23. But he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, 24. And had rained down manna1 upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. 25. Man had eaten the bread of the mighty: he had sent them meat to the full.
23. But he had commanded the clouds from above. It is a mistake to suppose that this miracle is related merely in the way of history. The prophet rather censures the Israelites the more severely from the consideration, that although fed to the full with manna, they ceased not to lust after the dainties which they knew God had denied them. It was the basest ingratitude to scorn and reject the heavenly food, which, so to speak, associated them with angels. Were a man who dwells in France or Italy to grieve and fret that he has not the bread of Egypt to eat, nor the wine of Asia to drink, would he not make war against God and nature, after the manner of the giants of old? Much less excusable was the inordinate lust of the Israelites, whom God not only furnished with earthly provision in rich abundance, but to whom he also gave the bread of heaven for their support. Had they even endured hunger for a lengthened period, propriety and duty would have required them to ask food with more humility. Had they been supplied with only bran and chaff to eat, it would have been their bounden duty to have acknowledged that in the place where they were -- in the wilderness -- this was no ordinary boon of Heaven. Had only coarse bread been granted them, they would have had sufficient reason for thanksgiving. But how much stronger were their obligations to God, when he created a new kind of food, with which, by stretching out, as it were, his hand from heaven, he supplied them richly and in great abundance? This is the reason why the manna is called corn of heaven, and bread of the mighty. Some explain the Hebrew word
1 The manna received its name, either from
2 Abu Walid and Kimchi read, "the bread of heaven."
3 The Chaldee paraphrase of the expression, the bread of the mighty, is, "the food that descends from the dwelling of angels;" so that, according to this view, it signifies no more than , "corn of heaven," by which the manna is described in the preceding verse. Dr Geddes and Williams observe, that the Hebrew word
4 "Les autres ont traduit les verbes par un temps passe, Il a commande aux nuees, Il a ouvert les portes du ciel, Il a fait pluvoir la Manne," etc. -- Fr.
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