the form of bread, so to did You O God, empty Yourself and take the form of man. You were not satisfied to let us return to eat of the food of the Egyptians, but rather You gave us someone much sweeter, and much greater, Yourself! Thank You for not desiring to not just be God of Heaven above, but also God with us, Emmanuel Himself. May we always eat of Your Word, which is sweeter than the sweetest of honeycombs. May we also be wise to store up for ourselves Manna in preperation for the Great Sabbath, Your Second Coming. Amen.