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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



EXODUS 16

 

CHAPTER XVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Sin, after they had encamped on the Red Sea.  Num. xxxiii. 10.  The 33d station was also in the desert of Sin, or Cades.  But that is far remote from this desert.  Num. xx. 1.  C. --- Month of May, Jiar.  Their provisions lasted a whole month.  On their failure, they presently have recourse to murmurs.

 

Ver. 3.  Over, greedily feasting on the most nutritive meats.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Prove.  Show by experience.  Therefore he orders the Hebrews to gather manna only for one day, except on Friday.  Many suppose that this bread of angels began to fall on Sunday, (v. 22.  Origen. hom. 7.) or on Friday.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Provide.  Hence, this day was called Parasceve, or the day of preparation.

 

Ver. 7.  Morning, when manna fell, as quails were brought the former evening, v. 12. and 13.  These fresh instances of protection might, convince them that they had not been imposed upon by Moses in leaving Egypt.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Lord.  All rebellion against lawful authority is resented by God.  D.

 

Ver. 9.  Before, to the place appointed for public worship.  C. xxxii. 7.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Say.  Similar promises are often repeated, to appease the seditious mob.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Quails.  All the Oriental languages express these birds by solaem, though some have asserted, that pheasants or locusts are here meant.  Josephus (Ant. 3. 1) informs us, that great flocks of quails are found about the gulph of Arabia.  They return to Europe from the warmer regions, about the beginning of May, at which time God directed the course of vast multitudes to the camp of Israel.  Hesychius says, the chennion, a smaller species of quails, was salted and dried, as the Hebrews did theirs.  Num. xi. 32.  See Ps. lxxvii. 26.  C. --- Dew, upon which  lay the miraculous bread, around the camp.  None fell within, as the place was not sufficiently clean.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Manhu.  S. Jerom adds the explanation, (D.) which is almost universally adopted, though some pretend that man, even in Chaldee, means who, and not what?  Calmet refers them to Ps. lx. 7. for a proof of the contrary.  Manna is found in various parts of the world, the best in Arabia.  But this was of a different nature, and wholly miraculous, falling every day, except Saturday, throughout the 40 years that the Hebrews dwelt in the desert.  It melted with the heat of the sun, (v. 21,) though it would bear the fire, and might be made into cakes, which cannot be done with the Arabian manna.  It filled the mouth of God's servants with the most delightful tastes, (Wisd. xvi. 20,) while the wicked were disgusted with it.  Num. xi. 6. --- Our soul is dry, &c.  It is called the bread of angels, being made or brought by their ministry, and of such a quality, that they would desire nothing better, if they stood in need of food.  C. --- Whatever a man gathered, he had only a gomor full, and this sufficed for young and old, sick and healthy; if any was kept over the night it became corrupt, except that which was reserved for Saturday, and that which was preserved in the ark for a memorial for several hundred years.  W. --- Yet this wonderful bread was only a figure of that which Jesus Christ promised to give, (S. John vi.) and as the figure must come beneath the reality, (Col. ii.) what we receive in the blessed Eucharist, must undoubtedly be something better than manna.  Would Zuinglius and Calvin attempt then to persuade us, that Christ appointed their mere sacramental bread, to supersede and excel the favour of manna granted to the fathers, who are dead?  Mere bread cannot stand in competition with this miraculous food.  But the truth which it foreshewed, according to all the doctors of the Church, I mean the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, in the blessed sacrament, under the appearances of bread and wine, are surely more excellent than manna itself.  It is miraculously brought upon our altars by the words of Jesus Christ, spoken by his priests at Mass, and dispensed to infinite multitudes, in the most distant places from each other, and even in the smallest particle.  H. --- It giveth grace in this life, and glory in the next, and this in proportion to each one's disposition.  To the wicked it may appear contemptible, but to the servants of God it is the most delightful and supersubstantial.  W. --- Button allows that the Protestant version of this verse "seems to make Moses guilty of a contradiction.  It is manna, for they wist not what it was.  But the Sept. (he might add the Vulg. also) translate it according to the original."  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Eat.  Each one's provision was just enough to fill a gomor; (M.) or those who had collected  more, gave to those who wanted.  2 Cor. viii. 15.  Any one might take less.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Putrified.  So God was pleased to punish their diffidence in Providence.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  Morning.  Wisd. xvi. 28, we find the reason of this ordinance, which enforces diligence, and was a constant admonition to bless God without delay.  H. --- It melted, that it might not be trodden under foot by the profane.  M.

 

Ver. 22.  Told Moses, wishing to  know why God had given this injunction.

 

Ver. 29.  Place.  Onkelos allows a person to travel 2000 cubits on the sabbath.  Some heretics understand this literally, and would not alter the posture in which they were found by the festival.  Orig. Philos. 1.

 

Ver. 31.  Manna.  This miraculous food, with which the children of Israel were nourished and supported during their sojourning in the wilderness, was a figure of the bread of life, which we receive in the blessed sacrament, for the food and nourishment of our souls, during the time of our mortal pilgrimage, till we come to our eternal home, the true land of promise: where we shall keep an everlasting sabbath: and have no further need of sacraments.  Ch. --- Seed in size, but white; whereas the seed of coriander is black.  M. ---  Sam. "like a grain of rice." --- Honey, or oil.  Num. xi. 8.  C. --- This was the usual taste.  But if any one liked another better, the manna assumed it.  Wisd. xvi. 20.  M.

 

Ver. 33.  A vessel, "a golden urn," as the Sept. and S. Paul (Heb. ix. 4,) express it.  This was placed in the tabernacle, where the Hebrews met to pray, till the ark was made.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  Land.  Manna was withdrawn as soon as usual food could be easily procured.  H. --- In this desert of the world, we are supported by the sacraments.  As manna fell in the night, so the mysteries of faith are concealed from the curious researches of men.  It melted with the sunbeams; so mysteries confound the idle attempts of those who would fathom their impenetrable depth.  Those who ate manna died, but the worthy receiver of the blessed sacrament will live for ever.  C.

 

 








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