Did Manna Start on the 16th or the 17th?

There is some disagreement over the timing of the events laid out in Exodus 16. Some believe it is suggesting the 1st day the manna was provided in the wilderness was on the 16th day of the 2nd chodesh, while others believe it was not until the 17th day. I’d like to lay these positions out along with my understanding. I will address the known challenges I have come across and I hope others will chime in with anymore that I am not aware of.

First,

Some say the translations that say “murmured against” should read “stayed the night”. This would mean that the complaint lodged by the Israelites did not take place until the 16th day. Thereby making the 17th day the first day the manna appeared.

Kimberly Dubois explained to me…

“…the events in Exodus 16 actually place the 16th and the 23rd as the Sabbath’s because while they did arrive on the 15th, they stayed the night against Moses and Aaron and it was the 16th day that they were told this evening… see the following link so that you can see the Hebrew where it says abide, which they changed. http://interlinearbible.org/exodus/16-2.htm ” (SOURCE)

My rebuttal to her at the time was:

Regarding the Ex 16:2 passage, the Greek Septuagint which is a translation of an earlier Hebrew Text (as opposed to the Masoretic Text) states the following:

Exo 16:2 all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured (G1234) against Moses and Aaron.

G1234
διαγογγύζω
diagogguzō
Thayer Definition:
1) to murmur
1a) either of a whole crowd, or among one another
1b) always used of many indignantly complaining
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1223 and G1111
Citing in TDNT: 1:735, 125

It is also used in verses 7-8:

Exo 16:7 and in the morning ye shall see the glory of the Lord, inasmuch as he hears your murmuring against God; and who are we, that ye continue to *murmur* (G1234) against us?
Exo 16:8 And Moses said, This shall be when the Lord gives you in the evening flesh to eat, and bread in the morning to satiety, because the Lord has heard your murmuring, which ye *murmur* (G1234) against us: and what are we? for your murmuring is not against us, but against God.

It is the same word used in Ex 15:24 “And the people murmured (G1234) against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”

In the Masoretic all four of these verses contain the word:

H3885
לין / לוּן
lûn / lı̂yn
BDB Definition:
1) to lodge, stop over, pass the night, abide
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to lodge, pass the night
1a2) to abide, remain (figuratively)
1b) (Hiphil) to cause to rest or lodge
1c) (Hithpalpel) to dwell, abide
2) to grumble, complain, murmur
2a) (Niphal) to grumble
2b) (Hiphil) to complain, cause to grumble
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1096, 1097

While one definition may be “to lodge, stop over, pass the night, abide”, another is “to grumble, complain, murmur”. Given the verses that follow, it is certainly feasible that verses 7 & 8 are reiterating verse 2.

Exo 16:2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled (H3885) against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness,

Exo 16:7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling (H8519) against the LORD. For what are we, that you grumble (H3885) against us?”
Exo 16:8 And Moses said, “When the LORD gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your grumbling (H8519) that you grumble (H3885) against him—what are we? Your grumbling (H8519) is not against us but against the LORD.”

Also given the other mention of “murmuring” (H8519 “telunah”) in those two verses, we see the root word is this same “lun”.

H8519
תּלנּה / תּלוּנה
telûnâh / telûnnâh
BDB Definition:
1) murmuring
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H3885 in the sense of obstinacy
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1097a

Second,

Some believe there is an evening and a morning prior to the evening when the quail came and the morning when the manna appeared. Thereby making the 17th day the first day the manna appeared.

Shari Freeland wrote on 1/5/14…

“In Exodus 16, we see that the children of Israel arrive at the wilderness of Sin on the 15th of the second month. The Qumran community records this date as the sixth day of the week. Fifth day calendar starters place this as a Sabbath. Yah explains to Moses and Aaron that He will be sending manna (v. 4). Moses and Aaron tell the community that in the evening the people will know Yah brought them out of Egypt, and in the morning they will see the Glory of Yah (v. 6-7).

“The NEXT MORNING (16th of the month) Moses called the people to assemble and they saw the Glory of Yah (v. 9-10). Moses is told that they will receive quail that evening and manna in the morning (v. 11-12). That evening their were quails covering the camp (v. 13).

