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 15th day of the 2nd month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
The wilderness of Sin
After leaving Elim, the children of Israel encamped by the Red Sea, and afterwards moved into the wilderness of Sin. The Red Sea encampment is not recorded in Exodus, though it is found in the enumeration of the journey in Numbers (ch. 33:10-11). It was most likely
designed to give the people a final glimpse of the extent of ocean that lay between them and Egypt, should they desire to return to that land. It would demonstrate that the barrier between them and Egypt was so vast that there was no possibility of turning back, and there was but one thing to do: follow the cloud to Sinai, and enter into the covenant that Yahweh would reveal to them there.
Therefore, after a brief encampment by the shore of the Red Sea they moved off into the wilderness of Sin. The Hebrew word sin is from a Hebrew word signifying "bush," and evidently is given this name because of the acacia bush that grows therein - the bushthat Moses saw burning, without being consumed.
The area is identified by some with the plain of El-Kaa, which commences at the mouth of the Wady Taiyibeh, and extends along the whole southwestern side of the peninsula. Some connect it with the plain el-Markhah on the coast. G. Sandie writes in Horeb And Jerusalem:
"It is a wide, open plain, bounded on one side by the sea, and on the other by a lofty mountain ridge, exhibiting on a large scale the colours of the desert. The central mountain is very grand: a naked alp of red granite, rent by a wild and gloomy gorge, and high upon its slopes lie ridges of pure, white sandstone.
"The Wadi-Markhah extends along the seashore, until it merges into the great plain of El-Kaa. This leads to a magnificent pass, wild, narrow and winding; each turn revealing aspects of grandeur and desolation, strangely impressive.
At the end of the ravine, a majestic dark mass of mountain rises as a haggard precipice
from the plain; and across its scarred front are broad bands of brightest colours. The plain widens at this part into a recess on one side at its base, and here are small pyramidal hills of the same dark colour, flanked by ridges of the white sandstone. These are so unique as to give the feeling that they have never previously been seen.
"The pass led into Wady Shellal, memorable for its inexpressible confusion of blasted hills of all shapes and colours. Ascending another pass, we looked back over a tumultuous sea of hills of all colours: red, white, green and black. The approach is along a defile shut in by high
precipitous granite cliffs over one thousand feet high."
The Israelites would have found some supplies of water throughout this area, but as they toiled up the mountain pass towards Rephidim, they became "faint and weary" (Deu. 25:18), and their supplies became more and more depleted.
The Christadelphian Expositor
3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
The people's error was tragic, and this for two reasons .. It witnessed to a lamentable lack of faith on their part; but this in turn betrayed an insultingly low estimation of the character of God Himself. In speaking as they did they were wantonly and contemptuously ignoring the terms of His covenant with Abraham,
"In the fourth generation they shall come hither again ... Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates"
(Gen. I5 : 16,18).
They acted as though no such pledge had been given, yet, as they knew only too well, it had been repeated in God's assurance to Moses which had already vindicated itself in their miraculous deliverance,
"I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey"
(Exod 3 : 8).
They ought to have regarded that deliverance as but the essential preliminary to their settlement in the Covenant Land. That was how Moses regarded it. The Exodus was for him so certain a guarantee of the eventual entry into Canaan that he spoke of it as though it were already an accomplished fact.
"Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed; thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation"
(Exod. I5 : 13).
He accepted unreservedly the assurance given him by God after his first rebuff by Pharaoh,
"I will bring you in unto the land concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for an heritage: I am the Lord"
(Exod. 6 : 8).
For him it was not only reassuring, but also natural, that the Book of the Covenant legislated for circumstances which in many cases could only arise in consequence of Israel's settlement in the Land (e.g., Exod. 21 : 13; 23 : 19). He clearly regarded Sinai as merely a halt on the march from the Land of Bondage to the assured Rest of the Land of Promise.
Law and Grace Ch 11
Ye have brought us forth into this wilderness
Such were the thoughtless, faithless, blasphemous charges which Israel brought against God in the wilderness. Is it strange that God should say,
"How long will this people provoke Me? and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs that I have showed among them?"
As we contemplate these incidents in Israel's history, we are doubtless all moved to pass unqualified condemnation on these faithless men, and to express astonishment that they could so have acted. But do we realise the possibility of our exhibiting the same characteristics? It is not by any means an unknown experience for men to condemn others for what they themselves are unconsciously doing.
Let us examine ourselves as to whether we are or are not like the faithless wilderness wanderers. A faithful adherence to our antitypical wilderness condition places us in similarly trying circumstances to those of the children of Israel.
For example, a brother in business sees all around him, lying, cheating and otherwise resorting to ways forbidden by God. For such an one to say: I must do the same or I shall bring ruin on myself and my belongings, is, in effect, to charge God with having brought him into the wilderness to kill him with hunger.
