0 Quails from heaven, water from a rock, and war with Amalek (Ex 16-18)

Episode 31: Quails from heaven, water from a rock, and war with Amalek

(Exodus 16-18)

Manna and quails

16 The Israelites complained to Moses and Aaron about the lack of food. 2 The whole congregation said to them,

3 We wish to God that he had killed us in Egypt, where we sat by flesh pots and ate bread until we were full.

Now you've brought us to this wilderness to kill us with hunger.

8 Moses said to the people,

God will give you flesh to eat in the evening, and plenty of bread in the morning.

God has heard your complaints against him. (Your complaints are against him, not us.)

10 So Aaron spoke to the people and the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud.

13 The next evening quails covered the camp and in the morning dew was on the ground.

15 When the people saw it, they said to one another, "This is manna."

16 Moses said to them,

This is the bread God has given you to eat.

19 Don't leave it until morning.

20 But some did and it bred worms and stank, which made Moses angry.

23 Moses said to them

This is what God says, "Don't gather the bread on the Sabbath."

24 The people did as Moses and God said and the bread didn't stink or have any worms in it.

27 Some of the people gathered on the seventh day, but they found nothing.

28 God said to Moses,

How long will you ignore my commandments?

29 On the sixth day, I give you bread for two days.

No man should go out to gather bread on the seventh day.

32And Moses said,

This is what God commands: "Fill a pot with an omer of manna and keep it forever before God."

34So Aaron put a pot of manna before the testimony.

35 The children of Israel ate manna for forty years.

Water from a rock

17 1 As the Israelites traveled from the wilderness of Sin to Rephidim, they had no water to drink.

2 So they complained to Moses, saying,

Give us water to drink. Did you bring us out of Egypt to make us and our cattle die of thirst?

4 Moses cried out to God, saying,

What should I do to these people? They are almost ready to stone me to death.

5 God replied,

Take your rod and gather the elders.

6 I'll stand on a rock. Then you smite the rock with your rod and water will come out so the people can drink.

So Moses did that and water came out of the rock.

War with Amalek

8 While the Israelites were in Rephidim, Amalek came to fight with them.

9 Moses said to Joshua,

Choose some men and go fight with Amalek.

I'll stand on top of the hill with God's rod in my hand.

10 So Joshua fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood on top of the hill.

11 As long as Moses kept his hand up, the Israelites were successful in battle, but the second his hand fell, they got beat.

12 But Moses's hands were heavy, so they sat him on a stone and had Aaron and Hur hold up his hand. They continued to hold up his hand until the sun went down.


13 And Joshua killed Amalek and his people.

Jethro visits Moses

18 1 Sometime after Moses's wife, Zipporah, saved Moses when God tried to kill him, she returned home to Midian.

2 And her father, Jethro, the priest of Midian, brought her back to Moses, along with their sons, Gershom and Eliezer.

5-7 They all met at the mountain of God, where Moses bowed to Jethro and kissed him.

12 Jethro sacrificed a burnt offering for God.

27 And Jethro went home.

A few more words about this episode

This is manna. (16:15)
The story about manna have arisen from Trabutina mannipara, a species mealybug in the order Hemiptera.

T. mannipara inhabits the Sinai peninsula and feeds on tamarisk trees. It excretes a sweet, sticky substance that is sometimes collected and used as food for humans.

Don't gather the bread on the Sabbath. (6:23)
This is the first reference to the Sabbath in the Bible.
Aaron put a pot of manna before the testimony. (16:34)
"The testimony" here refers to the ark containing the stone tablets -- that didn't exist yet, since they were supposedly written with the finger of God in Exodus 31:18.

What was in the ark of the covenant?

Moses bowed to Jethro and kissed him. (18:7)

The Bible says nothing about how Moses greeted his wife and children - or if he greeting them at all.

It doesn't say whether they returned to Midian with Jethro (which seems likely) or remained with Moses during the Exodus.

Zipporah - who saved Moses from being killed by God (Exodus 4:24-26) is never again mentioned in the Bible. And neither are her sons, Gershom and Eliezar, except in genealogies.

Jethro sacrificed a burnt offering for God. (18:12)

Jethro, a Midian priest, sacrificed a burnt offering to God.

Did he sacrifice it to Yahweh or to some other God of Midian?

And why didn't Moses or Aaron offer the sacrifice instead of Jethro?

And Jethro went home. (18:17)

Did he take Moses's wife and sons with him?

The Bible doesn't say, but he probably did, since they are never mentioned again.

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