161The whole Israelite community set out from Elim, and on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. 2There in the desert they all complained to Moses and Aaron 3and said to them, “We wish that the LORD had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted. But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death.”
The LORD said to Moses, “Now I am going to make food rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions. 5On the sixth day they are to bring in twice as much as usual and prepare it.”
6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt. 7In the morning you will see the dazzling light of the LORD's presence. He has heard your complaints against him — yes, against him, because we are only carrying out his instructions.” 8Then Moses said, “It is the LORD who will give you meat to eat in the evening and as much bread as you want in the morning, because he has heard how much you have complained against him. When you complain against us, you are really complaining against the LORD.”
9Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole community to come and stand before the LORD, because he has heard their complaints.” 10As Aaron spoke to the whole community, they turned towards the desert, and suddenly the dazzling light of the LORD appeared in a cloud. 11The LORD said to Moses, 12“I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them that at twilight they will have meat to eat, and in the morning they will have all the bread they want. Then they will know that I, the LORD, am their God.”
13In the evening a large flock of quails flew in, enough to cover the camp, and in the morning there was dew all round the camp. 14When the dew evaporated, there was something thin and flaky on the surface of the desert. It was as delicate as frost. 15
When the Israelites saw it, they didn't know what it was and asked each other, “What is it?”
Moses said to them, “This is the food that the LORD has given you to eat. 16The LORD has commanded that each of you is to gather as much of it as he needs, two litres for each member of his household.”
17The Israelites did this, some gathering more, others less. 18
When they measured it, those who gathered much did not have too much, and those who gathered less did not have too little. Each had gathered just what he needed. 19Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it for tomorrow.” 20But some of them did not listen to Moses and saved part of it. The next morning it was full of worms and smelt rotten, and Moses was angry with them. 21Every morning each one gathered as much as he needed; and when the sun grew hot, what was left on the ground melted.
22On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, four litres for each person. All the leaders of the community came and told Moses about it, 23
and he said to them, “The LORD has commanded that tomorrow is a holy day of rest, dedicated to him. Bake today what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Whatever is left should be put aside and kept for tomorrow.” 24As Moses had commanded, they kept what was left until the next day; it did not spoil or get worms in it. 25Moses said, “Eat this today, because today is the Sabbath, a day of rest dedicated to the LORD, and you will not find any food outside the camp. 26You must gather food for six days, but on the seventh day, the day of rest, there will be none.”
27On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather food, but they did not find any. 28Then the LORD said to Moses, “How much longer will you people refuse to obey my commands? 29Remember that I, the LORD, have given you a day of rest, and that is why on the sixth day I will always give you enough food for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day and not leave his home.” 30So the people did no work on the seventh day.
The people of Israel called the food manna.16.31 manna: This word sounds like the Hebrew for “what is it?” (see verse 15). It was like a small white seed, and tasted like biscuits made with honey. 32Moses said, “The LORD has commanded us to save some manna, to be kept for our descendants, so that they can see the food which he gave us to eat in the desert when he brought us out of Egypt.” 33
Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, put two litres of manna in it, and place it in the LORD's presence to be kept for our descendants.” 34As the LORD had commanded Moses, Aaron put it in front of the Covenant Box, so that it could be kept. 35
The Israelites ate manna for the next forty years, until they reached the land of Canaan, where they settled. 36(The standard dry measure then in use equalled twenty litres.)
171The whole Israelite community left the desert of Sin, moving from one place to another at the command of the LORD. They made camp at Rephidim, but there was no water there to drink. 2They complained to Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses answered, “Why are you complaining? Why are you putting the LORD to the test?”
3But the people were very thirsty and continued to complain to Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? To kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
4Moses prayed earnestly to the LORD and said, “What can I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5The LORD said to Moses, “Take some of the leaders of Israel with you, and go on ahead of the people. Take along the stick with which you struck the Nile. 6I will stand before you on a rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” Moses did so in the presence of the leaders of Israel.
7The place was named Massah and Meribah,17.7 Massah… Meribah: These names in Hebrew mean “testing” and “complaining”. because the Israelites complained and put the LORD to the test when they asked, “Is the LORD with us or not?”
8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Pick out some men to go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on top of the hill holding the stick that God told me to carry.” 10Joshua did as Moses commanded him and went out to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. 12When Moses' arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. 13In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory, so that it will be remembered. Tell Joshua that I will completely destroy the Amalekites.” 15Moses built an altar and named it “The LORD is my Banner”. 16He said, “Hold high the banner of the LORD!17.16 Probable text Hold… LORD; Hebrew unclear. The LORD will continue to fight against the Amalekites for ever!”
181Moses' father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything that God had done for Moses and the people of Israel when he led them out of Egypt. 2
So he came to Moses, bringing with him Moses' wife Zipporah, who had been left behind, 3
and Gershom and Eliezer, her two sons. (Moses had said, “I have been a foreigner in a strange land”; so he had named one son Gershom.18.3 Gershom: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “foreigner”. 4He had also said, “The God of my father helped me and saved me from being killed by the king of Egypt”; so he had named the other son Eliezer.18.4 Eliezer: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “God helps me”.) 5Jethro came with Moses' wife and her two sons into the desert where Moses was camped at the holy mountain. 6He had sent word to Moses that they were coming, 7so Moses went out to meet him, bowed before him, and kissed him. They asked about each other's health and then went into Moses' tent. 8Moses told Jethro everything that the LORD had done to the king and the people of Egypt in order to rescue the Israelites. He also told him about the hardships the people had faced on the way and how the LORD had saved them. 9When Jethro heard all this, he was happy 10and said, “Praise the LORD, who saved you from the king and the people of Egypt! Praise the LORD, who saved his people from slavery! 11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods, because he did this when the Egyptians treated the Israelites with such contempt.” 12Then Jethro brought an offering to be burnt whole and other sacrifices to be offered to God; and Aaron and all the leaders of Israel went with him to eat the sacred meal as an act of worship.
13The next day Moses was settling disputes among the people, and he was kept busy from morning till night. 14When Jethro saw everything that Moses had to do, he asked, “What is all this that you are doing for the people? Why are you doing this all alone, with people standing here from morning till night to consult you?”
15Moses answered, “I must do this because the people come to me to learn God's will. 16When two people have a dispute, they come to me, and I decide which one of them is right, and I tell them God's commands and laws.”
17Then Jethro said, “You are not doing it the right way. 18You will wear yourself out and these people as well. This is too much for you to do alone. 19Now let me give you some good advice, and God will be with you. It is right for you to represent the people before God and bring their disputes to him. 20You should teach them God's commands and explain to them how they should live and what they should do. 21But in addition, you should choose some capable men and appoint them as leaders of the people: leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They must be God-fearing men who can be trusted and who cannot be bribed. 22Let them serve as judges for the people on a permanent basis. They can bring all the difficult cases to you, but they themselves can decide all the smaller disputes. That will make it easier for you, as they share your burden. 23If you do this, as God commands, you will not wear yourself out, and all these people can go home with their disputes settled.”
24Moses took Jethro's advice 25and chose capable men from among all the Israelites. He appointed them as leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 26They served as judges for the people on a permanent basis, bringing the difficult cases to Moses but deciding the smaller disputes themselves.
27Then Moses said goodbye to Jethro, and Jethro went back home.