These wilderness trials come in many forms—the brother in a situation is perhaps tempted to fall in with the unscrupulous practices of his fellow employées lest he should jeopardise his situation—or, the sister in the service of the alien fears to refuse to join in the household worship for fear of dismissal.
Whatever form our trials may take, let us remember that God is by their means proving our confidence in Him.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Aug 1888
4 Then said Yahweh unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
Manna in the wilderness
The Flesh and the Manna then, according to Paul, were "spiritual meat." In regard to the manna, it is styled in Psal. lxxviii. 24, "the corn of the heavens," "the bread of mighty ones" -- "man did eat the bread of mighty ones." This and the flesh, by which the life of Israel was sustained, was "spiritual meat;" it was, nevertheless, material and corruptible flesh and bread; for under certain conditions, it stank and bred worms. But it was "spiritual" in the sense of representing something else than its own material constituents.*
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 Yahweh appeared in the cloud.
11 And Yahweh 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 Yahweh your Elohim.
1. It was typically necessary that Israel see the Glory of Yahweh before they eat heaven's flesh at even, and eat from the Manna in the morning;
2. That they eat the flesh first;
3. That they eat the bread afterwards;
4. That they eat both before they obtain Aion-possession of the land promised to Abraham and his Seed.
Under the first head I remark that Jesus Anointed was the Glory of Yahweh. This is proved by John's testimony, that "the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us (Israelites), and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace: for the law was given through Moses, the grace and the truth (represented by that law) came through Jesus Anointed."
This Glory of the Father was seen by "Judah and his companions" in the evening of the Mosaic Aion; and he was seen in the wilderness, as Isaiah had predicted, saying,
"The Voice of him that proclaimeth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim ... and the Glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together" (Isai. xl. 3,5).
...Thus spake the Logos, who was in the beginning the Deity. He promised to give "His Flesh" for the sustenance of the kosmos. This flesh was the Son of Mary and David, named Jesus; and the Logos appointed that Jesus should be eaten, and his blood drunk, in the even, by all who would become the subjects of resurrection to the life of the Aion.
"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
This saying is fatal to the heathen dogma of an immortal soul in Sin's flesh; for they only eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus, who "discern the Son and believe into him;" and this can be affirmed only of an almost Noachic few in this evil generation.
He that believes the written testimony of the Logos concerning Jesus, set forth in the prophets and apostles, and becomes the subject of repentance and remission of sins in his name, eats his flesh and drinks his blood, and "hath aion-life" in the sense of Apoc. xxii. 14 --
"blessed they doing God's commandments, that they may have the right to the Wood of the Life:" "and I will raise him up at the last day" (John vi. 54).
Thus, "he that eateth me, even he shall live by me," and none else.*
13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
In the morning, they who have seen the glory, and eaten the flesh "at even," or believed the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Anointed, will behold "the Dew" before "it is gone up." The bread to be eaten was concealed in the dew, and did not appear until the fluid matter in which it was suspended was evaporated by the action of the sun.
Now, the manna in dewy suspension is apocalyptically styled "the manna that hath been concealed." The manna concealed in dew is a type of the resurrection of the first-fruits of the Spirit. When they that now dwell in the dust awake and sing, they are at their awaking the Spirit's Dew; which the prophet saith is as "the Dew of herbs" (Isai. xxvi. 19).
They remain in this Dew-state until the Sun of Righteousness acts upon them, and transforms them into Manna; that is, makes them corporeally like himself -- transforms the body that comes out of the grave into a like form to that with which he descends from heaven (Phil. iii. 20).
To be the subject of this transformation by the Spirit is
"to eat of the manna which has been concealed."*
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which Yahweh hath given you to eat.
Man hu - What it. The glory of Yahweh appeared before the twelve tribes. Subsequently they partook of the manna.
Judah and his companions have seen; but Israel and his companion-tribes have not. Multitudes of the former have eaten the flesh, and drunk the blood, of the Son of Man; and are now sleeping out the intervening night, that in the morning they may come forth as dew, and when it hath gone up, they may be as manna upon the ground.
But the Ten Tribes did not see the Glory of Yahweh in the days of John. It is, however, typically necessary that they do see it in the wilderness before the morning, that they also may eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Logos, before they eat of the manna hidden in the dew, preparatory to their admission into the covenanted land.
The whole congregation of Israel must see the glory together; and, as Jeremiah saith,
"thy words were found, and I did eat them;"
so Israel has to come to the knowledge of "the truth as it is in Jesus," inwardly to digest it, and to feed upon it in the wilderness-probation that awaits them in the matter of their restoration.*
22 And it came to pass, that on the 6th day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 And he said unto them, This is that which Yahweh hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto Yahweh: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
But the concealment of the manna has also especial reference to Jesus who is himself the type of his companions. In the historical type, the manna appears in two forms -- first, as susceptible of corruption; and secondly, as incorruptible.
