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[26] But presently after this first supply of food, he sent them a second; for as Moses was lifting up his hands in prayer, a dew fell down; and Moses, when he found it stick to his hands, supposed this was also come for food from God to them. He tasted it; and perceiving that the people knew not what it was, and thought it snowed, and that it was what usually fell at that time of the year, he informed them that this dew did not fall from heaven after the manner they imagined, but came for their preservation and sustenance. So he tasted it, and gave them some of it, that they might be satisfied about what he told them. They also imitated their conductor, and were pleased with the food, for it was like honey in sweetness and pleasant taste, but like in its body to bdellium, one of the sweet spices, and in bigness equal to coriander seed. And very earnest they were in gathering it; but they were enjoined to gather it equally 1 - the measure of an omer for each one every day, because this food should not come in too small a quantity, lest the weaker might not be able to get their share, by reason of the overbearing of the strong in collecting it. However, these strong men, when they had gathered more than the measure appointed for them, had no more than others, but only tired themselves more in gathering it, for they found no more than an omer apiece; and the advantage they got by what was superfluous was none at all, it corrupting, both by the worms breeding in it, and by its bitterness. So divine and wonderful a food was this! It also supplied the want of other sorts of food to those that fed on it. And even now, in all that place, this manna comes down in rain, 2 according to what Moses then obtained of God, to send it to the people for their sustenance. Now the Hebrews call this food manna: for the particle man, in our language, is the asking of a question. What is this ? So the Hebrews were very joyful at what was sent them from heaven. Now they made use of this food for forty years, or as long as they were in the wilderness.

1 It seems to me, from what Moses, Exodus 16:18, St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:15, and Josephus here say, compared together, that the quantity of manna that fell daily, and did not putrefy, was just so much as came to an omer apiece, through the whole host of Israel, and no more.

2 This supposal, that the sweet honey-dew or manna, so celebrated in ancient and modern authors, as falling usually in Arabia, was of the very same sort with this manna sent to the Israelites, savors more of Gentilism than of Judaism or Christianity. It is not improbable that some ancient Gentile author, read by Josephus, so thought; nor would he here contradict him; though just before, and Antiq. B. IV. ch. 3. sect. 2, he seems directly to allow that it had not been seen before. However, this food from heaven is here described to be like snow; and in Artapanus, a heathen writer, it is compared to meal, color like to snow, rained down by God," Essay on the Old Test. Append. p. 239. But as to the derivation of the word manna, whether from man, which Josephus says then signified What is it or from mannah, to divide, i.e. a dividend or portion allotted to every one, it is uncertain: I incline to the latter derivation. This manna is called angels' food, Psalm 78:26, and by our Sacior, John 6:31, etc., as well as by Josephus here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. III. ch. 5. sect. 3, said to be sent the Jews from heaven.

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