“And the NEXT MORNING (17th of the month), manna covered the ground like dew (v. 13). At this point, according to the Qumran community, it is the first day of the week, appropriate for beginning the count of six days of manna followed by a Sabbath.” (SOURCE)

My reply…

It is assumed that it was “the next morning (16th of the month) Moses called the people to assemble and they saw the Glory of Yah (v. 9-10)”, however this is not outrightly stated.

Exo 16:9-10 ASV
(9)  And Moses said unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before Jehovah; for he hath heard your murmurings.
(10)  And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud.

The assumption is made, I believe, because v. 7 says “in the morning they will see the Glory of Yah” and v. 10 says they saw the Glory of Yah.

However, I believe this is a faulty assumption.

It seems to me that verses 6-12 are speaking of the same occasion.

Exo 16:1-14 ASV
(1)  And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
(2)  And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness:
(3)  and the children of Israel said unto them, Would that we had died by the hand of Jehovah in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
(4)  Then said Jehovah unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or not.
(5)  And it shall come to pass on the sixth day, that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
(6)  And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that Jehovah hath brought you out from the land of Egypt;
(7)  and in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of Jehovah; for that he heareth your murmurings against Jehovah: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
(8)  And Moses said, This shall be, when Jehovah shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that Jehovah heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against Jehovah.
(9)  And Moses said unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before Jehovah; for he hath heard your murmurings.
(10)  And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud.
(11)  And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,
(12)  I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God.
(13)  And it came to pass at even, that the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the camp.
(14)  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness a small round thing, small as the hoar-frost on the ground.

First we see the whole congregation murmured against Moses & Aaron, complaining about being hungry on the 15th day.

Next we see YHVH speaking to Moses about his plan…raining bread from heaven…the people going out to gather a daily portion but on the 6th day a double portion is to be gathered. This appears to have been spoken on the 15th day.

Next we see Moses & Aaron speaking to the people saying  “at even ye shall know…and in the morning ye shall see…” (vs. 6-7) He goes on to say “this shall be when YHVH will give you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full…” (v. 8) This appears to me to still be the 15th day.

Next we see Moses tell Aaron to say to the people to come before YHVH. He doesn’t say when to come near to him, so it seems logical to me that it would be right away, not the next morning.

Next we see as Aaron is speaking, the glory of YHVH appears in the cloud. Then YHVH speaks, saying what Moses and Aaron said to the people in verses 6-8. This all appears to me to be happening on the same 15th day.

Next we see “and it came to pass at even” on the 15th day “that the quails came up.”

“And in the morning…” manna appeared on the 16th day.

Here is the passage in the Brenton translation of the Septuagint…

And they departed from Ælim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Ælim and Sina; and on the fifteenth day, in the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt, all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron.

And the children of Israel said to them, Would we had died smitten by the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and ate bread to satiety! for ye have brought us out into this wilderness, to slay all this congregation with hunger.

And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread upon you out of heaven: and the people shall go forth, and they shall gather their daily portion for the day, that I may try them whether they will walk in my law or not. And it shall come to pass on the sixth day that they shall prepare whatsoever they have brought in, and it shall be double of what they shall have gathered for the day, daily.

And Moses and Aaron said to all the congregation of the children of Israel, At even ye shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning ye shall see the glory of the Lord, inasmuch as he hears your murmuring against God; and who are we, that ye continue to murmur against us?

And Moses said, This shall be when the Lord gives you in the evening flesh to eat, and bread in the morning to satiety, because the Lord has heard your murmuring, which ye murmur against us: and what are we? for your murmuring is not against us, but against God.

And Moses said to Aaron, Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before God; for he has heard your murmuring. And when Aaron spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and they turned toward the wilderness, then the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel: speak to them, saying, Towards evening ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be satisfied with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.

And it was evening, and quails came up and covered the camp: in the morning it came to pass as the dew ceased round about the camp, that, behold, on the face of the wilderness was a small thing like white coriander seed, as frost upon the earth. (Exo 16:1-14 Brenton)

What say you?

About Carrie Wigal

Homesteading Wife, Homeschooling Mom and perpetual Bible student, continually taking the road less traveled. (@messyanic)
This entry was posted in Sabbath Day - Shabbath, What About? verses. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *