Lectionary Year A
September 22, 2002
Exodus 16:2-15

Step II: Disposition


This story tells of Moses and Aaron and the Israelites needing sustenance in the wilderness. The people declare their dissatisfaction with provisions on their journey. They complain. God interrupts and tells Moses of provisions about to appear and instructs Moses to tell the people just how to gather such provisions. Moses and Aaron tell the people that the provisions will reveal Godís providence and glorious presence. Then Moses and Aaron invite the people into Godís presence and to have dialogue with the God who hears their complaints. Godís glory seems to interrupt this phase of the dialogue. They observe it. God is quoted as having noted the complaints, but never remarks further about them. God rather repeats the promise for provisions and they do appear as promised. The narrator describes the provisions. Then the people wonder what it is and Moses tells them that it is of Godís doing. This miracle story has some notable drama to be sure. However, it also has some straightforward discussion between Moses and Aaron and the people and their God.


Do Moses and Aaron really believe Godís presence will get revealed as convincingly s their statements seem to indicate? Do they really think Godís promised provisions will satisfy the grumbling pilgrims? Does God really disregard the peoplesí complaints? God tells Moses, ďIíve heard their bellyaching. Now (changing the subject drastically) tell them Iím going to send them meat and bread aplenty.Ē I believe God operates that way with me, but with the ancient Israelites? I guess I hope so; do they? Are Moses and Aaron trying to manipulate the wanderers into submission by the guilt trip they lay on them?

The first 3 verses explain the peoplesí dissatisfaction. Verses 4 and 5 quote Godís promise and instructions. Then verses 6 through 9 report Mosesí and Aaronís account to the people of Godís promise and instructions. Moses and Aaron never miss an opportunity to tell the people that God hears their griping. Then, in verse 10, the people see Godís glory. Thereupon, God speaks promise and instructions to Moses again. Why not to all the people? God declares the gifts will reveal who gives them. The narrator reports the provisions and the peoplesí bewilderment and Moses explanation.

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