Exodus 16: Murmuring, Part 2

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 48–49


Exodus 15 records that the children of Israel “murmured,” or complained, about Moses and the Lord when they had a problem. It is hard for us to understand how they could have complained so quickly after the great miracle of the Red Sea. We must remember, however, that although slavery limited the Israelites’ freedom, slavery also provided the Israelites’ necessities of life in a way similar to that of a person in prison. Because the children of Israel had limited freedom to make choices, they were spiritually immature. Because the Lord is interested in our growth, He wants—even requires—that we make choices. As we need His help, He provides help for us in a way that requires us to do difficult things that build and strengthen us. To murmur against the Lord is to show that we lack faith that He knows what is best for us.Exodus 16–17 contains much murmuring by the children of Israel. As you read these chapters, look for what the Lord taught the children of Israel to strengthen them and give them greater reason to trust Him.

Understanding the Scriptures

Exodus 16

Would to God (v. 3)We wish 
Flesh pots (v. 3)Pots of meat 
Rate (v. 4)Amount 
Even (vv. 6, 12)Sunset 
Flesh (vv. 8, 12)Meat 
Host (v. 13)Large group 
Wist (v. 15)Knew 
Omer (vv. 16, 18, 22, 32, 36)About five pints (two liters) 
Mete (v. 18)Measured 
Leave of it (v. 19)Keep or save any of it 
Bred worms (v. 20)Became wormy or filled with maggots 
Wroth (v. 20)Angry 
Lay up, laid up (vv. 23–24)Stored 
Bade (v. 24)Commanded 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A–C as you study Exodus 16.

Activity A iconWhat Was the Purpose of Manna?

  1. 1.

    According to Exodus 16:4, what was one of the purposes of manna?

  2. 2.

    Based on what you read in chapter 16, how do you think manna could accomplish the purpose verse 4 gives?

Activity B iconManna Was a Type of Christ

Read John 6:31–35, 48–51 and write about how manna is like Jesus Christ and how we are like the children of Israel. You may be interested to know that in Hebrew Bethlehem (the city where Jesus was born) means “house of bread.”

Activity C iconWho Are You Really Complaining Against?

When you murmur against your leaders, who are you really murmuring against? (see Exodus 16:8; D&C 84:36).