19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot-drivers drove into the sea, the Eternal caused the waters to collapse upon them. But the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.
20 The prophetess, Miriam (Aaron’s sister), picked up a tambourine, and all the rest of the women followed her with tambourines and joyful dancing.
21 Miriam: Sing to the Eternal One, for He has won a great victory;
He has thrown the horse and its chariot into the sea.
22 Then Moses led Israel away from the Red Sea, and they entered the desert of Shur. They traveled for three days in the desert before they found water.
23 When they came to the place where they did find water, they could not drink it because it was so bitter. So they called the place Marah, or bitter. 24 Because they were very thirsty, the people complained to Moses.
Israelites: What are we supposed to drink?
25 Moses then asked the Eternal for help, and the Eternal showed him a log. Moses threw the log into the bitter water, and the water became sweet. At Marah the Eternal established an important principle and set a standard for His people so that He could test them.
Eternal One: 26 If you will listen closely to My voice—the voice of your God—and do what is right in My eyes, pay attention to My instructions, and keep all of My laws; then I will not bring on you any of the plagues that I did on the Egyptians, for I am the Eternal, your Healer.
27 Then they traveled on to an oasis called Elim, where there were 12 freshwater springs and 70 palm trees with dates. They set up camp there next to the waters.
16 Then the entire community of Israel departed from Elim and entered the desert of Sin, which is located between Elim and Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from Egypt.
The covenant people leave the pleasant, coastal area around Elim to begin the long journey through the wilderness. It will take longer than anyone expects.
2 As soon as they got to the desert of Sin, the entire community of Israelites complained to Moses and Aaron.
Israelites: 3 It would have been better if we had died by the hand of the Eternal in Egypt. At least we had plenty to eat and drink, for our pots were stuffed with meat and we had as much bread as we wanted. But now you have brought the entire community out to the desert to starve us to death.
Eternal One (to Moses): 4 Look! I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you,[a] and the people will go out and gather a helping of it each day. I will test them to see if they are willing to live by My instructions. 5 On the sixth day, they will gather the usual amount; but when they go to prepare it, it will end up being twice what they usually gather.
Moses and Aaron (to the Israelites): 6 When evening falls, you will know that the Eternal has led you out of the land of Egypt. 7 In the morning your eyes will see His glory because He takes your complaints against us as complaints against Him. Who are we, that you direct your complaints to us?
Moses (continuing): 8 This will take place when the Eternal One provides you with meat in the evening and plenty of bread in the morning because He hears all your grumbling and complaining against Him. Why do you complain to us? Your complaints are not against us, but against Him.
9 (to Aaron) Tell the entire community of Israelites, “Draw near to the Eternal. He has heard your complaints.”
10 While Aaron was speaking to the entire community of the Israelites, they all looked out toward the desert, and the radiant glory of the Eternal could be seen in the cloud. 11 The Eternal spoke to Moses.
Eternal One (to Moses): 12 Rest assured, I have heard the constant complaining of the Israelites. Tell them, “In the evening, you will have meat to eat; and in the morning, you will have enough bread to satisfy your gnawing hunger. Then you will know that I am the Eternal your God.”
13 That evening, quail flew in and covered the camp; and when morning arrived, what seemed to be ordinary dew was all around the camp.
14 But when the dew evaporated, it left behind a thin, mysterious, flaky substance that looked like frost on top of the dry desert ground. 15 The people of Israel went out to examine it. They had never seen anything quite like it.
Israelites (to one another): What is it?
The people didn’t have a clue what this strange substance was.
Moses: It is the bread which the Eternal has given you to eat. 16 Here are His instructions: “Gather only as much of it as you should eat by yourself. Pick up two quarts[b] of bread for each person who lives in your tent.”
17 The Israelites did as they were told. Some people gathered a lot, others gathered less. 18 When they used a two-quart jar to measure it, the one who had gathered a lot didn’t have more than he needed; and the one who gathered less had just what he needed.[c] Miraculously, each person and each family—regardless of how much they gathered—had exactly what they needed.
Moses (continuing God’s instructions): 19 Don’t try to keep any of it until the morning. Either eat it all, or throw it away.
20 But some people ignored Moses and tried to keep some of it until the next morning. Overnight it became wormy and started to have a dreadful smell. Moses became furious with them because they had disobeyed God’s instructions.
21 Every morning the people went out and gathered it—each family took only what it needed. By the time the sun became hot, it had melted away. 22 On the sixth day the people went out and gathered, but they came back with twice as much as usual—four quarts per person. All the leaders of the community thought they needed to tell Moses what had happened.
Moses (to the leaders): 23 Listen to what the Eternal commanded: Tomorrow, the seventh day, is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath dedicated to Him. Bake or boil whatever you need for today’s meals. Whatever is left over, keep it to eat tomorrow. It won’t spoil.
