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

Hermeneutical Bridge


The minor concerns of this pericope seem to include the peoples’ discomfort in their new freedom out in the desert, their complaining, even, perhaps, especially, to God, Moses’ and Aaron’s declaring that their complaint is to God rather than to them, the timing of the provisions’ arrival, the portions of them and the reported fact that the provisions sufficed for each day. The major features include, God’s promise for provisions, the reported fact that they appeared as promised and that God paid less attention to the complaints than Moses and Aaron seemed to have done. Of course, the seemingly repetitious elements in the verses can be explained by attending to the documentary hypothesis.


2 Then grumbled the whole gathering of the sons of Israel spoke bitterly to Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And they said unto them, the sons of Israel did, “Why did we not die at the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt where we had enough food to eat. Now, though, you bring us into this desert to starve us to death.” 4 But said Jehovah unto Moses, “Look, I am going to rain food for you from heaven and will come out and gather the gifts daily sufficing for each day to test them whether they will follow my directions or not. 5 So, it will happen on the sixth day that they will gather double what they bring in the other days.” 6 Then said Moses and Aaron to all the sons of Israel, “In evening you shall learn that Jehovah causes you to come out of the land of Egypt.7 At daybreak you shall see the glory of Jehovah who hears your murmrurings. They are against Jehovah and not against us.” 8 And said Moses, “Gives to you in the evening meat to eat and bread in the morning to fill you. Hears Jehovah your grumbling. They are against him and not against us, those murmurings against Jehovah.” 9 And Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the gathered sons of Israel, ‘Come into the presence of Jehovah who has heard your murmurings’.” 10 And it happened that as Aaron spoke to all the gathered sons of Israel they turned toward the wilderness and the glory of Jehovah was seen to appear. 11 And spoke Jehovah unto Moses saying, 12 “I have heard the murmurings of the sons of Israel, so speak to them saying that between the evening you shall eat meat and in the morning you shall be satisfied with bread and you shall know that I Jehovah am your God. 13 And it happened that in the evening arrived quail that covered the encampment and in the morning came a layer of dew round about the encampment.14 And departed the layer of dew and behold on the ground of the wilderness thin flake like fine hoar frost on the ground. 15 And saw the sons of Israel and said each one to the other, “What is it for we have never known this?” And said Moses unto them, “This is the food that gives Jehovah unto you to eat.


People currently, especially as this millennium approaches its end and a new one promises to dawn into many unknowns, sometimes, too frequently, really, seem to feel like we are in a wilderness. We long to return to the good ole days and/or have them return to us where we are. Such longings are real. God ignores the wilderness wanderers’ similar longings and, instead, gives them instructions and substance by which at least to survive the rest of their journey. Surely, this passage promises us the same blessings. When we experience what we think we need, like back tracking, God leads us on and supplies us with resources to continue. When we think it’s time to throw in the towel, God has other and far better ideas about going on. God provides for us the leading and the resources for continuing. Jimmy Valvano, College Basketball Coach of the first order, when dying of cancer said, “Never give up”. God says the same thing and promises to provide the where with all to keep on keeping on. Providence means God leads us on and supplies us with what we need to carry on.

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