Essay Exodus 16

Submitted By fionapearle22
Words: 1151
Pages: 5

Fiona Giguere
Professor Kroger
Varieties of Christianity
October 8, 2014
Exodus 16 (Manna) The stories in the Bible have many different ways that they could possibly be interpreted, and the messages and lessons of the stories can differ depending on the way that the story is interpreted. Therefore, different groups of people often reinterpret the stories to fit their own beliefs and purpose. Christian beliefs are based off of Judaism, therefore many of the stories that the Christians preach were originally Jewish. While the Christians kept many of the stories, they often altered them or at least reinterpreted their meaning to better suite their new and revised religion. Sometimes a story may be rewritten multiple times, adding in different details and points. For example, in both commentaries on Exodus 16, (Mays 135) and (Karris 97) at least three different narrative sources are mentioned for writing different versions of the story and then being combined into the one we read now. This lead to a more jumbled and confusing story, with different views all intertwining. It is so jumbled, that most of the commentary in (Mays 135), is sorting out who wrote what part and which facts are present in which story and when different details were added or left out and how all of this came together to create the final product. It is because of this that the quail seems randomly thrown in the story and only mentioned once, it may have played a greater role in an earlier version of the story or a later writer thought that it was unrealistic that they could live off of only manna, but for one reason or another it made it into the story. In it’s original, Jewish contest, Exodus 16:1-36 is rather easily interpreted. The story is of the people that Moses released from slavery in Egypt. One month after their release, they are living in the dessert and while they have been granted water to quench their thirst, they are now complaining of their hunger, and some are even wishing that they could have died in Egypt while still under slavery, instead of being freed, because then they would have at least died with a full stomach. Yahweh grants them “manna” which is a sort of honey-like bread substitute that God sends down to them from the sky every night. However, they have rules that they must obey, they can only gather what they need for that day and are not allowed to save any overnight, or else it will go bad and be of no use to them, except for on the sixth day when they are told to collect two days’ worth of manna so that they can save half of it for the seventh day and it will not go bad, because the seventh day is the day of rest and they will not be able to find any manna on the seventh day, nor should they look for it. Moses then commanded Aaron to preserve a jar of manna and place it in front of the Lord. In the original Jewish context, this tale was interpreted to show how God cared for his people and showed his greatness through miracles once again, and that if you honor God and believe in him, what he provides for you will always be enough, (Barton78). It also shows His graciousness because He did not punish the people for complaining and not maintaining their faith in Him through the difficulty. Its last purpose, was to implement the Sabbath or day of rest, which is a strong tradition in Judaism, while this story does not give an explanation as to why we have Sabbath, it shows that it is something that Yahweh wanted his people to follow and how they should do as he wishes, (Karris 97). Christians later added more in depth meanings to the story, while for the most part, keeping the original messages as well. The Christians already hold great significance in bread as the word of God through other stories in the Gospels, therefore they give the manna a greater meaning because of what was stated in Luke, that bread is the word of God. While in the original story, the bread just stood for the sustenance that God gave his people so that