God wants His people to keep the Sabbath as a special day and to depend on Him—not their own efforts—to supply all they need.
24 So the people stored some of it until the next morning, just as Moses had instructed. None of it spoiled, nor did it have any worms.
Moses: 25 Eat what is left over today, because today is a Sabbath to the Eternal, a day of rest. You will not find any of it in the field today. 26 You are to gather it for six days, but on the seventh day (the Sabbath), none of it will be on the ground.
27 When the seventh day arrived, some of the people ignored Moses and went out to gather it anyway; but there was none to gather.
Eternal One (to Moses): 28 How much longer are you going to disobey My commands and instructions? 29 Look! I have given you the Sabbath as a day of rest. That is why I give you an extra portion of food on the sixth day. Everyone should stay where they are and not go out to work on the seventh day.
30 So the people did as God directed and rested on the seventh day.
31 The community of Israel decided to name this mysterious substance “manna” (which means, “What is it?”). It was white like a coriander seed, and it tasted sweet like honey wafers.
Moses: 32 This is the instruction of the Eternal: “Preserve two quarts of the manna so that future generations can see the bread I provided for you in the desert when I led you out of the land of Egypt.”
33 (to Aaron) Go, find a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Put it in a special place before the Eternal to preserve it for future generations to see.
“The Eternal Provides.” That could well be the theme for the entire exodus adventure. When there is no water, He provides. When there is no bread, He provides. When there is no meat, He provides. These provisions are clearly God’s gift to His people. They do not depend upon the cleverness, skill, or hard work of the Israelites. It must be difficult for these former slaves—whose lives have been all about work—to stop, to rest, and to truly believe their lives and futures depend upon God and not upon themselves.
34 Aaron did as the Eternal commanded. He stored the jar before the covenant to keep it safe.
This is an interesting statement. Aaron is directed to place the jar with the special breadlike substance that God provides “before the covenant,” which is either a reference to the directives God will provide (chapter 20) or to the special container—the covenant chest—God directs Aaron to build (chapter 25) to preserve some of Israel’s most precious treasures from the exodus and their time in the wilderness. Neither of these items exists at this point in time.
35 For 40 years, the Israelites were sustained by the manna God supplied. They ate it until they arrived at the borderlands of Canaan, the edge of the land they would one day inhabit. (36 And their omer was a two-quart measurement and in turn was one-tenth of an ephah.)[d]
17 The entire community of Israel traveled in stages out of the desert of Sin, just as the Eternal instructed. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there to quench their thirst. 2 Once again the people complained to Moses.
Israelites: Give us water to drink! We’re thirsty.
Moses: Why do you aim your complaints at me? Why are you testing the Eternal One?
3 But the people were so thirsty for water, they complained to Moses and leveled accusations against him.
Israelites: Why did you lead us out of Egypt? Was it to kill all of us—our children and livestock included—with this thirst?
4 Moses had had enough of their complaints, so he cried out to the Eternal One.
Moses: What am I supposed to do with these people and their relentless complaining? They are on the verge of stoning me.
Eternal One (to Moses): 5 Here’s what I want you to do: go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Also, be sure to bring your shepherd’s staff—the one with which you struck the Nile. 6 I will be there when you arrive standing at the rock of Horeb. I want you to strike the rock with your staff; and when you do, water will flow out of it so that everyone will have enough to drink.
The elders of Israel accompanied Moses and watched as he did what the Eternal directed.
22 Jesus went on speaking in parables.
Jesus: 2 The kingdom of heaven is like a king whose son was getting married. The king organized a great feast, a huge wedding banquet. 3 He invited everyone he knew. The day of the wedding arrived, and the king sent his servants into town to track down his guests—but when the servants approached them with the king’s message, they refused to come. 4 So the king sent out another batch of servants.
King: Tell those people I’ve invited to come to the wedding banquet! Tell them I have prepared a great feast! Everything is ready! The oxen and fattened cattle have all been butchered, the wine is decanted, and the table is laid out just so.
5 And off the servants went, and they carried the king’s message to the errant guests—who still paid not a whit of attention. One guest headed into his field to work; another sat at his desk to attend to his accounts. 6 The rest of the guests actually turned on the servants, brutalizing them and killing them. 7 When he learned of this, the king was furious. He sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their towns. 8 But there was, of course, still a wedding to celebrate.
King (to his remaining servants): The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited didn’t rise to the occasion. 9 So go into the streets and invite anyone you see; invite everyone you meet.
10 And the servants did just that—they went into the streets and invited everyone they met, rich and poor, good and bad, high and low, sick and well. Everyone who was invited came, and the wedding hall practically burst with guests.