"If left until the morning it bred worms and stank."
Ordinarily it would not keep from morning to morning; but in the manna gathered upon Friday this tendency was restrained, and it remained perfectly good; and
"did not stink, neither was there any worm therein."
Now Jesus, as we have seen, being the Logos become flesh, was both evening quail and morning bread. He was gathered by the nation on Friday, or the sixth day, when they crucified him. They gathered him in the morning, but they did not leave him on the cross till the following morning; still, they kept him laid up in the sepulchre on Saturday; nevertheless, he did not stink, neither was there any worm in his body. The Spirit
"would not permit His Holy One to see corruption;"
for the tendency natural to the flesh was restrained.*
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto Yahweh: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
Israel gathered a double portion on Friday; so that when they went out on Saturday to look for it,
"they did not find it in the field,"
as Moses said: so when they gathered the bread of heaven, and laid him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, those who might go out to look, could find the Son of Man no longer sowing the words of eternal life in the field.*
26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
As a matter of fact, the Sabbath law has not occurred to any race or nation. It belongs to Israel alone. It was one of the characteristic ingredients in Zion's affliction that the adversaries "mocked at her Sabbaths" (Lam. 1:7). The Sabbath observance, wherever found, is traceable to the Mosaic code. It is peculiarly and exclusively a Bible institution.
Experimentally, it is found to be a beneficial institution -- this weekly recurrence of the rest for man and beast. It seems adapted to a need of nature; it allows the machinery of life to work longer and more easily than if kept uninterruptedly at work...
Its tendency to recuperate the physical forces after the exhaustions of labour, and to give the mind an opportunity of rising into higher exercises than are possible in the ceaseless activities required in the provision of daily bread, has struck all thoughtful minds as a feature of excellence not to be exaggerated.
...Blessed will the whole world be when the Sabbath becomes a universal institution of human life, under the law that will go forth from Mount Zion to willing and obedient nations (Isa. 66:23; 2:3).
That it was ordained with a purpose over and above the mere comfort and physical well-being of man, is manifest from the divine comments to be found in the law and the prophets. These speak of the Sabbath as a "sign" intended to keep God before the mind of Israel. Thus in Exod. 31:13, 17, we read,
"My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you... that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death".
... From this it follows that the mere suspension of labour was not a complete keeping of the Sabbath.
Acceptable keeping of the Sabbath involved the exercise of mental discernment in relation to God. It required the mind to be fixed on Him in a special manner, as expressed in the message by Isaiah,
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth" (Isa. 58:13)
Law of Moses Ch 5
33 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before Yahweh, to be kept for your generations.
34 As Yahweh commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
But some of the manna was incorruptible for a longer period than the sixth and seventh days. It was made to last for generations. Moses was commanded to put an omer, or tenth part of an ephah of manna into a pot, and to lay it up before the Testimony, to be kept. Every day this was preserved (and it was kept for centuries), evinced the presence of the Spirit in the Most Holy; for ordinarily it would not keep.
It was deposited in the chest, called the Ark of the Testimony, which was overlaid with gold; whose lid was termed the Caphporeth, propitiatory, or Mercy Seat; and upon which the Cherubim were based. This Ark of the Covenant contained the Tables of the Law, the pot of Manna, and Aaron's Rod which budded; things all representative of the Logos in his incarnate manifestation.
Now as Aaron laid up an omer full in a pot, and concealed it from view within the Ark of the Testimony there to remain for centuries; so the Eternal Spirit concealed in Jesus, the antitypical Ark of His Testimony, that deposit of Manna, from which it shall be given to those who overcome to eat.
We feed upon this manna from day to day in feeding upon the truth. But what we eat today will not suffice for the morrow. We must keep it in memory. But though we thus feed, and rejoice in "the right to life," yet it is life-manna concealed; for
"we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory (Col. iii. 3,4).
The night, then, of the Life-manna's concealment in the Spirit's Ark, is far spent; and the morning of its manifestation at hand. Jesus Anointed, who is the Glory of the Eternal, has been "hid in God" concealed from human ken "at the right hand of Power," for many generations and centuries.
Though once like the daily manna, corruptible; during that long period he has been, and will ever continue to be, like the Manna in the Ark, incorruptible. We look for his appearing, that we who are dead, who are corruptible and mortal, and also by nature "dead in sins;" but pardoned, and therefore dead to the world, and buried with Christ in baptism, and risen with him out of its waters in hope of being planted in the likeness of his resurrection -- we wait for his coming, that the spirit may be in us as in him; and that being made like him, we may eat of the manna that hath been so long concealed.*