Just the facts

MANNA

manna

“Manna” is a Hebrew word for the edible substance God fed the Israelites with during their forty-year sojourn in the wilderness. The name “manna” was derived from the question “man hu,” in Hebrew, meaning “What is it?” (Exodus 16:14-15,35). Exodus 16:31 and Numbers 11:7 respectively described manna thus: “like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” and “as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.”

Exodus adds that manna was comparable in size to hoarfrost; no wonder it had to be collected before it was melted by the heat of the sun. Raw manna tasted like wafers that had been made with honey. However, the Israelites usually grounded or pounded it, which when baked, resulted in something that tasted like cakes baked with oil. The Israelites were instructed to eat only the manna they had gathered for each day, and each person was to gather only an “omer” (about 3.64 ltr.) every day (Exodus 16:16). Leftovers of manna stored up for the following day bred worms and stank. They were however allowed to gather enough for two days (2 omers per person) on the day before Sabbath, because they were not allowed to do any work on the Sabbath day.

Beyond being God’s answer to the Israelites cries for food, we also see that the giving of Manna to them was significant in many ways: Manna was also used illustratively in the Bible in reference to Christ who is called the True Bread from Heaven, the Bread of God, and the Bread of Life (John 6:32-35). Jesus is therefore our Manna in the New Testament.

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