11 The king looked around the wedding party with glee, but he spotted one man who was not dressed appropriately. In fact, he was dressed rather plainly, in clothes not at all fitting for a fine nuptial feast.
King: 12 Kind sir, how did you get in here without a proper suit of wedding clothes?
The man was speechless. He had been invited in off the street, after all! 13 Getting no response, the king told his servants,
King: Tie him up, and throw him out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and grinding of teeth.
14 For many are invited, but few are chosen.
15 At that, the Pharisees left. They determined to trap this Jesus with His own words—hang Him by His own rope, you might say. 16 They sent a batch of students to Him, along with a group that was loyal to Herod.
Students: Teacher, we know You are a man of integrity and You tell the truth about the way of God. We know You don’t cotton to public opinion. 17 And that is why we trust You and want You to settle something for us: should we, God’s chosen people, pay taxes to Caesar or not?
18 Jesus knew these men were out to trap Him.
Jesus: You hypocrites! Why do you show up here with such a transparent trick? 19 Bring Me a coin you would use to pay tax.
Someone handed Him a denarius.[a] 20 Jesus fingered the coin.
Jesus: Of whom is this a portrait, and who owns this inscription?
Students: 21 Caesar.
Jesus: Well then, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
22 And those who had come hoping to trick Jesus were confounded and amazed. And they left Him and went away.
23 That same day, a band of Sadducees—a sect of Jewish aristocrats who, among other things, did not expect a resurrection or anticipate any sort of future life at all—put their own question to Jesus.
Sadducees: 24 Teacher, the law of Moses teaches that if a married man dies with no children, then his brother must marry the widow and father children in his brother’s name. 25 Now we knew a family of seven brothers. The eldest brother married and died, and since he had no children, the next brother married his widow. 26 And shortly thereafter, that second brother died and the next until there were seven marriages with the same woman. 27 Eventually the wife died. 28 So now, Teacher, whose wife will she be at the resurrection? Will she have seven husbands, since they were each married to her?
According to Deuteronomy 25:5–6, a family member is supposed to marry a relative’s widow to carry on the deceased’s family name. Each man in this story dies, having fathered no children; that poor widow keeps marrying these brothers, and they keep dying. So in heaven, who is the husband?
Jesus: 29 You know neither God’s Scriptures nor God’s power—and so your assumptions are all wrong. 30 At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. They will be like the messengers of heaven.
In heaven all will be devoting themselves to praise. It will not be a simple continuation of life on earth.
31 A key to this resurrected life can be found in the words of Moses, which you do claim to read: 32 “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”[b] Our God is not the God of the dead. He is the God of the living.
33 And again the crowd was amazed. They were astonished at His teaching.
A song of David.
1 The Eternal is my light amidst my darkness
and my rescue in times of trouble.
So whom shall I fear?
He surrounds me with a fortress of protection.
So nothing should cause me alarm.
The psalms provide us with a way to think about and pray through the various threats we face. Our enemies today may not be the same as in biblical times, but they are no less real. Consider the threats on the horizon. Some may be national. Others may be more personal. Still they come to surround us and destroy us if they could only get the chance. The reality is there are times when our enemies appear to have the upper hand and our cause is lost. But wait and listen to the psalm! All is not lost because, ultimately, God is our light and salvation. The darkness will lift, and our Savior will come. He will settle all scores, and we will live in the beauty of His presence.
2 When my enemies advanced
to devour me alive,
They tripped and fell flat on their faces into the soil.
3 When the armies of the enemy surround me,
I will not be afraid.
When death calls for me in the midst of war,
my soul is confident and unmoved.
4 I am pleading with the Eternal for this one thing,
my soul’s desire:
To live with Him all of my days—
in the shadow of His temple,
To behold His beauty and ponder His ways
in the company of His people.
5 His house is my shelter and secret retreat.
It is there I find peace in the midst of storm and turmoil.
Safety sits with me in the hiding place of God.
He will set me on a rock, high above the fray.
6 God lifts me high above those with thoughts
of death and deceit that call for my life.
I will enter His presence, offering sacrifices and praise.
In His house, I am overcome with joy
As I sing, yes, and play music for the Eternal alone.
20 So, my son, follow your father’s direction,
and don’t forget what your mother taught you—
21 Keep their teachings close to your heart;
engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck.
22 Their instruction will guide you along your journey,
guard you when you sleep,
and address you when you wake in the morning.
23 For their direction is a lamp; their instruction will light your path,
and their discipline will correct your missteps,
sending you down the right path of life.
24 They will keep you far from the corrupted woman,
away from the smooth talk of a seductive woman.
25 Do not lose yourself in desire for her beauty
or let her win you over with her painted eyes,
26 For you can buy a harlot with a loaf of bread,
but sex with another man’s wife will cost you your life.