January 28

Exodus 16-18


The Deliverance from Bondage, cont’d.          Exodus 1-18           


Exodus 5-18            The Display of God’s Power, cont’d.


Exodus 16:2-They had left Egypt a little over one month earlier, and now they again "grumbled against Moses and Aaron" (which was really against the LORD, 16:7-9). They grumbled because of: the Egyptian army (14:11); there was no water (15:24); there was no food (16:2,12); there was no water (17:1-3).  To make matters worse, they had false memories of the good old days (14:12; 16:3).

Exodus 16:4-This is the second time that God has said He was going to "test" the people (15:25) to see if they would be obedient to Him.  The testing came through God's provision of the quail and manna.  They were only to gather food for one day at a time.  This would be an expression of faith in God…that they believed that He would provide for them today, and tomorrow He would provide for that day.  The exception would be that on the sixth day they were to gather twice as much…since they were to rest on the seventh day.  A weekly reminder that God is in control.  This again will be proof that "I am the LORD your God.” (16:12).

Exodus 16:13-Quail are short-winged, bullet-headed small birds…that were considered to be a delicacy.  When they are exhausted they can be easily caught.

Exodus 16:13-21-The words “What is it?” is the Hebrew word “manna”…that means “what”, as if someone was asking, “What is it called?”  (see v. 31 for its appearance and taste).  God provided manna for the Hebrews for the entire 40 years that they were in the wilderness.  God instructed them to only gather enough for one day…but they did not obey…they failed the “test” of trusting God.

Exodus 16:22-The sixth day was to be a “sabbath”…the word means “rest”.  It was intended to be a sign of God's provision and a means of worship (when the people were obedient it showed their trust in Him).  The manna from the day before did not spoil like it did on other days (:20,24).  Again, though, some of the people were disobedient and went into the fields to gather more manna…but it was not there.

Exodus 16:31-34-Moses told them to put some in a jar and keep it as a witness for future generations.  It was placed before the "Testimony".  This is a reference to the two tablets of the Law that Moses would soon receive (Hebrews 9:4).

Exodus 17:1-7-The people grumbled again…this time for water.  They "tested" the LORD..."Is the LORD among us, or not?"  Must God continuously perform miracles for our benefit in order for us to give Him the proper worship and recognize His sovereignty over us?  The word “Meribah” means “argument, strife.”  “Massah” comes from a root word that means “test”.

Exodus 17:8-This is their first confrontation with another nation...Amalek (descendants of Esau’s grandson, cf. Genesis 36:12).  They attacked the rear of the Hebrew formation…assaulting the stragglers (see Deut. 25:17-18).

Exodus 17:9-This is the first mention of Joshua…he was about 45-years old, at the time.  He became their military leader and replaced Moses when he died.

Exodus 17:10-16-Moses stood on a nearby hill during the battle…and as long as he had his arms (with the staff) held up they won.  His arms became tired so Aaron and Hur (tradition says that he was married to Moses and Aaron’s sister, Miriam…he is mentioned only here and in 24:14) held them up.  God declared that the Amalek's would be wiped out forever.  Moses built an altar there and called it “The LORD is My Banner”…”Yahweh-nissi”.

Exodus 18:1-10-Jethro, Moses' father-in-law arrives.  Evidently, as some point prior, Moses had sent his wife (Zipporah) and sons (“Gershom” means “a stranger here”, “Eliezer” means “my God is help”) back to live with him.  He now brings them back.  They are camped at the “mount of God”, Mt. Sinai…usually identified with Jebel Musa, a 7,500’ peak at the southern end of the “V” that is formed by the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba.  At the foot of this peak is a plain 2½ miles long by ½ mile wide in which the Hebrew people could easily have camped for the more than 11 months that they were there.  They arrived here on the third month after leaving Egypt (19:1).


For the location of Mt. Sanai see:



Exodus 18:11-12-Jethro says, "Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people."  The miracles in Egypt had been specifically directed towards the different gods that the Egyptians worshipped.  Jethro is mentioning this...that the LORD was proven to be greater than any of them.

Exodus 18:13-27-This is Jethro's advice concerning how Moses was serving as judge of the people.  He suggests that he share the work with others.  He was concerned that Moses would "wear out".  He was also concerned about the people having to stand around and wait…possibly not receiving a quick resolution to their problems and resulting in matters becoming even more complicated.  Jethro tells Moses to not just judge the peoples acts according to the law after they have been committed...but to teach the people God's "statutes and laws...the way in which thy are to walk, and the work they are to do".


Prayer: Father, thank You for inspiring Moses to write about these events in the lives of the Hebrew people.  It helps me to be mindful that You are sovereign over all matters of life.  Give me the kind of faith in You that doesn’t end when the sun goes down…but continues into the next day and into the next incident I face.  Thank You for Your incredible provision of all the needs of life.

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