3 Responses to “Keeping the Sabbath, 3: No Fire on the Sabbath, So No Cooking on the Sabbath, Right?”

  1. John from Australia says:

    John wrote:

    “I believe the people were instructed to gather twice as much manna on the sixth day and to prepare and cook it all on that day. Why? Because something about the manna caused it to “melt” in the hot sun but survive cooking, which means that cooking somehow temporarily preserves it. Something about the preparation involved in eating manna required not just the usual gathering and cleaning, but it required cooking.”

    Peter Enns concurs:

    “Verse 5 and 24-30 refer to the Sabbath as the motivating factor for gathering twice as much bread on the sixth day… this is the first reference to the Sabbath in the Old Testament, an indication that it is already known before its official promulgation in 20:8-11. This, too, is another indication that the narrative, at least in part, is preparing for the events at Mount Sinai. Note also the nature of this Sabbath command. It is not simply that the Sabbath is “observed” by the Israelites in that “they” refrain from gathering food. Rather, it is “God” who refrains from supplying the food. It is he who ceases working, so that no manna or quail is to be found… Keeping the Sabbath is something that God does and the Israelites are expected to follow suit. This pattern is rooted in creation itself: The Israelites rest because God did.

    “… the Sabbath command hinted at in 16:4-5 is reiterated and expanded. Moses spells out for them that because the seventh day is the Sabbath, there will be no manna or quail for them to gather; God is “resting.” They are to follow suit by not going out to gather any food. Thus, in order to have food on the Sabbath, the Israelites must gather twice as much on the day before. But if the food spoils overnight, how is the surplus to be kept edible? They are to bake and boll it (v.23).

    Ex 16:23b So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning

    “Contrary to the NIV, this is not a suggestion but a command. A better way of translating v.23 is, “Bake what you should bake and boil what you should boil.” In other words, whatever is “bakeable,: i.e. the manna, bake it so it keeps. Whatever is “boilable,” i.e., the quail meat; boil it so it keeps” (Exodus, NIVAC, pp.325-326).

    • John D says:

      John from Australia quoted: “A better way of translating v.23 is, ‘Bake what you should bake and boil what you should boil.’ In other words, whatever is ‘bakeable,: i.e. the manna, bake it so it keeps. Whatever is ‘boilable,’ i.e., the quail meat; boil it so it keeps…”

      I’d not considered before that the baking would refer to the manna and the boiling to the quail. I guess I have a tendency to view the quail as a one time thing. Thanks for the input.

      • John D says:

        PS: I should add the cessation of manna to the ever growing list for the fourth commandment in “Does God Keep the Ten Commandments?”